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Radio Amateurs Volunteer to Support 2017 US Air Force Marathon


When about 15,000 runners left the starting line at the US Air Force Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K races, more than 65 Amateur Radio volunteers were on hand in the Dayton, Ohio, area on September 16 to help ensure their safety. The event starts and ends at the Air Force Museum, and the course runs through Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and the streets of Fairborn. Net control stations located at the start/finish line near the Air Force Museum directed a medical net on 70 centimeters and a logistics net on 2 meters. Hams also provided communication at the eight medical and 25 hydration stations positioned throughout the courses.

USAF Marathon Race Director Robert Aguiar said race officials consider the Amateur Radio volunteers a vital resource and have come rely on their professionalism and communication skills. He said it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have the race without Amateur Radio-provided emergency, logistic, and medical communications among the race director, his staff, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) incident commander, and the hydration and medical stations.

USAF Marathon Amateur Radio Lead Volunteer David Crawford, KF4KWW, thanked all the Amateur Radio volunteers, some of whom have been turning out for the event for many years.

“Their support helped ensure another USAF Marathon that occurred safely and met the runner’s needs,” he said. While most of his volunteers were from the greater Dayton area, some came from as far away as Michigan and Wisconsin. In addition to providing communication to aid stations, Amateur Radio operators also served as “tail-end Charlies” for the marathon and half marathon. Each had an APRS transmitter, as did lead vehicles and selected runners, allowing race officials and emergency services to have a more accurate picture of how the race was progressing.

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) emergency communication van served as the command center for the race and net control for the logistics net. The Xenia Weather Amateur Radio Network (XWARN) communication trailer housed the medical net control. KF4KWW thanked both groups for their support. — Thanks to Henry Ruminski, W8HJR 




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