29th Scantic Spring Splash Downriver Race March 28, 2020
HamComm.org – The Glue Which Keeps The Race Flowing!
Video of the New Springborn Dam Rapids
This is What It is All About!
Send me Your Splash Comm Pictures
Scantic Spring Splash March 28, 2020
This is the 29th year for this race. It is also the 25th 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 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 creditably dependent on each and every volunteer – this means YOU. Our Comm efforts coordinate Shuttle Busses, Racer Safety and overall information / logistics. 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), whereas 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 “coordinate and command” the race. Thus, we need you to feel empowered to communicate in a tactical format between stations. Race HQ will also monitor, but is not a Net Controller in most ham-sense, but as a “coordination central”. Bus Coordinator and Race Admin functions are co-located with race registration and scoring. Race information is available from 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
Please take selfies during the race and send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org Keep them Communication and Splash related.
Every year we try new things. For 2020 the considerations are:
- Keep HamComm staging as last 2 years at mid-race.
- No Net Control! Each radio operator will pass messages to station needing the information directly. Disciplined Tactical Net.
- Single operator as Race Admin and Bus Coordinator with APRS.
- The Cross-Band repeater fills in nicely from Start to PHB (old Springborn Dam) area. HTs on 2m can reach the 440 K1ENF repeater reliably from areas where it normally could not.
- ZELLO Background Channel. Search for Splash_Comm. Password available on request. This allows us to combine hams with non-hams. Experimental.
- NOVICE RACE – we ares searching for the ideal Finish and pull-out area.
- DMR in 2018 was fun, but was a lot of work for one guy to organize and set up. Bus communication was drastically reduced since Fermi Remote Parking was not used. In 2019, we’ll try a combined single channel on K1ENF. We’ll have the simplex freq’s as backup.
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
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 PL100
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.
Here are the areas CERT and/or Ham Radio may be used (and shine):
- NET CONTROL – In 2019 we ran the operation without a dedicated “Net Control”. All messaging flowed naturally as needed.
- BUS COORDINATION / RACE ADMIN – 4 hams (2 buses, Fermi). Coordinator works buses as needed with an iPad and APRS. Also supports Race Admin for messaging.
- RACE LOGISTICS – 1 ham at Start (can be parking ham)
- TIMING RADIO SUPPORT – 2 hams (Start, Finish)
- PARKING @ START – 1 ham + 3 non-hams (Knut JR has been doing this w/ fam)
- PARKING @ RACE HQ – 1 ham + 4 CERT non-hams
- RIVER SAFETY – min 4 hams (Bailey Rd, Springborn, Stokers, Chimney)
- 14 hams + 6 non-hams/CERT)
K1ENF 442.4 +5 PL94.8
- K1ENF receive coverage is spotty along Baily Road towards Start. A cross-band repeater is located on Bailey Road to fill this void.
+ Simplex as in freq plan.
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.
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 Springboard Dam (portage area) was removed before the 2018 race. 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 and along Water Street.
NOVICE FINISH MAY BE BACK in 2020?
In 2019 we ran the race without a Novice Class due to lack of access to a Novice Finish area. This was a huge loss. The culture of the event is to promote canoeing and kayaking. Having a Novice Race is key to growing the race.
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. Lack of Novice Race and lack of convenient parking are without doubt reasons.
SPREAD THE WORD – HAVE YOUR HAM-FRIENDS SIGN UP
We always look for more ham-radio help. Please have your ham-friends sign up below.
2020 HAM-OPS REGISTRATION
It is ready to go:
|DMR REPEATER||HQ RADIO SET||APRS I-Gates||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 UHF DMR /Analog, 1 UHF Moto CDM-1250, 1 VHF Moto CDM-1250 (Can become crossband repeater), Dual-Band Yaesu FT-8900 (6m, 10m, 2m, 70cm and 2m/70cm X-Band Repeater) and a 35amp Power Supply||APRS digi and I-Gate. One at each repeater site.||LTE Internet Gateway with router|