WS Communications Support

Voice Operations Guide

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Guidelines | Procedures | Sweeps | Call Signs | Channels | Cross-band Repeater | Simplex Channels

General Information

For our returning volunteers, changes you can expect from the 2005 event:

  1. There are two checkpoint changes for this year: Duncan Canyon is back, and Miller's Defeat is a brand-new checkpoint (story to come on this one.) Little Bald Mountain and Deep Canyon are no longer checkpoints.
  2. New Repeater channels and Crossband channels are listed below.
  3. Under CKPT pages is info for each.  Please forward proposed ckpt changes you think could help all volunteers and adjustments will be made as needed.
  4. Changes for this page see link below.

This guide summarizes many of the voice operations procedures which will be employed for the WS Run and Tevis Ride. Most will be "old hat" to the "old hands," BUT, some things are new. Our overall goal is to maintain a disciplined, efficient radio network with a control station, 25 checkpoints, and numerous sweep teams on the trail. We solicit your review, comments, and inputs to this guide via email.

It is required that all checkpoint operators, except for Robinson and above, check in with Event Control at the Auburn Dam Overlook on your way to your checkpoint. An operations kit will be provided to each operator team at that time, and you will also pick up your shirts as well. Special arrangements will be made for the operator teams at Robinson and above (i.e., Robie Park, 89 Crossing, Squaw Valley, Lyon Ridge, Red Star, Duncan Canyon and Robinson Flat.)

Please remember: Many runner’s and rider’s crews monitor our voice network on scanners. In addition, both Bald Mt. and Squaw Peak remotes are part of a linked system that can, if commanded to do so, extend over the Sacramento Valley and Bay area, Washington State, into So. Cal., across the southwest, and into Texas as far as Galveston. You will not hear them, and you may not realize they are monitoring, but they may hear us! There is a great deal of national interest in "The Big Daddy" of ultra running and riding events, and many people will/may be listening.

General Voice Operating Guidelines

  • Plan what you're going to say before you press the PTT button.
  • Keep transmissions to a single subject (i.e. if you have more than one subject, move through them serially, finishing one before going to the next, [and make certain NCS knows which one you are talking about!]).
  • It is critical that NCS know the bib number of any runner who is the subject of your transmission. In an emergency situation, NCS also needs on the first transmission, the nature of the emergency, any injuries or sickness, what your site wants Event Control to do for you, and what your site is going to do immediately on its own.
  • Deal in facts. Confusion around checkpoints and NCS is legendary and can lead to long threads of mis-information. Try to resolve the information to facts before transmitting it. If you can't, identify it as hearsay or "understanding" but not a fact.
  • If you are dealing with emergency response agencies (fire, ambulance, CalSTAR, SAR), answer their questions directly, and then wait for further questions or direction. They know what they're doing, what information they need, and when they need it ... our job is to give it to them when they ask. One of their worst nightmares is a communications operator who volunteers way more "stuff" than they really need at that moment and won't stop talking.

 Voice Operation Procedures

Directed Net: The network (all frequencies) will be a "directed net" for the duration of the event. This means that ALL radio contacts will be initiated through the net control station (i.e. "request to call ___"). (NCS must keep in mind that we are using a radio infrastructure that others commonly use and who may not know of the Western States Run. Non-event stations should be accommodated as a matter of courtesy whenever possible. Ask them to be brief, and if in the middle of an emergency, tell them.)

Bald Mt./Squaw Peak: Bald Mt and Squaw Peak are normally linked such that transmssions into either will be heard on both. NCS will have base radios on both systems, and may, should traffic loads or emergencies require it, temporarily sever the link path to create two separate networks.

Call Signs: It is nearly impossible for operators to keep track of "who is where" using only FCC call signs. Therefore, stations will use their tactical callsign when at their assignment, and will identify with their FCC callsign (e.g. KD6ABC) only at the completion of the exchange to meet the requirements of FCC Rules Part 97. Units enroute to or from their assignment, or those without a tactical callsign, will use their FCC callsign. The NCS tactical call will be "CONTROL," and will identify at the end of an exchange with the SOS callsign and a tag: "WA6SRS ... for the Western States." The tag will help advise normal users of the systems that they are being used for a public event.

Emergency Traffic: Any station reporting an emergency will add "emergency traffic" to their initial call (e.g. "Control, Michigan Bluff, emergency traffic").

Information: A station having additional information for an ongoing conversation should break into the conversation with the proword "information, [location]" and wait to be acknowledged by NCS (e.g. "Information, Foresthill").

Priority of Traffic: When a station has initiated a call to another at the direction or with permission from NCS, only stations with emergency traffic will take higher priority. This helps assure that a particular matter is fully resolved before another subject occupies the channel.

Event Officials: Event officials should be identified by their title (e.g. "Station Captain" or "Head Volunteer"). When a name is necessary for clarity, use both first and last names.

Participants: As a matter of privacy, ALL ENTRANTS SHOULD BE REFERENCED ONLY BY THEIR BIB/RIDER NUMBER, unless it is critical to reconcile a number with a name. This is particularly true in the case of an injury, sickness, or other such situation.

Logging: As a result of our experience from previous years, checkpoints will not keep logs. In past years, the checkpoint logs have correlated very strongly with the NCS logs, and it is clear that logs kept at NCS will provide all of the record we require.

  Sweep Team (Mounted and Runner) Procedures

There will be at least one licensed member on each Sweep Team, if possible. There are also (nearly) always some members of SOS who cannot ride the event, and many of them volunteer to operate shifts at NCS. The SOS members know the trail very intimately, they know horses, and they know their comrades who are riding. They have also become disciplined radio operators, familiar with emergency procedures. Our plan is that every NCS shift will include at least one SOS operator to handle special needs of the mounted teams, and to communicate with them during emergencies.

Mounted Sweep teams are numbered, and will employ the tactical call signs given in the next section.

  Tactical Call Signs

Our amateur call signs do not work well as identifiers in a coordinated event such as the WSER, whereas tactical calls, based on assigned station, convey immediate information about calling stations. They also provide a single identifier for each station, regardless of how many operators are present.

FCC Requirements: Part 97.119(a) of the FCC Rules states: "Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, ..." "At the end of each communication ..." means at the conclusion of a complete exchange, which may involve several transmissions. Generally speaking, it means that the channel is then clear for other traffic.

WSER Procedures: Use your tactical call sign to initiate an exchange, and during the exchange. When the exchange is completed, identify your station with your amateur call sign. An example is:

STATION TRANSMISSION
Robinson Flat "Control, Robinson"
NCS "Robinson, control ... go ahead"
NCS/Robinson Flat [message transmissions go here]
Robinson Flat "Robinson clear ... WA7SPY"
NCS "Control clear ... WA6SRS for the Western States (or Tevis Cup)."

NCS will include the tag "...for the Western States" to flag the fact that the channel and repeater is in use for an event to other users of the systems not participating in the event.

The table below lists the voice call signs that will be used for each checkpoint.

Please note that the correct term for use during the Run is "Brown's Bar." A different place called "Brown's Ravine" is also in the 911 Database and will send emergency crews to the southern end of Folsom Lake!

TACTICAL CALL SIGNS

WS Run

STATION CODE TACTICAL CALL
Net Control NCS CONTROL
RD Shadow RD1 SHADOW
Mounted Sweep Teams N/A MOUNTED TEAM [Number]
Runner Sweep Teams N/A SAFETY PATROL [Letter]
Squaw Valley (Start) SV SQUAW
Escarpment ES SUMMIT
Watson's Monument WM WATSON
Lyon Ridge LR LYON
Red Star Ridge RS RED STAR
Duncan Canyon DC DUNCAN
Robinson Flat RF ROBINSON
Miller's Defeat MD MILLER
Dusty Corners DU DUSTY
Last Chance LC LAST CHANCE
Devil's Thumb DT DEVILS THUMB
El Dorado Creek ED EL DORADO
Michigan Bluff MB MICHIGAN
Bath Road BA BATH ROAD
Foresthill FH FORESTHILL
Dardanelles (Cal-1) DD CAL ONE
Peachstone (Cal-2) PS CAL TWO
Ford's Bar (Cal-3) FB CAL THREE
River Crossing RC RUCKY CHUCK
Green Gate GG GREEN GATE
Auburn Lake Trails AL "A - L - T"
Brown's Bar BB BROWN
Hwy 49 Crossing HC QUARRY
No Hands Bridge NH NO HANDS
Robie Point RP ROBIE
PHS Stadium FL FINISH
 

Tevis Ride

STATION CODE TACTICAL CALL
Net Control NCS CONTROL
RD Shadow RD1 SHADOW
Mounted Sweep Teams N/A MOUNTED TEAM [Number]
Runner Sweep Teams N/A SAFETY PATROL [Letter]
Robie Park (Start) RP ROBIE
Hwy 89 Crossing 89 HWY 89
Squaw High Camp HC HIGH CAMP
Lyon Ridge LR LYON
Red Star Ridge RS RED STAR
Robinson Flat RF ROBINSON
Dusty Corners DU DUSTY
Last Chance LC LAST CHANCE
Devil's Thumb DT DEVILS THUMB
Deadwood DW DEADWOOD
El Dorado Creek ED EL DORADO
Michigan Bluff MB MICHIGAN
Chicken Hawk CH CHICKEN
Foresthill FH FORESTHILL
Francisco's FR FRANCISCOS
Lower Quarry LQ QUARRY
Gold Country Fairground FL FINISH
Fairground Barns BA BARN

 Channel Designations

Channels will be designated by NUMBER to allow channels to be inputted into Mobile and HT memories. This will allow easier switching between channels for SOS and Mobile operators. Also notice channels are in course order. Operators should note that Channel 1 (Squaw Peak) is operating on the same frequency as the remote on Vollmer Peak in the Bay Area (and is part of the same NCCRA system as Vollmer). The NCCRA will curtail usage of Vollmer during Saturday AM when it might be heard in the upper parts of the course. Additionally, the usage of the remote on the same frequency as Channel 5, Bald Mt (Crystal Peak in the south Bay Area) will be curtailed to prevent interference to those above Foresthill.

Note that Squaw Peak and Bald Mt. have the capability to be linked, such that a transmission into either will be heard on both. You can help the NCS operator a lot if you will add the tag "On Squaw" or "On Bald" when you first call in. When linked, the NCS can answer on either, however NCS will have separate equipment for each, and may, due to traffic load, sever this link temporarily. If this need arises, the NCS operator needs to know who is on which system.

CHAN LOCATION MOBILE RX MOBILE TX CTCSS ("PL")
1 Squaw Peak 443.975 448.975(+) 114.8
2 Mt Rose 147.150 147.750(+) 123.0
3 Robinson Flat 443.900 448.900(+) 136.5
4 Bald Mt. VHF 146.625 146.025(-) 123.0
5 Bald Mt. UHF 443.550 448.550(+) 127.3
6 CrossBand "X" 443.950 443.950(s) 162.2
7 CrossBand "Y" 443.125 443.125(s) 162.2
8 Foresthill 1 147.355 146.955(+) 114.8
9 AUB-VHF 1 145.430 144.830(-) 162.2
10 AUB-UHF 440.575 445.575(+) 94.8
11 Bowman 146.355 146.955(+) 94.8
12 Portable Repeater Future Future Future
13 Nat'l Simplex 146.520 146.520(s) None
14 Pilot Hill 147.195 147.795(+) 123.0
15 Foresthill 2 146.745 147.145(-) 156.7
16 Foresthill 3 Future Future Future
17 AUB-VHF 2 145.270 144.670(-) 156.7

Mt. Rose Repeater (CHAN 2) is only to be used if Squaw Peak Repeater fails. Chan-2 will not be monitored until Chan-1 fails. Stay on both Squaw (PRI) and Mt Rose (SEC) if there is a problem, unless directed to move by NCS.

Note: The Squaw Peak (CHAN 1) and Bald Mt. (CHAN 5) remotes are part of a closed, linked system and should not be used before or after race day without prior coordination. IF YOU WILL BE PRE-RIDING A SWEEP OR WORKING ON TRIAL BEFORE THE EVENT, THESE REPEATERS MAY BE USED BY COORDINATING A WEEK BEFORE YOU PLAN TO PRE-RIDE. CONTACT: RALPH LUCAS, W6RWL, at 530-367-3026 or 408-640-0963.

 Cross-band Repeater Plan

CHAN LOCATION MOBILE RX MOBILE TX CTCSS ("PL")
6 CrossBand "X"
Cookoo Ridge
Last Chance to Devil's Thumb
Repeats to Auburn 145.430
443.950 443.950(s) 162.2
7 CrossBand "Y"
El Dorado Canyon
Deadwood to Michigan Bluff
Repeats to Auburn 145.430
443.125 443.125(s) 162.2

 Simplex Channels

CHAN LOCATION PRIMARY
20 EVENT CALLING 146.505
21 NCS USE ONLY 147.495
22 MB and UP Course 146.415
23 MB and UP Course 146.445
24 FH AND DOWN Course 146.465
25 FH and DOWN Course 147.480

 Initial Channel Assignments

CHECKPOINT PRIMARY SECONDARY
Robie Park (RP) SQUAW (CH 1) MT ROSE (CH2)
89 Crossing (89) SQUAW (CH 1) MT ROSE (CH2)
High Camp / Squaw Valley (SV) SQUAW (CH 1) MT ROSE (CH2)
Escarpment (ES) SQUAW (CH 1) MT ROSE (CH2)
Watson's Monument (WM) SQUAW (CH 1) MT ROSE (CH2)
Lyon Ridge (LR) SQUAW (CH 1) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Red Star (RS) BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Duncan Canyon (DC) BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Robinson Flat (RF) See Appendix #4 ROBINSON FLAT (CH 3) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Miller's Defeat (MD) See Appendix #4 ROBINSON FLAT (CH 3) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Dusty Corners (DU) BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Last Chance (LC) See Appendix #4 BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Swing Bridge (SB) CrossBand "X" (CH6) SIMPLEX (CH22)
Devil's Thumb (DT) See Appendix #4 BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Deadwood (DW) See Appendix #4 BALD VHF (CH 4) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
El Dorado Canyon (ED) CrossBand "Y" (CH 7) SIMPLEX to MB (CH 23)
Michigan Bluff (MB) See Appendix #4 AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Chicken Hawk (CH) FORESTHILL 2 (CH15) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Foresthill (FH) See Appendix #4 FORESTHILL 2 (CH15) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
CAL 2 (PS) FORESTHILL 2 (CH15) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Rucky Chucky -near (RC-N) See Appendix #4 AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Rucky Chucky-far (RC-F) Via Nearside AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9)
Francisco's (FR) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) BALD VHF (CH 4)
River Crossing (PB) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) BALD VHF (CH 4)
Green Gate (GG) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
ALT (AL) See Appendix #4 AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
Brown's Bar (BB) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
Hwy 49_Upper Quarry (HC) See Appendix #4 AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
Lower Quarry (LQ) See Appendix #4 AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
No Hands Bridge (NH) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
Finish (FI) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) AUB-VHF 2 (CH 17)
Barn (BA) AUB-VHF 1 (CH 9) Simplex (CH 21)

 SOS Sweep Team Radio Assignments

WS Run
TEAM PRIMARY SECONDARY
1) RF to DT ROBINSON FLAT CH 3
CrossBand "X" CH 6
BALD VHF CH 4
2) DT to MB BALD VHF CH 4
CrossBand " Y" CH 7
FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
3) MB to FH BALD VHF CH 4 FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
4) CAL2 to RC BALD VHF CH 4 FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
5) FH to RC BALD VHF CH 4 FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
6) GG to HWY 49 AUB-VHF 2 CH 17 AUB-VHF 1 CH 9
7) HWY 49 to FINISH AUB-VHF 2 CH 17 AUB-VHF 1 CH 9
8) HWY 49 to FINISH AUB-VHF 2 CH 17 AUB-VHF 1 CH 9


Tevis Cup Ride
TEAM PRIMARY SECONDARY
1) RP to HC SQUAW CH 1 MT ROSE CH 2
2) RP to HC SQUAW CH 1 MT ROSE CH 2
3) HC to RF SQUAW CH 1 ROBINSON FLAT CH 3
4) HC to RF SQUAW CH 1 ROBINSON FLAT CH 3
5) RF to DW BALD VHF CH 4 Crossband "X" CH 6
6) DW to FH BALD VHF CH 4
CrossBand "Y" CH 7
FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
7) FH to FR BALD VHF CH 4 FORESTHILL 2 CH 15
8) FR to LQ AUB-VHF 2 CH 17 AUB-VHF 1 CH 9
9) LQ to FINISH AUB-VHF 2 CH 17 AUB-VHF 1 CH 9

 Appendix 4: Digital Reporting Checkpoints

Following Checkpoints are to use digital mode, if available, as primary mode to transmit Runner/Rider data to NCS.

(Refer to Operations Summary for Appendix 1 – 3)

Digital Reporting Checkpoints
Checkpoint Primary Mode Secondary Mode
Robinson Flat WL2K or Internet Radio
Miller's Defeat WL2K Radio
Last Chance WL2K Radio
Devil's Thumb WL2K Radio
Michigan Bluff Internet Radio
Chicken Hawk WL2K or Internet Radio
Foresthill Internet Radio
Rucky Chucky / Francisco's WL2K Radio
ALT WiFi Radio
Hwy 49_Upper Quarry Internet Radio
Lower Quarry WL2K Radio