The girls and I spent yesterday afternoon on the banks of the Teche river here in south Louisiana volunteering communications support for the race.
The Tour Du Teche is a 3 day, 135 mile race down the river. There are several different races during the event and several different categories. We were supporting the main 135 mile race.
We arrived at our location, Check point #7, around 11:30am. Set up our screen tent, threw a line over a tree limb, hauled up the antenna and got ready to work.
The first boat came in around 2:30 pm. Over the next 6 hours, we would run down to the ramp and get boat numbers and times from the official time keeper and relay the information back to the command center for the race officials. The information was used to keep track of the boat locations that was updated on the website for "almost" real time tracking.
We learned a few things this year.
#1 Our deep cycle battery failed sometime in the past few months, so it will have to be replaced.
#2 Because of the battery failure, we relied on HT's, which were adequate as long as we kept the batteries fresh since the repeater we were using was just on the fringe of the HT range (even with our antenna up in a tree about 30'). Our mobile 2m would have worked so much better, but we adapted!
#3 Mosquitoes are big!
#4 Those canoers are dedicated (and maybe a little crazy...did I mention 135 miles).
#5. It gets really dark when the sun goes down in the middle of nowhere.
#6 While waiting for the last boat to come in, we were able to teach the support crew (1 guy) of the boat about ham radio. He had no idea what ham radio was and was very interested. Hopefully he will look into it further! We as hams, should be prepared to promote the hobby at anytime and anywhere.
The last boat came by at 8pm and we were able to pack up and head home. A good day all in all and enjoyed being out in God's country. This was our 4th year to help with this event, and it gets better every year.