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Volunteer Requirements

General Requirements

HAM License: Obviously, a ham license is a great asset for communications crew members, however it is not mandatory! Both Event Control and the checkpoints are busy places, and having unlicensed helpers (family members/friends) with you can really help with the workload. In fact, at Event Control, we have database/webcast technicians and EC Assistants who perform critical functions tracking runners, assuring injuries get handled correctly, and correlating the radio information with the paperwork from the checkpoints to make sure we account for each and every runner. In our experience, family members 12 years or older can make for very effective teams at checkpoints.

Remote Checkpoints: Many of the checkpoints are remote and do not have the normal “creature comforts” found in more civilized locations. Some will have portable toilets, but even then, we urge you to carry some toilet paper, sun screen, insect repellent, and other survival items.

Clothing: Regardless of how nice the weather is in the valley, or what the TV weatherperson said on Friday night, you can expect that it will be cold (maybe very cold, depending on the elevation) early Saturday morning, Saturday night, and early Sunday morning. Therefore, you should bring a good jacket, gloves, a warm hat, and warm pants and socks.

You can also expect that it will be quite warm (as in hot) during daylight, especially at the mid and down trail sites. A change of clothes into shorts, light shirts, and a hat for the daytime is a good idea. If you have a large umbrella and/or EZ-up and can bring it as a sun shade, it will help a lot. Wear really comfortable hiking shoes.

Food/Drink: There will be water at every checkpoint and most will have various combinations of runner food. (For the uninitiated, runner food tends to be snack items that the runners can eat while running … not real filling) Regardless, we encourage you to bring enough of your favorite foods to keep your stomach quiet for the duration of your shift. And, please bring bottled water (and drink it!) as well. It’s very easy to get dehydrated in the field.

Radio-Related Requirements

For reference, we use the following repeater systems:

These are the channels/frequencies you should have programmed into your radios.

Channel NumberRepeater NameRX FrequencyTX FrequencyCTCSS (PL)
1Squaw443.975448.975(+)114.8
2Mr. Rose147.150147.750(+)123.0
3Robinson Flat443.900448.900(+)136.5
4Bald-VHF146.625146.025(-)123.0
5Bald-UHF443.550448.550(+)127.3
6Cross Band X443.950443.950162.2
7Cross Band Y443.125443.125162.2
8Foresthill 1146.355146.955(+)107.2
9AUB-VHF1145.430144.830(-)162.2
10AUB-UHF440.575445.575(+)162.2
11Foresthill 4146.625146.025(-)107.2
12Portable Repeater146.355146.955(+)114.8
13Simplex146.520146.520NONE
14Pilot Hill147.195147.795(+)123.0
15Foresthill 2146.745146.145(-)156.7
16Foresthill 3443.225448.225(+)110.9
17AUB-VHF2145.270144.670(-)156.7

These repeaters are graciously made available to Western States Endurance Run to ensure the safety of runners and volunteers.

For reference, we use the following simplex frequencies:

Channel NumberLocationPrimary
20Event Calling146.505
21NCS use only147.495
22MB and UP course146.415
23MB and Up course146.445
24FH and Down course146.465
25FH and Down course147.480

For reference, we use the RMS Gateways and Digipeaters for WinLink2000 Stations:

Nodename
TypeFrequencyLocation
W6RWL-10Gateway145.630Michigan Bluff
W6RWL-11Gateway145.090Foresthill
K6SAT-10Gateway145.050Loomis
KF6DQU-10Gateway145.050Grass Valley
KG6SJT-10Gateway145.050Davis
AG6QO-10Gateway144.370Winters
KF6OBI-10Gateway145.050Willows
K6IXA-10Gateway144.910 Atwater
K6IXA-12Gateway145.050Atwater
K2RDX-10Gateway145.630San Jose
KE6AFE-10Gateway145.630Santa Cruz
W7DEM-10Gateway145.050Carson City
W7DEM-10Gateway223.600Carson City
W7DEM-10Gateway430.350Carson City
N7TNX-10Gateway430.350Carson City
KBERRDigipeater or Ka-Node145.050Berryessa Peak
YARS01Digipeater or Ka-Node145.090Mt. Vaca
CAM05Digipeater or Ka-Node145.050Camino
CAM91Digipeater or Ka-Node145.910Camino
OSODigipeater or Ka-Node145.630Mt. Oso
SARADigipeater or Ka-Node144.910Stanislaus County

Many of the RMS gateways are over 80 miles from locations along the Western States Trail, but are only one hop if you have access to the digipeater. Corrections or must-have additions, please send to: radio at wser.org

For more details on WinLink200 Operations, please see this guide (TBA).

Radio Requirements and Operational Considerations (Checkpoints)

Note about handhelds: While HTs are very useful and should be included in your equipment list, they will provide only marginal communications from many sites. Worse yet, their batteries will die soon if you are required to transmit much. A vehicle-powered mobile is required at many sites, and is best for all of them.

The following table gives you an idea of where radios are used, whether voice is main method of communication or if WinLink2000 is also used. Open and Close times are also listed to give an idea of how long an Aid Station is operational.

CheckpointCodeOpenCloseTotalRadioWL2K
HotSpot
Lyon RidgeLR05:0009:304:30YesYes
Yes
Red StarRS06:3010:304:00YesYes
Yes
Duncan CanyonDC07:0012:305:30YesYes
Robinson FlatRF08:2514:456:20YesYes
Yes
Miller's DefeatMD09:0015:406:40YesYes
Dusty CornersDU09:3016:457:15Yes
Last ChanceLC10:3018:007:30YesYes
Devil's ThumbDT11:0019:308:30YesYes**
El Dorado CreekED12:0021:159:15Yes
Michigan BluffMB12:3022:3010:00Yes
Covered by WebCast Team
ForesthillFH13:0000:3011:30Yes
Dardanelles (Cal I)DD13:3001:3012:00Yes*
Peachstone (Cal II)PS14:0003:0013:00YesYes**
Yes
Ford's Bar (Cal III)FB14:3004:0013:30Yes*
Rucky ChuckyRC15:0006:0014:00YesYes**
Green GateGG15:4506:3013:45Yes
Auburn Lake TrailsAL17:0008:0015:00Yes
Yes
Quarry RoadQR18:3009:0014:30Yes
Pointed RocksPR18:3010:0015:30Yes
Yes
No Hands BridgeNH19:0010:4515:45
Covered by WebCast Team
Robie PointRP19:1511:1516:00
Covered by WebCast Team
Finish LineFL20:00
12:00
16:00
Covered by WebCast Team

*These aid station locations will have radio support only if there are enough radio volunteers.

**These aid station locations will have WinLink2000 support only if is equipment available. 

The following table lists the Initial Channel assignments for each aid station location. Net Control may make primary and secondary channel assignment changes just before race day due to repeater status or for other reasons. It’s best to have all possible channels programmed into your radios.

CheckpointCheckpoint CodeRadio Used?Primary ChannelSecondary Channel
Lyon RidgeLRYesSquaw
(Channel 1)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
Red StarRSYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Duncan CanyonDCYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Robinson FlatRFYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Miller's DefeatMDYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Dusty CornersDUYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Last ChanceLCYesBald VHF
(Channel 4)
AUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Devil's ThumbDTYesAUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
El Dorado CreekEDYesCross Band Y
(Channel 7)
SIMPLEX to MB
(CH 23)
Michigan BluffMBYesAUB-VHF 1
(Channel 9)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
ForesthillFHYesForesthill 2
(Channel 15)
AUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
Dardanelles (Cal I)DDYes*Foresthill 2
(Channel 15)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
Peachstone (Cal II)PSYesForesthill 2
(Channel 15)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
Ford's Bar (Cal III)FBYes*AUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
Rucky ChuckyRCYesAUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
Bald VHF
(Channel 4)
Green GateGGYesAUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
AUB-VHF 2
(CH 17)
Auburn Lake TrailsALYesAUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
AUB-VHF 2
(CH 17)
Quarry RoadQRYesAUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
AUB-VHF 2
(CH 17)
Pointed RocksPRYes
AUB-VHF 1
(CH 9)
AUB-VHF 2
(CH 17)
No Hands BridgeNH
Covered by WebCast Team
Robie PointRP
Covered by WebCast Team
Finish LineFL
Covered by WebCast Team

*These aid station locations will have radio support only if there are enough radio volunteers. 

Location: Most Aid Station locations are accessible with out 4WD vehicles. However, there are a couple of locations where a 4WD vehicle is recommended.

Support Equipment: Some folks operate from their vehicle or off the tailgate of a pickup; however it helps a lot if you have a card or other light weight table to set up. An umbrella or EZ-Up is also valuable at the sites below Robinson Flat. You should also bring a supply of pencils/pens, and scratch paper.

Power: There will generally be commercial AC power available at Michigan Bluff, Foresthill, and the Finish. Additionally, some other checkpoints will have a generator running, although there is no guarantee you’ll be able to locate close enough to use it. If you have a small (1 KVW) generator, it might be a good idea to bring it, along with a long extension cord and whatever power distribution your gear needs. Many folks operate off their vehicle or outboard batteries. Just don’t forget to start the truck periodically, and make sure it’s running before everyone leaves the site! Its best to plan to work off grid, full BATTERY OPERATION.

Note: If you plan to use a generator, please observe proper clearance (2 feet all the way around, according the US Forest Service). Also, please ensure you have a ABC-rated fire extinguisher nearby when operating the generator. More details are available here.

Inverters: We recommend against using inverters powered from 12V sources for the RADIO power, ONLY for laptop power. If you plan to use a inverter for your laptop power use a high quality unit. With cheaper units their output waveforms are square and full of harmonics, and we’ve found a number of radio and laptop power supplies will not work with them. Their efficiencies are also very low, and they’ll drain your vehicle battery in no time at all.

Operations: Voice and WinLink operators at all checkpoints will transmit the numbers of all runners as in-time (arrive), out-time (if requested to do so), total number of runners in and out of checkpoint and last 10 to depart before the cut-off time are needed by Sweep Riders. The numbers, times, and reasons for all runners who drop at your site are logged using this form via an aid station timer volunteer. In general, you will transmit all arrival times to be in real time. Every 15 mins transmit runner information, even if you only have one entrant on your timer sheet. WSER has a commitment to the WORLD to get runner information to the WEB CAST in 30 mins or less if possible. Communications and Timers need to work closely together to get this information to NCS as soon as possible. You will also handle messages regarding logistics for the event, possible conversations between event officials, and of course, any emergency traffic involving your site. It is our policy to refer to runners by their number only to provide some measure of privacy for them. This is particularly true for runners involved in emergency situations or with medical problems. See the Voice Operations Guide for more operations information.

Radio Requirements (Event Control)

Equipment: You will require no equipment.

Location: Event Control is located in a heated and air conditioned building at ARD’s Overlook Park with restrooms, and a small kitchenette area. There is plenty of parking, and you can park your RV there overnight if you wish.

Please do not transmit on 2m or 70cm from either your handheld or mobile inside or in the vicinity of Event Control. We have taken some extreme measures to minimize the interference between the Event Control radios, and transmissions from even handhelds can desense the radios. Further, within the Event Control building, Please turn HT receivers OFF at all times. We already have an acoustic noise problem in the building.

So, if you’ve read this far, you must be interested, so click on over to our Communications Volunteer Signup Form and get yourself into our database. We’d love to have you on the team!