April is always a jam-packed month for public service events, and we always close it with the Run of the Charles. This is a really unique and fun event, a series of canoe and kayak races to support the Charles River Watershed Association. The organization works to protect the natural ecology of the Charles River, and keep it safe and clean for people to enjoy as well.
At this event, we handle on-site registrations, reports of rules violations, and of course we’re always keeping an eye on participants’ safety. All the rain over the week prior made for strong currents, which unfortunately led to a lot of boats capsizing, including one that got stuck on a bridge and needed emergency assistance. That didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits, though; we handled 24 registrations throughout the day, which is in line with most years, and everyone had a safe race.
Thanks to all twenty volunteers who came out to support this event and the Charles River: Jeff PinterParsons, W5UVO; Alan Lewis, K1ALL; Mark Richards, K1MGY; David Cantrell, WH6DSN; Henry Brown, K1WCC; Rick Savage, KB1LYJ; Kathy Savage, KB1LPW; Gary Schwartz, N1ZCE; Bill Bridgham, N1RYT; Keilin Bickar, KE1LIN; Cheyenne Greatorex, N1QZS; Dave Allen, KC1GEQ; Jim Clogher, N1ICN; Ed Curley, KC1CLA; Lyman Smith, W1LKS; Lela Smith, KC1ACV; John Marcus III, W1JWM; Dave Gilman, KC1DDH; Brian Mallory, KB1WZU; and Thomas Achtemichuk, W0ZIO.
Before the Boston Marathon, there’s the BAA 5K. This is a short road race, put on by the same organizing team as the Boston Marathon, with a course that runs from the Boston Common through Back Bay and back. The competition is fierce—multiple world records have been set at this event.
Amateur radio volunteers work with medical personnel at this event to provide communications support around supplies, logistics, and dispatch. We were stationed with them at water stations along the route; with prefinish spotters; and with sweep teams working in the post-finish area. Fortunately favorable weather on Saturday helped everything go according to plan, and we didn’t have to deal with any serious emergencies.
Clear communications go a long way to help keep those plans running smoothly, and everyone was sharp and professional on the air. Special thanks to our friends at the Harvard Wireless Club who brought a whole team to support all the post-finish sweep operations: Robert Anderson, KC1IFV; Elton Lossner, KN4GIT; Gunnar Plunkett, KM6NFL; Jeb King, KD9JKT; and William Collins, W1PL. And many thanks to all the volunteers: Scott Gaudet, KC1EXS; Thomas Achtemichuk, W0ZIO; Chris McArdle, KB1REM; Colin McArdle, KB1REL; Peter Sullivan, W1ABC; Rick Savage, KB1LYJ; Kathy Savage, KB1LPW; and Cheyenne Greatorex, N1QZS.
The Run of the Charles is one of the most unique public service events for hams each year. It’s a series of canoe and kayak races for all different group sizes and course lengths. The variety draws all kinds of participants, and they all rely on us to help keep the event running safely and smoothly.
This year’s Run of the Charles is on Sunday, April 29. The full 26-mile course runs from Riverdale Park in Dedham down to Artesani Park in Brighton. Assignment check-in times vary by location, from 7:00 AM at far start points to 10:00 AM at portages near the finish. Since the CRWA relies on hams for all kinds of logistics, from on-site check-ins to rules infractions, there’s a position for volunteers at any experience level.
Volunteers for this event must have a dual-band (2m and 70cm) handheld radio and an antenna with improved gain over the stock rubber duck. These are necessary because many volunteer sites are low-lying areas where it can be a challenge to reach repeaters. If you can help, please get in touch and let me know:
- Your name and call sign
- Phone numbers where you can be reached (cell, home, office)
- Details of the equipment you’re willing to bring. Start sites that accept new registrations could benefit from a small field setup—think 10W+ and an antenna like a magmount or better. If you can bring that, please let me know.
- Your shirt size
- Do you have any needs or requests we should consider when making your assignment?
If you have questions about the event, please get in touch by e-mail or phone (859) 466 5915.