On October, I helped out my local ham club doing background logistics for the floats in the Pumpkin Fest Parade. Our job was to get the floats out in the order they should be, monitor the progress of the floats through the parade, and radio if something went south. Pretty interesting work, if a bit boring. If you get the chance you should definitely help out your local club with a parade.
Here is my “kombat rig” that I wore while helping out.
The list of things I’d do differently is pretty short. I’d dress a bit warmer. I’ll also wear my electronic muffs. I wasn’t thrilled about cutting off my hearing entirely – if something happens I want to hear. But if the noise gets to loud it will cut off. And I should have packed some snackage to munch on once the parade got started.
Previously I had used a back pack. It worked, but it was really over kill for the situations I have worked. My car is always within walking distance, so now I prefer this super simple, light weight rig. I will be adding this radio carrier to the mix.
Parts from left to right:
- Dump pouch
- Organizing pouch, good for holding maps and a spare battery for your radio.
- Baofeng Radio setup:
- Signal Stuff Antenna. My antenna and radio are setup for BNC.
- Baofeng BF-F8HP radio
- Extended battery. The 8 watts really drains the stock battery. Keep it for a spare.
- A Handset. I’ve goofed around with the throat mics, and honestly these are the best no muss solution. Quality control it yourself and make sure everything works before you hit the field, or you’ll do my screw all over again.
- Acoustic Tube. You definitely should be using an acoustic tube so you can actually hear the communications over the din of the crowd.
- A few nondescript carabiners for attaching things to. I had my drinking bottle clasped to my belt as well as my volunteer flag.
- An earplug for the other ear. The noise of the crowd started to mess with me and put me into sensory overload. Not fun, and not acceptable when working an event. Additionally, when a 100 year old steam engine whistle goes off 5 feet in front of you, you’ll appreciate the lowly ear plug..