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Ham radio operators help by providing communications for the
Tulsa Run

When: Saturday, October 30, 2004

Many THANKS to those that participated!

Downtown to St. John's to Brookside to Riverside...

... and back to downtown. That pretty much describes the route of the Tulsa Run. The 15 kilometer race goes from 3rd & Boulder south to 15th, east to Utica, south to 21st, west to Peoria, south to 49th, back north on Peoria to 31st, west to Riverside, and north to Veteran's Park. Along the route, the Tulsa Run organizers arrange for water and First Aid stations to keep the runners and race-walkers going. To connect the water stations with the water truck, and to connect the nurses with ambulances, the TRO puts hams at strategic places along the route.

The way we handled this year's event changed in two ways: new priorities and the use of tactical callsigns.

In the past few years, most of the assignments focused on covering the water stops and reporting when the first and last racers passed those stops. During one of the planning meetings, race director Jack Wing said the First aid stops were more important. Fortunately, many of the water stops had a First Aid station nearby, so I considered the possibility of volunteers doing double-duty. Conversations with the water stop manager revealed the major concern with the water stops is that they have all the tables, cups, etc., they need before the race starts. Once that is confirmed, the water stops do not need communication support. But the nurses still do.

Something from my experience, and maybe from watching a few NASCAR races, told me that turns along the route could be problem areas. The thought of masses of people trying to change direction by 90 degrees while running just seems dangerous to me. My priority was to cover the FA and water stops at the corners.

I wasn't too concerned with the stops in between because the Tulsa Police would have an officer at every intersection, except two along Riverside. Those two went to the top of the priority list.

I believe this strategy worked in at least one situation. A young runner became exhausted and could not continue. Merlin Griffin WB5OSM, reported the runner was stable, just physically too worn out to go on. He primarily needed a ride to get him back to his family at Veterans Park. Bill Griffin NI5X, reported a nurse with a vehicle at his position was willing to give the young man a ride, but she needed a police escort to get her vehicle on the course. She soon had her escort and delivered him to his family. Great job, Merlin and Bill!

Later, another medical situation came up. The very last racer reported she was having chest pains, but wanted to continue and finish the course. Fred Willams - KD5NBR, relayed that information on to me, and I passed it on to medical coordinator Julie Pickens. She notified TPD and they brought an ambulance and fire truck to the scene, just in case. Great job, Fred!

Mark Conklin N7XYO, suggested using tactical callsigns. Tactical callsigns are usually descriptive of the station's function or location or sometimes both. They are generally easier to remember than the hamcall of the person working the assignment especially if someone new or unfamiliar is working the event. Of course, to stay legal, hams have to use their FCC-issued callsigns when clearing.

I devised tactical callsigns for every assignment, and passed them on by e-mail or phone. Their use made things easier and faster, especially the roll calls before the race started.

After the race most of the crew met for pizza. We also had a drawing for a couple of prizes from Batteries Plus. The winners were Kevin Blair KD5WXE, and (of course) Ben Joplin WB5VST. (We've got to do something about Ben; he wins too much stuff!)

Here's the list of volunteers, their tactical calls and their assignments:

Name & Callsign Tactical Call     Assignment
Jay Eimer - AD5PE Startline 4th & Boulder
Carrie Eimer - KD5WXF Turn One 15th & Boulder
Lloyd Colston - KC5FM Turn Two 15th & Utica
Fred Williams - KD5NBR Turn Three 21st & Utica
(Fred later became Chaser, followed behind the last racer)
Ben Joplin - WB5VST & Jesse Turn Four 21st & Woodward Park Dr.
Doug McDonald - KD5NWK Turn Five 48th & Peoria (Meyers-Duren)
Kevin Blair - KD5WXE Turn Six 30th & Peoria (All Souls Church)
Merlin Griffin - WB5OSM Turn Seven 28th & Riverside
Paul Papke - WB5MPU Turn Eight 21st & Boulder
Allen Goodson - KB5SND Infiniti 38th & Peoria (Infiniti Salon)
Bill Griffin - NI5X Riverside 25th & Riverside
John Green - KD5GUU Woodward Woodward Blvd. & Riverside
Ed Compos - K5CRQ Wingshadow Shadowed Jack Wing
Mark Conklin - N7XYO Watertruck Around the route
Doug Lee - KC5ZQM Net Control 18th & Main, by the TPD Mobile Command Post


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