BRATS Help Keep MS150 Safe and Smooth!

The BRATS stepped up this year in the face of declining volunteerism overall, helping deliver over 400 pounds of ice and 20 gallons of water to rest stops, manning rest stops when necessary, assisting with 8 tire changes, and SAGging 12 cyclists. The BRATS team drove over 2,500 miles, and had a blast doing it.

We also invested heavily in APRS trackers, and changed settings to guarantee more frequent position updates. We were able to track one bike mobile, the supply trucks, and three additional non-ham SAG vehicles, in addition to all of our vehicles, providing a much more complete route picture.

In response to complaints from the local club (seriously, what amateur radio club asks how much you're being paid to volunteer?) the BRATS brought along our own repeater. With some unanticipated filter issues we ended up running simplex, but 100w simplex through a 17' 9 dB antenna provided great coverage for the entire event. As bad as the Yaesu Fusion DR1X repeaters are, they do include good filtering, and we'll be making some upgrades to our portable repeater equipment in the offseason.

The BRATS trailer tower and antenna setup for the MS150 Chesapeake Challenge

The BRATS trailer tower and antenna setup for the MS150 Chesapeake Challenge

A very special thanks to K0RYX, N3GXH, and K2GZL for all their help in cleaning up our tower trailer and prepping it for the journey, and for helping put together our equipment package. And thank you to our awesome team that shows up year after year assisting this and our other events, including Bob WA3SWA, Jim KB3SKN, Floyd K5KNK, Cameron KW0TTR, and Brent K2AGR.

No thank you would be complete without recognizing Jason KC3FET for all of his time and efforts spent with the Society before and during the event to make sure it was a success.

Thank you all and we'll see you in the fall for the MS Challenge Walk!

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