Ham Assistance Requested, Marlborough Labor Day Parade, September 2, 2019

Algonquin ARC logoEd Fitzgerald, K1DIN, writes on the Algonquin ARC mailing list:
This email is intended for AARC members who have not participated as security observers before in the Marlborough Labor Day Parade. We usually have our members posted at 12 to14 locations throughout the Parade and connected via the repeater to Net Control. Our mission is to report emergencies or anything unusual to Net Control which is in direct contact with MPD Dispatch and has the MPD Incident Commander in close proximity. All observers have MPD Officers assigned nearby who are in touch with Dispatch. In short, an observer reports a disturbance to Net Control who, in turn, reports to MPD Dispatch which will alert the officers nearest to the observer to handle the problem. 
Mostly we report on causes for Parade delays, minor accidents, illnesses, and sometimes strange folks doing strange things. We also time the parade, list all reported happenings, and send our complete log to the Parade Director. We also have to be ready for a serious event and maybe even an assumption of command by MEMA. At that moment, we act as agents of Homeland Security.
This year we are lucky to have all our usual stations filled with experienced observers, and what we would like to do is offer members who have not previously or recently participated to “apprentice” with those experienced observers. Hopefully, this will “deepen our bench” and allow more members to have the opportunity to do some Ham Radio public service for Marlborough. It will allow us to rotate our crew so that we can have a full staffing of our stations with experienced observers when folks’ family events or other opportunities prevent them from participating.
Please let me know right away if you are interested in being with an observer for this Marlborough Labor Day Parade. We would love to have you try it out to see if you would be willing to be on our call list each year. 
All participants, of course, are welcome to the Pizza Party after the Parade in the Verizon Parking lot around Pete’s RV (Net Control 2).
Many thanks in advance,

One Comment on “Ham Assistance Requested, Marlborough Labor Day Parade, September 2, 2019”

  1. Ed Fitzgerald, K1DIN writes on the Algonquin ARC mailing list:

    Hi Everyone,

    This year Marlborough put on its most efficient parade. It had the fewest and smallest gaps and ended 35 minutes before the average time. According to sources, there were roughly the same number of units. So, the complaints shifted from “Way too many gaps!” and “Awfully long parade!” to “What a short parade!” and from a clever wise guy, “Almost worth not coming.” Well next year is the big politicians’ year. Place your bets on the reviews shifting to the other extreme in 2020.

    The AARC/MEMA Observer Team set its own record. We had seventeen observers working the parade. That is the best record I can remember since I started as an observer. We had two new observers (John Tenney and Caleb Fitzgerald) and one observer, (Jim Read) new last year, returning, so we are managing to deepen our bench and have most of our veteran observers in action. We did have two veterans unable to attend due work and family reasons this year. That is why our bench is so important. When we advertise on our map that we have observers in a location, we really have to have someone there.

    I cannot thank enough the folks who volunteered this year. My job was so much easier with people signing up and getting information back to me quickly. We also had the most impressive Map of our positions, police locations, EMT staging, and, especially for us old Dudes, right up there on the scale of importance, Porta Potty locations. Frank McInnis originally designed the map, and Jim Babish has developed it into a work of art and a wealth of information. Thanks, Frank and Jim.

    Eric and Pete worked as a slick team this year handling roll call and timing reports. It sounded very disciplined. Everybody used the net appropriately to furnish info to Net Control and to other observers. John Tenney took charge of the bulk of the Main Street packet distribution, and everybody picked up their packets at Net Control 1 or 2 and brought one to their neighbor. That is usually one of our biggest chores, but with help it went smoothly even with some folks delayed getting there. However, everyone was there for roll call. Thank you all.

    Even with the early parade ending, with the good work of Gene Balinski (and with assistance Jim Whalen subverted by Divine Providence) we still had hot pizza for our well attended party. NO LEFTOVERS. (Clockwork will enjoy hearing that.) We were early enough to beat the rain and do what we all do best – “ragchew” until the ears droop. Eric added an insightful short talk, from an EMA perspective, which focused on the value of what we do not only as a service to the City but as a drill for the day when our communication skills may be needed to save lives.

    So, the 2019 Marlborough Labor Day Parade is in the books, and the AARC/MEMA Observer Team has made another significant public contribution in the name of Amateur Radio and Emergency Management. I certainly appreciate everyone’s efforts. What a Team!! (Listed below)

    Much Appreciated,


    Jim Babish K1UUM
    Gene Balinski K1NR
    Barrie Brozenske K3BUZ
    Dennis Egan W1UE
    Caleb Fitzgerald KC1LAB
    Ed Fitzgerald K1DIN
    Steve Hoffman N1WCD
    Pete Hoover W1PLH
    Ron Lahti N1CNG
    Rick Landau W1IBN
    Chip Read N2IOF
    Jim Read KB1TYN
    John Snyder N1DNX
    John Tenney N1JPT
    Tom Turner KB1OQA
    Jim Whelan KX1M
    Eric Williams KV1J

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