On Sunday, November 6, 2016, members of the NJIT Amateur Radio Club had the pleasure of volunteering for the NYC Marathon. Our club was among 225 amateur radio operators assigned along the course to provide logistical and emergency communications. For some members of the club, this was the first time providing communications for a public service event. Equipped with handheld radios, operators were positioned along the marathon’s route was located in Central Park. The task was simple: report any runners in need of medical assistance to the appropriate medical personnel. Fortunately, the number of issues reported that day were few.
Runners began at Mile 1, located in Staten Island and ended in Central Park for a total of 26.2 miles! The race itself was exhilarating as streams of runners flowed through the park. During a portion of the race it became almost impossible to cross the street as there was no space due to the influx of runners. At this point it was apparent that the job the club was doing as emergency communication volunteers was crucial. Despite the harsh cold, crowds of people appeared at the Mile 24 mark cheering on the runners that had made it and encouraging them to continue. Even when all the people had left and the only light available was that of the lamp posts in the park, there were still runners, determined not to give up and set their own record.
Alexander Parreiras, a member of the NJIT Amateur Radio Club recounts his experience at the NYC Marathon. “This was my first event where I attended as a volunteer also as a HAM operator. I got to experience how to correctly handle myself when speaking with others with the radio. I learned how to only speak when necessary and to also provide only necessary information in case it is needed. In this case we were required to provide support for dropouts and medical emergencies so communication had to be short for the mile captain, Peter Teklinski, to be able to process issues swiftly. I also had the opportunity to help set up the antenna that our mile captain used for communications throughout the race. It was a great experience to be part of the marathon being a small cog in the wheel of this huge event and I will definitely be attending next year and encourage others to try it too!”
The NJIT Amateur Radio Club has existed upon the foundation of promoting the further use and knowledge of Ham Radio and to provide a public service. To some Amateur Radio is a hobby, while to others it is a service. It may seem irrelevant in this digital age to involve oneself with such an ability. But if you are to learn anything whether it be a “survival skill” or not the amateur radio avocation is arguably one of the most exciting and beneficial.
The NJIT Amateur Radio Club participates and hosts many events throughout the year. You can find us at Faculty Memorial Hall 416 or email our mailing list at K2MFF@NJIT.edu for more information. Our site is also located at http://web.njit.edu/~k2mff/ See you on the bands.