Ham Operators and the 2003 Sled Dog Races
Ham Operators Shine (and freeze as well) in Volunteering
for the the 14th Annual U.P. 200 and Midnight Run Sled Dog Races
This year both mother nature and old man
winter threw the Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association (UPSDA) a curve, no two curves. With just
over two weeks to go prior to the weekend that both races were to be held there was little if any
snow over the southern route that the dog teams have traditionally traveled. This meant either
no race or a trail change and the UPSDA opted for the latter.
The logistics of changing a 240 mile sled dog route in such short notice was a challenge to all those
involved. The biggest task was for the trail crew to find a trail through the new route which was
snow country. Although the majority of the core crew of volunteers remained for the events,
some were losts, which meant recruiting additional help for all aspects of the events.
Additional ham operator recruiting was a must as well.
Race day is here but it's cold, bitter cold with wind chills well below zero. Ham volunteers
were forworned to dress warm, really warm so I hope most had heeded that advise. Both races got off
without any problems and checkpoints and crossings were manned with radio ops to log teams
through. As early evening faded so to did the temperature drop accordingly, a full moon with
clear skies only means colder night temperatures in this neck of the woods.
Most of the hams that helped out spent many hours on the trail or at their checkpoint. Some
working an eight hour stretch, getting a few hours of shut eye and then returning for another long
shift to see the teams through on their return trip. Most of that time worked seemed to be
night time hours, those coldest hours of the day.
Reports of ink pens frozen, Ht batteries failing, finger tips very cold, and toes tingling at times
was not uncommon. Sitting in ones vehicle and using a mobile rig took care of the Ht dead
battery problems but it was still cold as one wasn't about to have a vehicle idling for eight hours
or so, especially as $1.78 a gallon. The second night some locations reported temperatures
falling to a - 20 degrees F. No one wanted to figure in the wind chill factor.
That second night one of the crews had a -16 degrees F. at midnight as they were taking down the
aluminum masting and antennas at two locations. Metal is cold at that temperature believe me as
I was part of that crew.
This page isn't much in payment for those that
volunteered their time to make sure the races were completed without any hitches, but at least in
some little way, it is a means of recognizing those ham operators that did their part.
KA8IXC Skip, W8RDR Raoul
KC8HHT Joe, KC8KTA Sue, KC8JLH Dale
N8OYR Richard, KB8DSC John, K8GMW Don, N8YP Jeremy,
KB8PTF Scott, N8CKT Randy
KC8MJV Jack, KA8CEO Mike
KI8AF Greg, KC8EWD Bill, WB8NJP Bruce, N8GBA Rich,
N8RSE John, N8RY Ryan, KB8VEP Paul, KC8CVV Gary, KC8QWR Carl,
KG8YT Bruce, N8HXG Ralph, N8SLH Charlie, KC8QWO Mike,
KC8PYC Carol, N9PAR Nick, KC8LKY Bruce, KC8EEE Jon,
KC8RSX Penny, KC8HYB Jack, KC8NCI Dave, KC8TIJ Pat,
KC8GKH Lyn, KB8PPE Andy, N8RRZ Eric, KG8JW John,
KC8RSW Jordan, K8UPA Lou, N8PUM Brandon,
KB8RJV Bruce, KI8DJ Gary, KC8VJZ Jimmy, KC8VQV Carol
Volunteers from the L.P.
WA8RLI Red, N8OEO John
We are always looking for amateur radio operators to help with the races, so if you've never helped
out before and are from near or afar and will be in the area February, 2004 and want to help out drop
an email to Greg, KI8AF. You'll be part of a great public service
event and have a fabulous time to boot.