CSM 2021 FAQs <--- STILL BEING UPDATED for 2021!
Why are radio ops assigned in pairs?
With two ops, one is able to copy traffic while the other is occupied with getting or delivering information. Plus it gives each op a chance to have a bio break and stretch once in a while. Due to COVID, pairing may not be possible or required.
Do I need to commit for the whole day?
YES! It may be IMPOSSIBLE to leave a checkpoint after it opens. You should not plan to leave a checkpoint before it is completely closed.
Do I need to be there on Saturday?
It depends. If you are going to be working at a checkpoint that opens very early, you will probably want to stay nearby Saturday night to avoid a long and extremely early drive. If you are going to be working on the chip or road teams, you will need to get your radio installed in your vehicle on Saturday evening.
Are the maps, checkpoint diagrams, and assignments final?
No. For a variety of reasons - not the least of which is weather - maps, CP locations, and assignments can all change before or even during the event.
Are meals and sleeping accommodations provided?
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is all under discussion. Details to follow.
Does this site have driving directions posted?
Yes. Go to the Downloads page.
What frequencies should we use?
The commercial digital radios are programmed in advance by the supplier. You only need to select the correct Ops zone and channel each day. Instructions for operating the commercial rigs are on the Downloads page.
There is NO FORMAL NET on the ham bands and normally NO CSM TRAFFIC should be passed on the ham bands. Of course, in cases of emergency, you should use whatever method you can to pass your traffic. Net control will set up equipment to monitor local ham repeaters as back up. Net control will also be available via phone and email.
While enroute to and from the checkpoint please test your 2m rig using one of the repeaters below. If you can access your ham radio gear while operating the commercial radio, keep a watch on the amateur frequencies. You may be asked to relay traffic to net control or you may hear a request for the commercial radio tech to attend a location to fix a problem.
Last year we used the following:
For Saturday (Mont Tremblant to Montebello):
For Sunday (Montebello to Lachute):
For local simplex comms:
Is there a radio operator's guide available?
There are several radio-related files on the Downloads page including a full manual for the XPR4550 which has WAY more detail than you need. THESE MAY BE UPDATED!
These are digital radios that have been programmed in advance. You only need to select the correct zone and channel (see Mobile Radio User Guide on the Downloads page ). IMPORTANT: When you press the PTT, wait until you hear the "talk permit" tone before you start talking. If the repeater is busy or unavailable, it makes a rude noise instead of the talk permit. If two operators key up at the same time, one wins and gets the talk permit, the other gets the noise. There is NO COURTESY beep when you finish transmitting, so please say "OVER" when you are done.
How will the radio equipment be installed?
TBD. But last year, for checkpoints, the radios and antennas are transported in the cube van. At the checkpoint, the antenna will be mounted on the cube van and the radio placed in the operator's car parked beside the cube van. For mobile operators, such as the chip team, the radios will probably be available at the Papineauville high school. Note that the 35W radios are powered by an automobile auxiliary power outlet (aka cigar lighter). Your vehicle needs a socket that can supply at least 11 Amps. Most newer vehicles are have the outlets fused at 15 Amps.
What happens if the radio equipment has technical problems?
If the commercial equipment is unavailable for some reason, use whatever communications gear you have. Try the 2m frequencies first , because there is NO cell coverage in the Kenauk Reserve. Phone or text net control (number to be supplied) to report a radio problem. ExelRadio will have a mobile tech with repair equipment and spare gear.
Where will net control be located?
TBD. Last year: Net control will be located at https://goo.gl/maps/agvKbSnQr3T2 in the offices of the Municipality of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, which is close to Montebello. Net control equipment will be set up Friday afternoon, February 5th, 2021.
Does net control have alternative communications?
TBD. Last year: Net control has a high-speed fibre connection and access to email. NC also has phone access and will be monitoring local amateur 2m repeaters. Details to be confirmed immediately before the event.
What checkpoints do each CP team cover?
TBD. Last year: The 6 CP teams each cover 2 CPs, one per day. For continuity, we try to arrange for radio operators to work with the same CP teams on both days. The CP team assignments may be altered due to last minute staffing changes. If you are only available for one of the two days, you may be paired with another operator who will work with the CP team both days. Gold Camp (GC) is an exception and will only have radio ops on Saturday. On Sunday, radio ops at the start at CP6 will also cover GC, which is just 50 meters from the start.
Checkpoint pairings and staffing for 2020 <--- to be updated for 2021