The ELEVENTH hour of the ELEVENTH day of the ELEVENTH month is a day of great significance in the United States of America (and I am sure also in many other countries but I can only speak for my own). It was at 11 AM on 11/11/1918 that World War I came to an end and thus it was celebrated in the USA as Armistice Day for many years; a day of remembrance of all who participated in that war. It is now known as Veteran’s Day. On this day there will be parades which provide opportunity for ham radio operators to provide a service to their community.
If you have never been involved in a parade then you probably have no idea how difficult it is to coordinate several different groups trying to make it all come off as a single event.
It might be like this a scout troop will be carrying the colors to lead the parade and they are to form together on J street with the horses just behind them. The colors guard is to start the parade at the conclusion of the opening ceremonies (singing of national anthem, prayer, opening greetings from dignitary, and what ever else might be planned). The troop is 4 blocks away from where that event is happening so how will they know exactly when to step out and start the parade? It can be done without ham radio and has been done thousands of times but it is made easy with ham radio. A ham radio operator at the judge’s stand will tell another operator with the scout troupe to start lead out; meanwhile all other participating groups will know the parade has started, because the ham operator nearest their location will let them know, riders can get into position, band members can pick up their instruments and so on. If there is an emergency or breakdowns, and frequently at parades there are, assistance can be summoned immediately. There is always that participant who can not find his or her group; when they see someone with a radio they know there is help and sure enough there is. The call goes out asking where such and such a group is and the answer will soon come back and allow Bo Peep to find her sheep or what ever.
The above illustrates a few of the many benefits ham radio can provide for a parade. Have you ever watched the Rose Bowl Parade? As far as I know it is still true but I do know for many years it has been coordinated by ham radio.
Parades are one of the many types of community events where ham radio can help it run smother. Usually the ones who are doing the work trying to organize the events won’t think of ham radio if they have never been involved in an event where the assistance of ham operators was used. That is why it is important for the ham radio operators find these people long before the event is to take place and offer help. Sometimes it may take some persuading to show how ham radio can help but they will thank you later.
To raise money and awareness of Multiple sclerosis (MS) the National Multiple Sclerosis Society puts on walks around the country. Yuba City has a walk each spring and for the safety of those who are participating ham radio operators using mobiles and handheld radios are stationed across the route.
For over 25 years ham radio operators have assisted in Bike Around the Buttes. Because the MS walk and the Bike Around The Buttes has taken place on the same day the past two years some of the operators do the MS walk in the morning, it ends about 11 AM, then they go over and assist with the Bike Around The Buttes about 10 miles away.
There are also many side benefits to this type of activity. It is fun, it will strengthen a club, it shows the community the value of ham radio, it helps bring new hams in from those observing, and it helps prepare the amateur participants to work together with other hams and non hams in the type of communications similar to that used during emergency operations.