Hood to Coast 2013

I volunteered this weekend for the third consecutive year as a ham radio operator for the massively popular Hood to Coast Relay Race.  My station was five miles into the Coast Range, just northwest of St. Helens, and I worked the 1AM to 8AM shift this morning (or last night, as it were).  Here are some photos from this morning showing my setup and the exchange area.

IMG_0795 IMG_0796 IMG_0797In the first photo you can see my antenna at the top of my home brew PVC pipe construction by my van.  I had the radio set up in the van, to protect it from drizzle/dew and dust.  And so I could sit inside to keep warm.

The second photo shows the exchange handoff area, and a few residual runners waiting for their teammates to come in.  This was taken shortly before closing the exchange.  In the middle of the night this area was a madhouse, with dozens of team vans waiting to turn into the parking area, bright lights run by generators, loudspeakers announcing team numbers for arriving runners, and a few hundred teammates milling around to cheer them on, stretch, or use the portable toilets.

The third photo shows a bit of the pastoral setting for the exchange area.

I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction working the assignment, using my amateur radio license, skills, and equipment.  And I enjoy partaking in the excitement of the event itself.  It brings back vivid memories of when I used to run the race, especially of running a six mile leg in the middle of the night on a remote Coast Range road, with a runner or two in sight ahead of you, but otherwise in isolation with the stars above.  And the feelings of camaraderie with teammates in the van, on the road, or nearby in sleeping bags.  Here is a photo of our running team from 1995, the first year I did it (with Blair, Bridget, the Garlicks, and others).