Calgary Amateur Radio Association
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BRING FRS/GMRS RADIOS!
I'm working on the duty roster, and as we all know by now, we're short on licensed radio operators. So, we'll be filling in with unlicensed folks using FRS/GMRS radios and relaying traffic to/from the main net. That means we need all our licensed operators to bring FRS/GMRS radios to keep in touch with the unlicensed operators.
If you don't have and can't bring an FRS/GRMS radio, please send me a note so that I know ahead of time. We'll see about equipping you with some on-loan units. However, it's worth having a set of these around. If you're looking for something to get for your go-kit, a set of FRS/GMRS radios is a good add.
Also, if you have small receivers or scanners that you wouldn't mind lending to an FRS/GMRS operator, it would be great to bring such devices along. The unlicensed operators might like to be able to monitor the main channel(s) and hear the action.
I just came back from an organizing meeting and have a few updates to share with everyone.
The Rallymaster did some reconnaissance on the course and found that a few of the roads have been damaged by runoff from the heavy snowfall this past winter (remember the Cochrane Winter Rally back in March?). So, there are changes being made to maintain safety.
The Shakedown event on Friday evening has been cancelled. This is too bad and we'll have to hope for a chance to do that at another rally.
The maps are going to need changes as well. I'll be updating them and getting things posted as soon as possible. Be sure to get the latest versions of the maps before rally day, as the changes are quite significant in places.
We're still short on Field Radio Operators, so some of us will be moving around during the Saturday. We've done this before (Kananaskis Rally 2017) so I'm confident that we can pull it off.
Because we're short on radio operators, we'll likely have some unlicensed operators using FRS/GMRS radios and they'll need to be relayed to Rally Net Control by licensed operators. So, please bring your FRS/GMRS radios to the rally. While the CSCC has a few spares, we'll need many of them for the unlicensed folks.
The Rallymaster has also asked if there are a few radio operators who will be in Invermere on the Friday. We'll need some help with communications and safety for recce. For those who are less experienced with rally events, recce (rally slang for reconnaissance) is an opportunity for the rally drivers to go through the course and see the roads that they will be racing on over the next couple of days. Let me know if you're planning to be in Invermere on the Friday (25 May) and would be interested in helping with this.
There is a brief briefing for radio operators planned for the Saturday morning at 07:30hrs at Copper Point. This is intended to be much shorter than our typical training presentations have been. We'll only be reviewing a few key matters that are specific to this particular event and skipping most of the generic material, since most of our operators have heard it many times before. For those who are less experienced at rally events and would like more information and training, the organizing team is considering hosting a more in-depth training session on the Friday evening after supper. Let me know if you're interested in attending such a training session.
I was also thinking that perhaps the radio operators might like to get together for supper on the Friday evening at Peppi's Italian Fuel (1018 8Ave, Invermere). This restaurant is near the bustling (or quiet) downtown core of Invermere and has a good view of the mountain tops Southeast of town. Oh, and it's great pizza, too! If you're interested in this, let me know and I'll put a plan together.
Email: <mycallsign> at gmail.com
Hello everyone! The rally is coming up soon, so I hope that you have your accommodations arranged. I see that the CSCC Volunteer Coordinator (Cassandra) has sent out an email with details concerning shared rooms at the Copper Point Resort. If you were expecting to have a bed at Copper Point and have not heard from Cassandra, then I recommend that you get in contact with her to make appropriate arrangements.
Cassandra can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd rather have a room to yourself, and are prepared to cover the cost yourself, then let Cassandra know and there may be some discounts available on unshared rooms.
Additionally, some of us stay elsewhere in Invermere, again at our own cost. One place I enjoy is the Canterbury Inn, in downtown Invermere. It's not as fancy as Copper Point, but if you get a ground floor room it makes things easier to get equipment between your vehicle and the room. At that spot, you're a five minute walk from the rally Service location, and right across the street from the best pizza in the region!
I have had some inquiries about how to join CARA, as the club is only authorized to subsidize travel for its own members. Here is some information on this topic.
The easiest way in which to submit a membership application is online. The application can be found at:
This application form seems to be globally visible, so anyone should be able to access it with a current Web browser.
As for disbursement of the funds, I do not make the rules and have no authority to grant an exception to the rules. I'm just getting the word out so that everyone knows what the rules are. If you believe the rules are unfair, then please take that matter offline and discuss it with the appropriate office. Thanks in advance for your cooperation with this request.
Hello again to all Rally Radio Operators!
This is a reminder to everyone who is planning to come out to the 2018 Rocky Mountain Rally (RMR). We need all our operators to register on the Rallywest website so that we have your contact information, accomodation needs, and preferred assignment. About ten more radio operators are needed to ensure safety for the rally.
Thank you to those who have already signed up. If you're still on the fence about this event, know that this is one of the premiere field operation opportunities of our year. Don't miss out!
Given the recent hikes in gasoline prices, there is good news: A fuel subsidy has been approved by the CARA (Calgary Amateur Radio Association) executive and the AGLC (Alberta Gaming and Liauor Commission). Up to $100.00 in fuel reimbursement is available to the first 24 CARA members who register as radio operators for the RMR. If you're not a CARA member yet, then consider becoming one and you can be eligible to request this allowance.
If you don't have a 2m mobile rig and need to borrow equipment, there are temporary installation kits available from CARA and CSCC (Calgary Sports Car Club). Please indicate on your registration comments if you need to borrow equipment for the rally.
The CSCC has made arrangements to provide shared accommodations for volunteers at the Copper Point Resort. This is the headquarters for the event and is a very well appointed place to stay in the region. You can check the RMR website to obtain further details:
This year's RMR is scheduled for Friday, 25 May to Sunday, 27 May in beautiful Invermere, BC. This year's events are planned to include the following:
(1) Friday evening: Shakedown NorthWest of Radium. This is a new feature of the event and we'll need a half dozen or so operators to support it.
(2) Saturday (all day): This is the main day of racing West of Radium. We'll need more operators to ensure that everything runs safely on this day of the event. A (brief) pre-op briefing is scheduled for the Saturday morning, likely around 07:30hrs.
(3) Sunday (half day): The final stages are held West of Fairmont Hot Springs.
When you register, be sure to indicate if you are available for part or all of the weekend.
In depth information about the rally and instructions for registration are available on the CARA website forum:
For anyone wanting to go directly to the Rallywest website and sign up, here is the link to the registration page:
Please check the CARA forum regularly. A preparation guide is available there now and preliminary maps have also been provided. Additional information and updates will be posted there regularly as the event approaches:
You can also reach me with questions or concerns: <my callsign> (at) gmail.com
Here is a link to some printable RMR 2018 maps for those who do not have a GPS or APRS software.
I still strongly recommend that operators bring a GPS, or have similar software configured on their phones, tablets, or another portable device. It's easy to get turned around when you're out on those mountain roads, and a GPS or similar device makes finding your way much easier. The .kml, .kmz, and .gpx files posted earlier have the waypoints, routes, and destinations that you'll need, and should load into most GPS units and many APRS programs.
Keep those registrations coming!
We still need about a dozen more radio operators for RMR 2018!
I spoke with an Invermere resident this week, and I understand that the weather has been warm and inviting there. Now is your chance to sign up and request a prime spot to enjoy the thrills of auto racing while exercising your skills at portable radio operations.
Detailed instructions for the registration process were posted earlier in this forum, so I won't repeat them here. Scroll down to the entry entitled "Registration Available" and you'll find everything you need to get started.
I hope to see your registration soon!
Here are links to preliminary versions of the maps for RMR 2018. The same material is presented in all three files. They are just different file formats, at least one of which should work for your GPS, mobile device, or APRS software. Some people find that parsing the .kml version for the GPS coordinates also allows them to cull out the objects that are of most interest to them.
Keep in mind that maps may change before the event. So, please check back on this forum regularly for possible updates.
Finally, we *really* need some more operators for RMR, so if you're thinking of signing up, now is the time! If you're already signed up, then see if you can convince a friend or two to join us. It's going to be a great time!
The rally is just one month away!
I hope that everyone is checking their equipment and getting things ready for our event. To help you keep organized, here is the Packing and Preparation Guide. While this document is of most value to new operators and those returning to rallies after an extended absence, even experienced operators will want to have a look to make sure that they haven't forgotten anything.
I should have a preliminary version of the maps ready to post soon as well. So, keep checking this forum for updates.
Finally, we're still looking for more operators, so nudge a friend or two and get them registered soon!
Below is some material taken from one of our recruitment bulletins this year. I trust that new operators will find this helpful, as it describes some of the roles and responsibilities of radio personnel at the rally.
Radio Operators Invitation to Participate in the
2018 Rocky Mountain Rally
What is a performance rally?
At a performance rally, vehicles that have been modified for improved performance and safety compete to finish a closed course in minimum time. The roads used for the event are chosen to provide a challenging course for the drivers. Despite these challenges, the cars can achieve speeds well in excess of 100Kph.
Why do rally events need radio operators?
The roads used for a rally are often in remote locations where cell phones and other communication technologies are not viable. Applying good radio operations procedures, rally radio operators observe and report on matters of course safety, conditions, and problems that arise. Some roles also involve controlling traffic flow to help preserve the safety of the course, or riding with one of the safety vehicles to coordinate its activities and movement.
What are some of the radio operator roles at a rally?
Most of the field radio operators are blockers. A blocker drives to a set location along the course road and blocks an intersecting road to prevent non rally vehicles from entering the course during the race. Blockers also record the passage of rally cars during a race stage and monitor the area for potential safety issues.
Control point operators work with other officials to control the entry to and exit from the course roads by the rally cars during the race stages.
Ride-along operators ride with one of the safety vehicles, such as the ambulance, to ensure that the vehicle’s movement is properly coordinated and to communicate information about any situations that may arise.
Location support operators provide radio communications for rally officials or rally car teams at specific locations such as the rally car service depot or designated spectator points.
What kind of training is needed?
Training sessions are provided and will be announced ahead of time. A pre-operation briefing is also held just prior to the event.
Are there any perq’s for radio operators at rally events?
Snacks and lunches are available during the event and all rally radio operators are invited to the banquet that is held at the end of the event. This is a great opportunity to meet other radio operators, as well as the rally teams and their drivers. Radio operators who are assigned to course roles also have the best seats for observing the rally cars on race day. Rally events are one of the very best field radio exercises available to amateur radio operators – they’re a great chance to test your operations skills!
When and where is the rally event?
This year’s Rocky Mountain Rally takes place from Friday 25 May to Sunday 27 May. The headquarters will be at the Copper Point Resort near Invermere. We’ll need radio operators for the following times:
Friday 25 May. The shakedown stages are planned for the evening (roughly 6pm to 10pm) on the Steamboat Lake Road, Northwest of Radium.
Saturday 26 May. The Day 1 stages are planned for the full day (roughly 9am to 6pm) on roads near Dogsleg Lake, West of Radium. Note that there is also a radio operators briefing planned for about 7:30am that day at the Copper Point Resort. This day is when we need the most radio operators.
Sunday 27 May. The Day 2 stages are planned for a shorter day (roughly 7am to 3pm) on the Hawke Road Northwest of Fairmont Hot Springs.
What equipment do I need to bring?
Most radio operator roles require that you bring a vehicle that you are comfortable driving on gravel roads. You will also need to ensure that you have appropriate food, water, and clothing for the conditions. A detailed packing and preparation guide will be provided to all registered radio operators.
You will also need VHF (2m) radio equipment. A mobile radio capable of 20w output or more, and a quarter wave antenna or better, are generally needed. We can sometimes arrange for equipment loans if necessary.
Where can I get more information?
For more information, check out the following websites:
You can also contact the chief radio marshal for the event:
Garry Spicer, VE6GDS: my callsign (at) gmail.com