by Bill Carroll, KC9CIK
This was not the weekend I was expecting.
There are probably a few of you out there that had this, or a similar thought like it this weekend. My plans for the weekend officially changed a little bit after noon on Thursday the 6th . This was when the National Multiple Sclerosis Society officially announced that the Bike MS 2018 was cancelled in its entirety.
For me, this meant a lot. I am committed to MS mode from Friday morning through Sunday night on Bike MS weekend. This also meant a lot to several of you fellow amateur radio operators. The radio programming that you did, the assignments that you looked at, the maps you familiarized yourself with, and the general gearing up you did to be ready for Bike MS 2018 were just wasted.
…but was It really wasted? You may have spent days or weeks getting yourself and your gear ready for a community service event than was cancelled due to the flooding. I found myself making additions and subtractions to my list of equipment that I wanted to deploy with. I also updated my checklist of things to deal with for a service event. I spent time trying to consolidate my gear into an easier way to travel. No, I do not have a go box yet. ☹ I reviewed where my instruction manuals were for the equipment. I made sure that I had programmed the correct frequencies into the radio. I did tons of little things to prepare for this event.
In our hobby, this is what preparedness is all about. We should be prepared by routinely getting our gear out and doing a shake down with it. My “routine” is that I participate in Field Day and public service events. I have yet to deploy to a true emergency response, like the floods of 1997 or 2017; I did not respond to the Joplin tornado of 2011; but I could respond. I have put in the practice and the preparedness to be a step closer to being able to respond to an emergency or disaster communication event. I hope that I never have to respond to anything other than a community service event, but I am prepared.
Finally, I want to thank all of you that had set aside your weekend to help with Bike MS. This event does take almost a full year to plan, and I know that several of you have invested a lot of time and resources to the planning for the bike ride. We now have another year until Bike MS 2019, and I hope you will continue to improve the ride and your own preparedness. Thank you for your commitment.