Saturday, October 26, 2013

Walk to End Alzheimers

Had to be in Fort Worth at 6:00 am this morning to help with radio communications for the Walk to End Alzheimers. It was bad enough having to set the alarm for 4:45. It was worse when I realized I'd already been up 30 minutes and it was really only 4:15. The typical pre-Walk or Race confusion: the RACES van wasn't where I was told it would be just yesterday, (though I was sure the settings were correct I was on simplex rather than the repeater) so it took some time to track down where it really was (same place it's been for for the past several years - except LAST year which is where I was told it would be THIS year.) The initial radio frequency in the repeater set up in the RACES Van had some sort of, what was described to me as, heterodyne interference because the same frequency, but different tone, was also being used at the Texas Motor Speedway for radio communications for the No Limits Half-Marathon, some 20 miles away. Someone trying to reach THAT repeater had such a powerful signal it was interfering with OUR radio communications - in addition to the heterodyne interference. As soon as Gary, KD5TDC - a CommT - realized what was happening we switched to another frequency entirely. As for the Walk the usual issues: some of the Police barriers that should have already been in place weren't so a bit of traffic got on the course - sorted out just after the Walk started.  One of the water stops was cancelled, then reinstated. The necessary need to restock and redistribute water along the 2.5 mile walk. Far less than usual need to pick up worn out walkers and take them back to Start or to the parking lot, up a hill 2 to 3 blocks away. The walk started at 9:00 on a cool and cloudy Autumn day. The last walker had finished, the course had been cleared of supplies and signs, police barriers taken down, all the participants and almost all volunteers had departed, when we shut down the radios at 10:40. I came home and went back to bed. 

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Abbreviation Key

AARC - Arlington Amateur Radio Club
- Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Community Emergency Response Team
EMST - Emergency Management Support Team
- Emergency Operations Center - part of the OEM
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Weather Service
NWS FWD - National Weather Service - Fort Worth/Dallas
OEM - Office of Emergency Management
- Public Service Event - ARES Net
RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
- TExas Severe Storm Associaton