2014 Waco Wild West 100 Bike Tour

HOTARC provided radio communications in support of this very popular annual event sponsored by the Waco Bicycle Club that involves about a thousand participants and volunteers. This year's WWW100 was Saturday, September 27, 2014 at Indian Springs Park in downtown Waco, starting at 8:00 am. This day-long event accommodates riders of many abilities with courses of varied lengths: 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, 65 miles, and 100 miles—all of which are supported by rest stops, support vehicles ("SAG"), and—courtesy of HOTARC—radio communications.

This event involves many volunteers around the course. Amateur radio operators at each rest stop relay timely progress information as well as break-downs and injuries, need for supplies, and so forth. This year we also had a ham radio in seventeen SAG vehicles and the 100-mile pace car. In each of these we installed an APRS tracker automatically sending up-to-the-minute position reports to the APRS network. Using APRSISCE/32 running on a laptop in the trailer, we could quickly identify the closest SAG vehicle to a need reported to us via radio or telephone. Clint AE5CA did an awesome job to make the APRS effort a success!

Riders away for the 2014 WWW100!

And they're off!!

Taking a break at Rest Stop #2.

Click for link to 2014 course maps.
APRS tracksFor APRS, we used 147.50 MHz and our own array of digipeaters (at AE5CA's QTH, the W5NCD-15 tower, a temporary station installed on a tall building in downtown Waco, and a mobile digipeater at the rest stop near Mother Neff), with the data iGate'd up to the Internet, so anyone can see the current tracker locations, e.g., on aprs.fi or openaprs.net. The trackers are programmed for time-slotting: when switched to secondary mode, it transmits every 3 minutes, at a pre-determined time-slot to avoid collisions.

For voice communications, we relied on our own wide coverage 145.15 MHz repeater. Parked under a tree, we couldn't raise the tall mast on the trailer at Net Control, but mounting the 2-meter antenna on the side of the trailer worked just fine, and our 2-meter repeater worked very well for all locations.

Although this event is well "planned," with the route and rest stops known well in advance, there are still plenty of challenges for us every year, and it is a great chance to use our radio abilities to serve the community. And, of course, it is an excellent training opportunity for a real emergency situation requiring coordinated radio communications from several remote locations with a Net Control.

As for the bikers, this year's event went smoothly, starting off with cool morning tempertures, and climbing into the low 90s in heat of the afternoon.

Click here to see the 2014 station assignments.

Waco Wild West 100 Wrap-Up
by Clint Anderson, AE5CA

I would like to express my thanks to everyone that helped out with today's Waco Wild West.

Some of you were there all day other for a few hours. And some of you contributed your time and efforts days or months ago. Without all of this hard work and dedication, we would not have been able to perform in the very professional and exceptional manner we did.

Thanks again!!!

Clint Anderson, AE5CA
President, Heart 'O Texas Amateur Radio Club

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