SSS Introduction

27th Scantic Spring Splash Downriver Race

JOB WELL DONE!

THANK YOU and Happy Easter! You rocked. An event like this would be nothing without the efforts of each individual who volunteered. The race grew again by about 20% over last year. I know the participants will say – What a Great Day and Event!

Of course we had some snags, all which were overcome with will to resolve on the fly. I would love to get emails from you with pictures and your feedback of your experience. As you know, I always push stretched goals so perfection is hoped for, but realistically not experienced. Please email me your experience and send pictures from the your experience.

By the way – you were heard and following in Europe! The magic of DMR.

Video of the New Springborn Dam Rapids

 

This is What It is All About!

 

Send me Your Splash Comm Pictures

GENERAL LAYOUT

 

Scantic Spring Splash March 31, 2018

This is the 27th year for this race. It is also the 23rd year for ham radio. We started as a handful of guys with beams and ht’s. Later we used cross-band repeaters. We’ve been through the route of club coordinated radio, CERT and back to grassroots committee controlled communications. The comm-team grew to about 30 operators and dwindled off. On the peak years the racer’s comments were consistently “WOW! Best organized canoe/kayak race in the state.” A part of this was without question due to ham coverage. From a race committee standpoint we need ham-radio to keep the event a well-run machine and to maintain our goals we keep the organizational parts on a committee level. With this said we are so dependent on each every volunteer – YOU. Our Comm efforts coordinate Shuttle Busses, Racer Safety and overall information / coordination. 20+ years ago cell phones and cell coverage were dismal at best. Now, it is a part of life. From a comm standpoint, we simply adjust. However, we are down to one talk channel (nets) and need in reality 2-3 to maintain race safety/logistics and transportation logistics flowing real time. For many years we used 4 nets to accomplish everything.

In most Public Service events, ham radio is a messaging medium. Since I am a Committee member we use ham-radio to “command” the race. Thus, we need you to feel empowered to communicate in a tactical format between stations. Race HQ is also monitoring, but is not a Net Controller in most ham-sense, but a “coordination central”. Race HQ is co located with race registration and scoring. Race information is available from Race HQ and Race Coordinator (N1ATP). Most decisions will be made on the fly by the Race Coordinator (N1ATP).

At the end of the day – YOUR volunteer time, as an individual or as a team, is crucial to the success of the event and we, the race committee, Thank You!

WE WOULD LIKE YOUR COMM and CERT RELATED PICTURES

This year, please take selfies during the race and send pictures to knutfinn@gmail.com Keep them Communication and Splash related.

2018 CHANGES:

GENERAL:

So this year we are trying a lot of new things, mostly to make it better for YOU – the volunteer. As you read on I think these are pretty darn exciting:

HAM OPS REGISTRATION

There is a link on this website to pre-register for the event. Here are the benefits;

  • Choice of T-Shirt or Food Ticket
  • Pre-Assignment (Please note your preference. We’ll do the best we can.)
  • Report Time Assigned – less wait time
  • Information provided in advance
  • Better coordination for the event

VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION

During registration you will be asked if you want a food-ticket to be used at Race HQ Concessions or a T-Shirt.

I would also put a folding chair in the car since in most locations you can enjoy a “recliner”. 

HAM RADIO STAGING AREA

Monitoring Simplex Analog 446.1

The ham radio staging area has been moved to Powder Hollow Brewery,  504 Hazard Ave, Enfield, CT 06082 to de-clutter the Race HQ area during the crazy morning registration hours.

You will be given a report time based on your assignment to reduce your wait time. When you arrive to staging you will receive your assignment and Parking/Access Pass for your vehicle. If needed, you may also sign out a DMR radio.

COMM GOALS

Here are the areas CERT and/or Ham Radio may be used (and shine):

  • NET CONTROL – 2 hams. Please bring a laptop with SLACK installed. APRS will be displayed on 2 iPads. Limited internet service will be provided for APRS and SLACK.
  • BUS COORDINATION – 4 hams (2 buses, Fermi, Novice Finish)
  • RACE LOGISTICS – 1 ham at Start (can be parking ham), 1 Novice Finish (can be timing ham)
  • TIMING RADIO SUPPORT – 3 hams (Start, Novice Finish, Finish)
  • PARKING @ START – 1 ham + 3 non-hams
  • PARKING @ RACE HQ – 1 ham + 4 non-hams
  • RIVER SAFETY – min 4 hams (Bailey Rd, Springborn, Stokers, Chimney)
  • 14 hams + 6 non-hams/CERT)

REPEATER PLANS

Using K1ENF for Bussing and Portable DMR Repeaters for Race K1ENF + Portable DMR

Using all analog K1ENF + Simplex All Analog

DMR REPEATER

Ever since K1ENF repeater (ex PD Ch 1 machine) became available we have had good coverage for most of the race west of rt 191. However it has always been weak at start and on the Novice Course. Placing a X-Band repeater in the Bailey Rd and/or Start area will give us more coverage on the east side.

We used to have 4 nets between admin, safety and timing. Since then, we no longer do timing, but we are dispatching 2 buses. Thus we are attempting to create a 2nd talk channel. DMR is ideal since it provides 2 talk groups with the same amount of hardware as one analog channel.

We have performed some unsatisfactory testing already and we will do some site testing over the next few weeks. The river gulley presents a challenge since much of the race locations are in shadows from the upper rims. We all know that 2m would be preferred, but we do not have 2m repeaters available for use. With DMR we do have the option of linking multiple machine (I have two). For you DMR geeks (I’m one), this would also allow for the use of mobile hotspots. Let me know if you have a DMR Hotspot. We always need to push our hobby into the future. Fall back is the trusty FM Analog.

As of now, the plan is to place a DMR Repeater at Scantic River Linear Park East and link this via Brandmeister to a DMR Repeater at the Race HQ (barn). The HQ repeater will most likely have a directional antenna facing east upriver. In this case we will use the channel line-up of Zone 2 below.

SINGLE REPEATER UHF CODE PLUG:

ZONE 1 LABEL FREQUENCY OFFSET CC TS TG
RACE 449.9375 -5 1 1 9
TRANSPORT 449.9375 -5 1 2 9
GENERAL 442.4000 +5 PL 94.8 ANALOG K1ENF
DIRECT 446.1000 simplex PL 100  ANALOG  
DIRECT DMR 446.5000 simplex 1 1 99
CROSSBAND 55 (to GENERAL) 146.5500 simplex to K1ENF PL 100 ANALOG CrossBand K1ENF
Note on CrossBand Years of experience with K1ENF shows that the area of Bailey Rd, Katie Lane and Start has spotty coverage in to the K1ENF repeater at 4w. A Cross-Band repeater is located on Bailey Rd with linking from 2m Simplex to the UHF Repeater. It is a good idea to be prepared to switch to this link east of Staging/Broad Brook Rd. When using at the X-Band be patient. The X-Band needs K1ENF to drop the carrier to switch from transmit to receive. Thus you must wait to transmit until you hear and see that the carrier is gone.

 

LINKED MULTI REPEATER UHF CODE-PLUG:

ZONE 2 LABEL FREQUENCY OFFSET CC TS TG GROUP CALL
RACE WEST 449.9375 -5 1 1 312525
RACE EAST 443.9375 +5 1 1 312525
LOGISTICS WEST 449.9375 -5 1 2 312530
LOGISTICS EAST 443.9375 +5 1 2 312530
TRANSPORT 442.4000 +5 PL 94.8 ANALOG K1ENF
DIRECT 446.1000 simplex PL 100  ANALOG  
DIRECT DMR 446.5000 simplex 1 1 99
CROSSBAND 55 (to GENERAL) 146.5500 simplex to K1ENF PL 100 ANALOG CrossBand K1ENF
Note on CrossBand Years of experience with K1ENF shows that the area of Bailey Rd, Katie Lane and Start has spotty coverage in to the K1ENF repeater at 4w. A Cross-Band repeater is located on Bailey Rd with linking from 2m Simplex to the UHF Repeater. It is a good idea to be prepared to switch to this link east of Staging/Broad Brook Rd. When using at the X-Band be patient. The X-Band needs K1ENF to drop the carrier to switch from transmit to receive. Thus you must wait to transmit until you hear and see that the carrier is gone.

DMR LABELS

DMR Labels may not work with the linked repeaters on ham-radio. In this case, all loaners will have a DMR ID of 3109401  N1ATP.

LOANER RADIOS

We will have a few DMR loaner radios available. These use a SMA-M antenna plug. If you have a rollup J-Pole with SMA-M it may come in handy at the Chimney.

Many of you have DMR radios – please program as shown in this document. I would have 2 Zones;

  1. Single Repeater plan
  2. Combo Repeater plan <<<<— Most likely to be used

We are doing testing over the next weekends to define if one repeater (Zone 1) will cover this or if we will network 2 machines (Zone 2)

MD380/390 Owners – if you use the hacked firmware you can change your user tactical id upon assignment. This is a brilliant feature that the users have created and is especially useful during public service events.

WHY DMR

So why DMR and not Fusion or D-Star? We all have different subjective views. Here are mine:

  • Cost – A new DMR radio starts at $90. I buy them used for $50-60. Many of the models are FAA 90 approved and can be used with my Biz Band license.
  • Capacity – I get 2 conversations on one frequency/repeater.
  • Networking-ability – Plug and Play. When on Ham bands, I use Brandmeister network.
  • Flexibility – Awesome!
  • The list goes on and on.

RADIO / EVENT LOGS

This year we would like the radio comm-log to be filed in Slack. Additionally, we would like the passenger load to be logged for each bus run. This will be noted in the comm log.

APRS

We will again dispatch the buses based on APRS tracking. Each bus will be outfitted with a 10w Byonics APRS tracker. At Race HQ two iPads will display maps for the West and East area of the bus routes. It allows the most efficient use of the buses. The APRS enthusiasts can follow this on their smartphone, iPad or computer at APRS.FI

You can also help if you have APRS on your smartphone or HT by beaconing your tactical race position.

The RIVER

The Springboard Dam (portage area) has been removed. This makes the river below the CT-191 bridge narrow and fast and not conducive for a Novice Finish and boat pull-out. There are some new unknown safety concerns through this area and we will (if possible) place a ham operator by the rail-road overpass. Spectators are expected on the Rt191 bridge since the can now view from here to Stokers.

NOVICE FINISH

This year the Novice Finish may be moved to Bailey Road. This may cause some logistic issues and Bus Novice may need to move from Water Street to 11 Bailey Rd. All car parking on the North side of the street (odd numbered side).

GROWTH PLANS

During the peak years we had close to 170 boats and 200 racers. Over the last 15 years the race has slowly lost size. We are spending some time looking for all the reasons for the decrease. Convenient parking is without doubt one of them.

SPREAD THE WORD – HAVE YOUR HAM-FRIENDS SIGN UP

We always look for more ham-radio help. Please have your ham-friends sign up.

HAM-OPS REGISTRATION

Please sign up at: Splash Registration Form (Closed for 2018. Will be here for 2019)

EMAIL LIST

You will receive an email to accept inclusion to our email list called Splash@N1ATP.com  As we approach the event, emails will be sent from this email list.

REGISTRATIONS

HQ RADIO SETUP

It is ready to go:

DMR REPEATER HQ RADIO SET APRS INTERNET
Business class DMR Repeater will be placed at Race HQ with a beam upstream.

A 2nd repeater will be placed on the East side of the event with an omni-directional antenna.

The two are linked via LTE internet on Brandmeister Network.

2 HYT MD-782 DMR, 2 UHF Motorola CDM-1250 (Can become UHF repeater), Dual-Band Yaesu FT-8900 (6m, 10m, 2m, 70cm and X-Band Repeater) and a 35amp Power Supply APRS digi and I-Gate. One at each repeater site. LTE Internet Gateway with router

THE COMM PLAN

The comm plan will not be completed until the day-of, but you can follow along and provide feedback to me any time.

RADIO PLOTS

From K1KEF Don’t trust the plots. Testing was not as successful as hoped for. On to the next location. It appears that the goal of single repeater will not work unless I can find a location towards JMH hospital.
From K1EAK Analog simplex testing between two ham-radios showed promising results. However, with a commercial repeater where the front end is not as sensitive as the typical ham radio and with duplexer loss, the coverage was spotty in many of the key place from a moving vehicle. Standing still was better, but still unrealistic.
Staging  
Katie Lane   So far the most promising plots. Also the highest location along the course.