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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 09-Dec-2017

General Announements

John Beargrease

Contact Brian N0BDD for more information.

Race weekend is Friday, January 26, 2018 through Sunday, January 28, 2018. As for working the event, there are three basic options…

1) Net Control
We have a co-located communications center with the John Beargrease officials. Last year it was located at the Vanilla Bean Café in Two Harbors. If you work net control you will be placed on a 4 to 6 hour shift schedule which starts noon on the Sunday of the race start and runs until the last racer comes in at Billy’s bar in north Duluth. They typically have 10 to 12 people working net control with 2 people “on shift” at any one time. More at the start since it is very busy for the first few crossings up to the first check point. Then the racers get spread out and things calm down a lot. There you are nice and warm and have access to refreshments and a bathroom all the time… lap of luxury. You can get discount hotel rooms at a few spots in Two Harbors for as many nights as needed.

2) Check points
We have 7 check points spread across the 350 mile course. Each is manned by a radio team of 2 to 4 people. Lots of action with many JBG people working to handle teams and officials. These are interesting since some are remote sites and some are in town (like Finland at the community center), so operating conditions vary. The down side is no close by hotels so you are driving some, or need some type of self sufficient camping system to stay in. Most of these people have campers setup as radio shacks and have generators for the long haul. This brings up another interesting point… because the race is up to Grand Portage and back, early check points have big long breaks in the action. Those closer to the Northern turn will have less down time, but don’t need to be “on station” until a day or more after the start of the race. Those people tend to travel around and see the race from the various spots during their down time. The teams do spend some time outside collecting in and out times for each team, So warm clothes are a must. But you spend most time inside where its warm. The time info is radioed into Net Control for them to record and share with JBG officials. Mobile radios are best, but some locations use HTs for comms between inside and outside team members. Some hotels have discounts for Beargrease workers and we qualify…

3) Road Crossing
We have dozens of road crossings to man with 1 to 2 person teams. These are also manned with JBG personnel for managing the traffic and maintaining the trail points. I have people who man these crossings with just their car and some with camping systems. Most crossings have a safe area to get off the road to park. You will also spend some time outside so warm clothes are a must here too. Again, timing varies on these since some crossings are only used north bound or south bound, and some on both legs. Again, early crossings have big breaks in the action (up to 3 days!) Northern crossings see a turn and burn and can be done in one day… These locations are workable with mobile radios in all cases, some you can get by with HT. We only had one location (that I worked myself) that needed to relay timing info to get to Net Control.

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