A Desperate Plea for HELP / Ride MS: City to Shore

Mark Hinkel

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Hinkel <mrhinkel@...>
To: Mark Hinkel <mrhinkel@...>
Sent: Sun, Sep 5, 2021 1:36 pm
Subject: Fwd: A Desperate Plea for HELP / Ride MS: City to Shore

Joe Di Bartolo (KC2FSB) is making a last minute plee for volunteers to help with the MS-150 "City to Shore" bike ride.  We have lost several communicators this year and need to bring on-board "new people".  If you can find the time to volunteer, please join the group. 

The Philadelphia Multiple Sclerosis Society depend on local Ham Radio operators to do the job of radio communications.  This event is the largest in the area with approximately 5 to 7,000 bike riders showing up early Saturday morning at the Patco Woodcrest Station and heading down to Ocean City NJ.  The event is held the last weekend of September (25th and 26th) and usually involves a Friday setup day for several of us.  The riders stay overnight at hotels in Ocean City and come back to Woodcrest Station on Sunday. 

If anyone wishes to join me Friday afternoon ?? I usually head down about 12 noon to setup the radio equipment while others setup APRS radios used to track the SAG vehicles.  The South End is upstairs at the Ocean City Music Pier where the MS officials (ride director) and the APRS units are tracked. The North End (where I go) is located just across Woodcrest Road from the station.  I go down on Friday and setup two masts, one with a 2m / 440 antenna and the second with a GMRS antenna.  Extra people are needed to jockey the vans around the lot and tag the keys so they don't get mixed up Saturday morning.  Watch or help install the APRS equipment and make sure it's working.  And help with the masts and antennas. 
I use a Max Gain System push-up mast;  https://mgs4u.com/fiberglass-push-up-masts/

Where most volunteers are needed is ride support;  Joe likes to have a ham operator every mile or two along the route to be eyes and ears for the riders.  On the radio you'll announce your location when you arrive, the first rider through your "spot" and the last rider -- and call in any breakdowns.  Riders are instructed to turn the bike up-side down by the side of the road and wait for the SAG vans.  Always 2 vans, one passenger van for people, one box van for the bikes -- SAG vehicles always travel in pairs.  End of day there's always a follow-up vehicle to release the ham operator.  This is the easiest job in the world.. just sit in your car and call in the rider numbers.

Most people from the Philly area will choose the North End for our route spot.  This will be road intersections or street corners anywhere from Cherry Hill down through Atco to Hammonton NJ where the lunch stop is located.  The route is clearly marked for the cyclists -- communicator volunteers will be given clear directions.  If you have a house at the shore, you can select the South End.  These are from Hammonton down through Mays Landing and on to Ocean City.  Saturday route spots start early in Cherry Hill because the riders start at 6 or 6:30am.  Route spots down below the Hammonton lunch break start later.  Reverse is true for Sunday.

I don't know if Joe has any openings, but communicators are also used in Staff Cars.  These are usually the small Subaru Outback wagons that travel the route and make pit stops along the way for riders who are in trouble with break downs, having health issues -- some are older riders or riders with MS -- they keep a close eye on these riders.  Or road closures due to vehicle accidents.  These communicators can be non-hams using GMRS radio. 

In previous years we've needed volunteers to be loggers.  This can be a non-ham operator with typing skills;  these people sit by a radio listening to either a ham repeater or GMRS radio and type all traffic coming over the radio.  The computer is internet connected and goes through a server to the Ocean City location where it pops up on a screen and the information is used by the ride director.  Basically it's a time stamp on radio traffic, when and where did it happen.

So whether you're a Ham, SWL or just interested in the hobby, your skills are needed somewhere along the route for keeping the riders safe.  I hope you can join us.

Mark  WA3QVU

The online registration page for communicators is here;

This page is strictly for riders -- take a look and get a feel for the "City to Shore" bike ride;

-----Original Message-----
From: Ev Comm <n3mssevcomm@...>
To: Mark Hinkel WA3QVU <mrhinkel@...>;
Sent: Sat, Sep 4, 2021 10:52 pm
Subject: A Desperate Plea for HELP / Ride MS: City to Shore

We are only 3 weeks away from the event.  YES – JUST 21 DAYS.
This past week we received enough volunteer registrations to only cover 4 route check points.  This still puts us in the need for 25 to 30 more HAM volunteers.
Ladies and Gentlemen !!!!!!!!!!
I don’t know what else to do to get out the word, to bring in additional volunteers.  I am shocked that so many of our volunteers from the last 5 years have not come back.  If some of you folks have complaints and criticisms on any of us, the event, or how we try to support the event fully, please contact us so that we can understand and hopefully clear things up. 
This is probably the last week that we have to get the volunteers we need, so that we can start assignments.  Remember, even if you have already signed up, you are receiving this email to help spread the word. 
Please put the 25th and 26th of September on your schedule to come out and support the 2021 Ride MS – City to Shore as the public service event that is supported fully, to ensure the safety and communications to help the all too many folks living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Please sign up at:               https://forms.gle/YzGMjT9aMojLA3Xt6
Or email back the attached form as soon as possible.
We look forward to working with as many of you as it takes to support the event fully.
With Much Appreciation
EvComm (609.795.0909)

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