Big Bend Amateur Radio Club Supports ULTRA Race 2023

Big Bend ARC

Members of the BBARC provided Communications for the 2023 ULTRA race held in the Big Bend State Park on January 15, 2023.

The annual event hosted three hundred forty foot racers in 10k, 20k, 30k, 50k, and 80k (50 mile) events on trails throughout Big Bend State Park. All races were run concurrently with staggered start times.

We used our permanent 2m repeater system, an additional repeater placed near the park entrance, tactical 2m simplex frequencies and the club RV for Net Control.

Joined by radio operators from San Antonio and Austin, a total of 14 hams manned a base camp and 5 checkpoint stations for the event.

State Park restrictions on vehicles forced some ham operators to hike into their checkpoint locations with all the radio and antenna gear and several had to camp at their station overnight. The Charlie location was 20 miles into the park.

Each racer’s bib number was recorded at each checkpoint and relayed to Net Control to track every runner’s position on the various courses. Ham Operators also provided intel on checkpoint conditions and supply needs. Net Control liaised with Park Officers and Race Control Officials to maintain up to the minute race status for all communications support.

Race officials provided medical teams roving the park on cross country bikes to assist runners through this desert environment. The State Park Officers provided two UTV’s for medical evacuations if needed.

Big Bend ARC participants included Scott KI5ANQ at Delta checkpoint, Lonny K5LON at Bravo checkpoint and Charlie N5CET / Bob WA5ROE in the RV as Net Control.

Yellow Rose Drones captured aerial views of the event and can be seen on youtube.