18th Annual Maple
Maple Ridge Run 2004 -
More Lessons Learned
In my review of the 2003 Tulsa Run I mentioned a couple of lessons learned from that experience. The 2004 Maple Ridge Run, Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 confrimed one of those lessons and added several more.
Lesson #1 from the Tulsa Run: Always have a back-up or spares of vital equipment. At one point Jessica Darroll KE5BGR informed me she had noticed her H-T batteries were too low for her to finish the event. Lesson #1 confirmed. (More on this later.)
Before the event began, I experienced a corollary to this lesson. I attempted to assemble my homebrew portable mast and antenna, but it just wasn't working the way I wanted. No problem, since I keep in my car trunk a small, lightweight mag-mount for using an H-T as a mobile. I removed the mobile radio from my car, connected it to a booster-box, and used a BNC to SO-239 adapter to hook up the antenna. The antenna stayed put on the radio's case. With the radio at the 10W low-power setting, this arrangement worked just fine. The corollary? A backup can be an alternative that provides similar capability and does not have to be an exact duplicate.
After Getting the radio working, I learned a new lesson. I must confess I was not as prepared as I should have been. When deciding on a schedule on when to have volunteers at their assigned positions, I relied too much on the memory of people (including myself) who had worked the event in the past. The best anyone could remember, the race started at 9AM. But the Race Director said 8:30! When I asked when the police were closing off the streets, he said, "In about 5 minutes, I imagine." The time was just before 8AM! Fortunately, the area of the run is not that big, and just about everyone was on station by 8:18.
Public Service Communications Lesson #3: Always be sure to get complete information from the agency or entity served, and don't rely on memory.
As I said, almost everyone was on station by 8:18. But one volunteer was running late. I wasn't sure if this volunteer could reach the location originally assigned. So, I shifted Robert Coughlin KE5BGX, from 25th & Cincinnati to Hazel & Cincinnati, John Grace KD5VSB shifted to cover Robert's spot, and the other volunteer went to John's place at 24th and Cincinnati..
Later while Jessica KE5BGR went to acquire some fresh batteries, I temporarily moved Carrie Eimer KD5WXF down from 27th & Woodward to cover Jessica's spot. I definitely wanted 29th and Woodward covered. The race course makes a big turn there. No matter what kind of race is being run, turns can be real problem areas.
Actually, I had intended these assignments to be somewhat flexible. When Fred Williams KD5NBR volunteered for this event, he said he would be on-call at work and he might have to leave before the event was over. So I assigned him to a location where he could make an easy exit and I could shift someone over to replace him. Fred wasn't on call after all, but we still benefited from the built-in flexibility of the plans.
Public Service Communications Lesson #4: Make your plans flexible, but do your best to cover the most essential priorities.
A special thanks goes to our club president Mark Conklin N7XYO for providing fresh-brewed coffee and doughnuts to the volunteers to make sure they would be awake and energized for the event.
Other volunteers not already mentioned are Jay Eimer AD5PE, Zach Miller KE5BCT, Brian Gnad KB5TSI, Ben Joplin WB5VST, and Ed Compos K5CRQ. Good job, everybody, and THANK YOU!
Doug Lee KC5ZQM