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CSM 2024
Radio Ops

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  • Copyright © 2024
  • by Neil Herber
  • VE3PUE

CSM 2024 FAQs

Join us next year in February 2025 - signup starting in November 2024

(:xxxif userlang en:) Volunteer now at https://signup.hambone.ca/csm/ (:xxxif userlang fr:) Faites du bénévolat maintenant à https://signup.hambone.ca/csm/ (:xxxif:)

Photo by Leeloo Thefirst

When should I volunteer?

The sooner the better. Right now would be best! You can fill in the volunteer form with an "unsure" status if you may have conflicting commitments.

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. If volunteer levels are too low, some ops may be deployed alone. Newbies will ALWAYS be paired with an experienced op.

Do I need to commit for the whole day?

YES! It is 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 Friday?

It depends. If you are going to be working at a checkpoint that opens very early, you will probably want to stay nearby Friday night to avoid a long and extremely early drive.

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?

As in prior years, the Papineauville HS dorm (where a "dorm" is a classroom floor) is available to volunteers at no charge. Meals will be supplied to volunteers BUT you should bring your own snacks. NOTE: Some operators book their own accommodation at a motel or BandB, but the CSM cannot reimburse you. If you do elect to use private facilities, book ASAP!!!

Does this site have driving directions posted?

Yes. Go to the Downloads page.

What frequencies should we use?

We will be using commercial digital radios for all CSM traffic. There will be separate channels for "OPS" (that's us) and Safety which is supplied by a commercial contractor.

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 will be posted 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 should 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.

We MAY use the following:

  • VE2RBH, 145.41, neg offset, CTCSS 123.0
  • VE2CRA, 146.94, neg offset, CTCSS 100.0

For local simplex comms:

  • 147.57, no offset or tone
  • CP staff may use FRS radios

Is there a radio operator's guide available?

There WILL BE several radio-related files on the Downloads page including a manual for the commercial radios.

The digital radios will 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?

The current plan for checkpoints is that the radios and antennas will be transported in the CP team's 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 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 on many parts of the trail. Phone or text net control (number to be supplied) to report a radio problem. The supplier will have a mobile tech with repair equipment and spare gear.

Where will net control be located?

Net control MAY BE 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 9th, 2024.

Does net control have alternative communications?

Usually net control has a high-speed fibre connection and access to email. NC usually has phone access and will be monitoring local amateur 2m repeaters. Details to be confirmed immediately before the event.

Why have checkpoint numbers been dropped?

If you have worked on the CSM before you were probably at a numbered checkpoint. Because several of the same checkpoint locations are used on BOTH days, the decision was made to refer to CPs by name.

For extra excitement, you may hear traffic referring to "sections", as in "We need to get trail maintenance on section 7". Sections are used to designate the trail between two checkpoints. Section numbers appear on the trail maps.

What checkpoints do each CP team cover?

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.

Page last modified on January 30, 2024, at 11:20 AM