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Discussion Starter #1
This is from the NASA RallySport general regulations:

"2.16.5 Non-Rally Traffic on a Special Stage
Confirmed non-rally traffic driving on a special stage is grounds for automatic action by the event
officials. For the public safety, and the safety of all competitors, non-rally traffic driving on a
special stage should be stopped and delayed until competition on the special stage can be
stopped and the non-rally traffic controlled. Take the following steps:
a. A competitor coming upon the non-rally traffic should attempt to stop them and
relocate them into a safe place. If the competitor is unable to stop the vehicle, he or
she should continue to the next radio point in order to communicate that non-rally
traffic is on the stage. If the competitor is able to stop the non-rally traffic, he or she
should:
b. Display the Red Cross Sign to the next competitor;
c. Have that next competitor report the traffic immediately to the next control or radio
location; and
d. Wait until an event official arrives to escort the non-rally traffic from the special stage.
Event officials will insure that any competitor taking these steps for the public safety will not be
negatively affected by their actions."

I have not located something similar for RA ...yet.
 

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so with all the stories/claims of on stage non rally traffic, were the above mentioned procedures followed? did any competitor take the responsibility as stated in the rules? lots of flack being giving to Ivan for the incedents, but none to other competitors. it seems there was great fortune smiling on this event that a catastrophe did not happen.
 

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Looks like the 'red mist ' to me Joshua.

Can't see me in your mirrors?
I must be in front of you!
 

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Are there any penalties associated with this (to the competitor) if he/she didn't follow rules? If so, how do you prove that the competitor actually did come across non-rally traffic?

Oscar
 

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This is an extremely rare issue. In the past 7 years, I've completed over 4000 stage miles in 7 diferent states without ever being at an event in which I heard of anyone encountering non-rally traffic on stage. I was at one event in this century in which a lost rally car was found on the incorrect stage going in the correct direction, but the fact is that most events do a very good job of controlling non-rally trafic in this modern era of rallying.
Dave

www.hintzbrosrally.com
 

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>so with all the stories/claims of on stage non rally traffic,
>were the above mentioned procedures followed? did any
>competitor take the responsibility as stated in the rules?

At the 2003 Pacific Forest Rally in British Columbia, Ross Foster and I were running an Open Class '02 WRX. On the Lily Lake stage, a km or so in, we were at the apex of a fast right going uphill into a fast left with crest. As we were coming into the right, we saw non-rally traffic, a SUV of some kind, coming over the crest at us. We swerved to the right and avoided an accident. If we had been a hundred feet further down the road, I would not be here writing this.

It was such an "oh, sh*t" moment that we were in shock for a bit. Then we briefly discussed turning around and trying to catch the SUV, but quickly decided that adding another wrong way vehicle to the stage was not a good idea. We decided to proceed to the next radio point at a slower pace (didn't know if there was any more wrong way, non-rally traffic on stage). However, that radio point was around 3km away, so it took a little time to get there. Along the way, we got passed by a rally car still competing. When we reached the radio point, we stopped and told him about the wrong way, non-rally traffic and he radioed back to the start. The stage was stopped.

The SUV that we encountered never made it to the stage start. Don't know what happened to him. The stage was cancelled as well as the second run through the stage. Cars in front of us and behind us encountered the SUV (but no one has such a close call as we did); I didn't ask them why they didn't stop.

I did not really know what procedure to apply when it happened. I vaguely remembered the "proceed at a reduced pace to the next radio" thing from the 8-hour SCCA rally licensing school that I took (the last one offered in the NW?) and decided to do that.

alan
 

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This discussion is yet another compelling reason to REQUIRE ham radios in competing vehicles (and to require events to at least monitor a ham frequency ... some quebec events use comercial radios for their official net

The issue of a competing car finding its way to another stage also suggests that at least momentarily they must have been rallying on roads that were not closed.

Stage security is a serious concern, and where banner tape could be 'taken out' you need a marshal present to re-set it.

If we came across non rally traffic, either with or against the flow, I'd immediately radio the net control and have the stage shut down. If one car is going with the flow, there is nothing stopping another car entering the same way and going against the flow.

PFR did the right thing by scrubbing the stage for further use as they couldn't find the wayward vehicle. To assume that all is ok would be extremely negligant.

I can't stress enough the value of having a ham radio in the car, and how easy the testing is today to get your license.

How do people feel about requiring first aid training or tyour second event and requiring ham licensing for your second year of competition?

(that way when you accidently force a local off the road you can call for help and stabalize them till the medical crew gets there)
 

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>This discussion is yet another compelling reason to REQUIRE
>ham radios in competing vehicles (and to require events to at
>least monitor a ham frequency ... some quebec events use
>comercial radios for their official net

This isn't a bad idea, but it'll have to be a mobile 50w unit with at least a 1/4 wavelength whip.

I had an HT with me at the 2003 event where we encountered a rally car on the wrong stage (in the right direction). It did not reach any ham operator within the stage.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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Rare? I think not...No one here has mentioned the NON rally traffic at Sno Drift this year. I was at the big Specie Site on an R3 on Saturday (don't remeber the stage maybe 12). I watched a black truck come face to face with rally traffic. The competetor hit the bracks, and passed by the truck, the truck proceeded into the specie site, drove past all the corner Marshalls who didn't attempt to stop (at least not that I could see - I was about 75 yards befor the corner) the vehicle as it passed on through the intercetion...At this same stage I saw marshals LET a car cross the road on a HOT stage (0 car had already passed) - that one I could almost agree with due to the fact that it was private property and the vehicle was only crossing the road. But, at this same stage I also saw a group of snowmobles come cruizing down the shoulder of the road/bank. Again pass by all the marshalls/corner workers and kept right on going down the course. I was yelling at the marshal to stop them and was ignored. We drove out the stage road after it ended...There were sled tracks going over a mile down the road. This was just 1 stage at 1 rally - thank goodness the roads were slick and the cars were slow. After seeing that I agree there is NO such thing as a closed road.
J
 

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Keith Morison
>How do people feel about requiring first aid training for your
>second event and requiring ham licensing for your second year
>of competition?

The "and" makes the question unnecessarily complicated, let's consider just "requiring a ham radio".

1) Data collection: what events / percentage of events don't use ham-accessable communication nets?

2) Data collection: What is the rough associated equipment cost?

3) Data collection: What is required on the WRC cars? And what parts of the field of the WRC event is it required for? And is the requirement in the sporting regs, or is it a media contract with the factories?


A) Opinion: I don't think requiring a license of the competitor would be necessary. Requiring one of the _car_ would be sufficient. (That is, if the nav had one, the driver wouldn't need to.)

B) Opinion: One way to implement this would be to require it above a certain speedfactor/seed. That would accomplish having coverage at the front of the field while similtaneously not making the sport even more difficult to enter as a novice team.

It's an interesting idea, certainly.

Cheers,
Anders
 

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to the best of my knowledge, half of the Canadian natinoal Championship (quebec events) does not use HAM for their nets. This does NOT preclude them from listening to an 'emergency' frequency.

As for cost - $300usd would likely be more than sufficiant to get you your 50watt mobile and 1/4 wave antenna
(I agree with christian that hand helds are not what is needed)

It should be noted that in situations where lives are in danger, a license is not needed to use HAM frequencies. That said, the test to get licensed is not exactly rocket sugury.

Can we get away with mandating ham radios of a minumum spec in cars and strongly reccomending that competitors be licensed? I know as a licensed operator I am restricted from installing a 'station' for an unlicensed user.

As for requiring by seed or speed factor, the further back in the pack you are, the more likely you are to come across a red cross or other 'normal' stage blockage... most of the time the first cars shouldn't need them. (in fact many of the car incursions have been with midfield cars)
 

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>It should be noted that in situations where lives are in
>danger, a license is not needed to use HAM frequencies.

That's an interesting point. Certainly, a great first step toward such would be for the sanctioning organizations to add to their respective car prep rules something like, "The installation of a 50watt mobile HAM radio equipped with a 1/4 wave antenna is highly recommended and such installation will become mandatory on xx/xx/xx." A team wouldn't even need to leave their radio turned on all the time (for emergency use only, after all) - it just needs to be handy enough to turn on and call out the emergency when needed.

What are the chances we could arrange a group buy or maybe find some manufacturer with less than cutting edge rigs in stock they'd like to clear out? How much flexibility so far as frequencies and other 'features' would be required? Just brainstorming here ...

Halley ...
http://motors.search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZrealautosport
Then, BBBBB (Bring Back Big Bend Bash)
http://www.realautosport.com
 

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>2) Data collection: What is the rough associated equipment
>cost?

Someone quoted $300 for a setup, and that'd be the upper end from my casual observation.

This is one of those "so obvious" ideas in hindsight. The equipment would cost about the same amount as a set of tires. The FCC licensing might be able to be done at the same time as a novice school. If memory serves, my license exam was 50 questions or so and took under 20 minutes to complete.

We already have a large number of radio operators at most events, I suspect some of them are qualified to proctor exams.

Now, as for having the radio on or off during competition ... if the frequency can be kept clear, then on seems logical - and it's only used in a red cross-like emergency. But given that equipment like this will occasionally have problems and broadcast noise, unintentionally and without the operator knowing, using it to notify start and then displaying triangles/red crosses probably makes more sense.

Even if an event uses commercial radios, most stages - but not all - can be handled via simplex, so having an area repeater might not be needed.

-mark
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Radios...

> How much flexibility so far as
>frequencies and other 'features' would be required? Just
>brainstorming here ...

A single channel 2m mobile with 50W should do everything needed. If a stage is set up on simplex, then just tuning to the frequency gets you in touch. If a stage (or event) is using a repeater you will need to know and be able to set up the repeater parameters (Tx/Rx frequencies, CTCSS or DCS if used). I doubt you would want to figure this out when you need to use it, so a radio that will let you program in all the simplex and repeaters planned for an event should be considered. As technology would have it you almost cant find a 2M unit today that wont accept 100 or more pre-programmed frequencies and the above capabilities. Even hand-helds (about 5W max) will do that but my experience is making contact at an event with a handheld is sketchy at best and most times impossible. RNY '06 had a portable repeater that was moved between Narrowsburg and the middle of the Benton Hollow/Midway stage depending on what was being run and an HT (Handheld Tranceiver) would have worked about anywhere there but at MFR, even a good mobile can have problems on some of the stages.

I bought a Yaesu FT-1500M for my rally car and I have seen them in others. It is just about the perfect unit with the things needed and nothing unecessary from a racers standpoint. Unfortunately this solid little unit has been discontinued. The replacement is - from what I can tell - the FT-2800M. That is a nice radio at a good price but it is much larger. It looks like Kenwood makes a couple pretty small units and they have a good rep. Alinco make one or two but I am not sure their reliability is that great.

While I am thinking about it...I would suggest a protocol if one does have a radio in the car whereby racers agree to not have their units powered on unless needed. This is to prevent inadvertent transmissions and the resultant interruption of the rally's safety net traffic. At almost every event I have worked, at some point someone accidently had their radio in Tx for some period of time and didnt realize it. If this happened in a rally car while on stage I am sure it would not be noticed. Since you would probably want to tie the unit into your intercom so you didnt need to take your helmets off and shut off the engine to hear or speak, having the radio on while competing would be distracting anyway.

It also occurred to me that leaving the radio on and being able to hear a priority message that YOUR stage was being stopped might be a good thing, but I think this would require establishing a separate frequency for competitor emergency messages since the normal net communincations isnt something you want to have to listen to along with driver-codriver communications. Also, the protocol would probably be to switch to the net to report a safety issue and let the radio net issue the priority message on the competitor frequency to make sure the radio control net was aware and took control as well as to prevent confusion (or abuse) as to whether your stage was being stopped.

I am just thinking off the top of my head here, so this stuff would have to be hashed out, and might not even be the same event to event.
 

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does'nt targa newfoundland have a in car signal system to alert other vehicles of an off? sort of an electronic redcross. perhaps cheaper then hams for all, these could be nasa/rally america owned and borrowed for the event?
 

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>
>What are the chances we could arrange a group buy or maybe
>find some manufacturer with less than cutting edge rigs in
>stock they'd like to clear out? How much flexibility so far as
>frequencies and other 'features' would be required? Just
>brainstorming here ...
>
>Halley ...
>http://motors.search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZrealautosport
>Then, BBBBB (Bring Back Big Bend Bash)
>http://www.realautosport.com

I am gald that this solution is being discussed; in thinking about this situation last night, it became clear that a faster way to handle the non-rally traffic on stage situaion much better is by radio and could quite a lot and help other issues too.

I feel that the GMRS radio service may be more sutiable here in the US for this rally car emergency communications type of operation. I can be operated with 50W mobiles (as well as 5W or less portables) and external antennas so maximum operating range can be realized, repeaters can be used to some degree, and the license is well suited for this situation. The license is oriented to individuals, and is a simple license for fee good for 5 years; the current license fee is $80. The downsides are that the frequencies are UHF (around 460 MHz) as opposed to around 150 MHz VHF for 2m ham and commercial VHF; these frequencies do not cary quiote as well as VHF (though much better than cellular 800 MHZ) and higher gain antennas can be realized in the same space to help offset this.

While we are on the subject, I have been doing radio system designs for MFR and STPR, to see what it would take for wide are commercial UHF or VHF systems linked by multiple repeaters. This may be the way forward for a lot of things that we are not realizing with ham service:
1) radio serivce for our biz oriented teams that cannot legally use ham service
2) a more universally open radio system that the organizers can use, yet can be operated with some degree of limited access for controlling communications
3) provides some further potential for low speed data linking (like scores transmission), and for other services that may not be readily realized with a ham system

Where I am finding a stumbling block to move forward on more unversal radio systems is in the cost of implementation. Having the competitors buy radios (whether they be ham, GMRS, or commerical 2-way) is one help, but helping the orgainziers have enough radios is a potential cost hurdle. The present use of the ham community support solves this to a great degree, as the hams bring not only radios, but often a repeater too.

Hams also are experienced operators in general, and have realitic expectations on what the system can do, know how to set it up, and how to run a net. When/if we start to implement non-ham systems, then we have new training situation to handle, and have to find a way to dedicate resources to actual be responsible for system set-up and operation.

Well, good info and ideas so far. Thanks!
Mark B.
 

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>
>Even if an event uses commercial radios, most stages - but not
>all - can be handled via simplex, so having an area repeater
>might not be needed.
>
>-mark
>
>
>Even if an event uses commercial radios, most stages - but not
>all - can be handled via simplex, so having an area repeater
>might not be needed.
>
>-mark
>
Hi Mark,

I was writing a post at the same time so did not see yours 'til now. Sandblast is one of the few areas where a no-repeater setup has a chance; get to MFR or STPR or LSPR or 100 AW, where things are both hilly/moutainous and spred out, then repeaters are a must for any distince of communcations. At STPR, you would be lucky to get out of some stages to start or finish in some places. Ref my post: I've been doing system designs for MFR and STPR, and am working on Rally WV, and have seen that 3-4 repeaters minimum are needed to implement a reliable system; and this is with one repeater being central and the others moving as the event moves.

With simplex and no repeaters, we are going to need 50W mobiles at start and finish with reasonably decent outside antennas to get from the rally car to start or finish, or maybe even just to an intermediate radio location in a stage. Event then, that rally car may need to move a ways and stop on a high spot to communicate a message that there is a non-rally car on-stage.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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At the rallies that I frequent as a worker (MFR-RNY-STPR) I use a 6db gain antenna on the roof of my Audi (it's BIG). That means, when compared to a 1/4 wavelength antenna , my 50 watt radio puts out the equivalent of 200 watts. Even with that handsome setup it is still not able to give complete simplex coverage on most stages.
Now add to the equation that the hams can really only be counted on to successfully monitor one frequency at a time and you'll see that the competitors will need to be linked to the repeater.
There is really NO excuse for any serious competitor or worker not to have his/her technician class amateur radio license. For the amount of money and effort even a "low level" competitor is committing this is a minor investment in both dollars (about $200 for a mobile) and time; heck you can download the question pool for the exam.
Go to www.arrl.com for details.
Oh yeah, you don't need to be a citizen either.
Jim Blumenfeld
W1JIM

PS - Mike commented:
>>What are the chances we could arrange a group buy or maybe find some manufacturer with less than cutting edge rigs in stock they'd like to clear out? How much flexibility so far as frequencies and other 'features' would be required? Just brainstorming here ...<<

The chances of that are just about nil. Ham radios are so discounted and hams as a group tend to be, umh, thrifty so I wouldn't count on deals. Besides, they are really cheap! Maybe everyone would tend towards a standard radio brand so at least the mikes would be interchangable and antennas could use a standard base (NMO?) so parts would be easy to share.
Take a look at Ham Radio Outlet / www.hamradio.com for some prices, look at Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom 2 meter mobiles.
JB
 

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>Rare? I think not...No one here has mentioned the NON rally
>traffic at Sno Drift this year. I was at the big Specie Site
>on an R3 on Saturday (don't remeber the stage maybe 12). I
>watched a black truck come face to face with rally traffic.


I was the marshall checkpoint that this truck got through to get on the stage initially. I am not ashamed to admit it as I did everything I could to stop him. My vehicle had the road blocked off as well as it could. He went around my Jeep over a snowbank, almost hitting my Jeep as well as myself who was standing in front of the truck attempting to stop him. He had no intention of stopping for anything. Before the stage was run again for its second going, I made sure that a radio was with me.

I have no idea what else I could have done to stop the guy...
 

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I enjoy the remarks about whether fellow competitors have seen or reacted to non-rally vehicle encounters on a hot stage...as if they are going to be penalized for not stopping, etc.

As a competitor (or even a rally official), you are not a cop. The last thing you would want is a confrontation, especially if the civilians have their pick-up "loaded for bear".

Get the heck out of there and report it to the nearest rally radio equipped official ASAP.
 
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