Reston Century 2003
The Ride Across Loudoun
A Loudoun Amateur Radio Group and Loudoun ARES Amateur Radio Communications Operation
Supporting The American Red Cross In Loudoun County, Northern Virginia
Photographed and Reported By Norm Styer - AI2C Of Clarkes Gap

       The Reston Bicycle Club's 21th Annual Reston Century Ride brought around one-thousand riders
across Loudoun County on a sunny and cooler than normal Sunday in late August, 2003.

The Hamilton Rest Stop and Net Control Perspective:

      We would need to be operational by 6 AM from Hamilton, so, both alarms went off at O-Dark-Thirty just before 4 AM on Canby Road and I got myself awake, made coffee, ate my Wheaties, loaded the batteries that were on charge all night and headed out to Purcellville to pick up my good friend Ray Houff - K4AJA. Ray and I had rode together on other great operations by the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group and we were looking forward to this one and to meeting all the super gals and guys of the best radio club in the whole wide world.

      We were on site by 5:20 AM and with the aid of a flashlight, we unloaded the gear, assembled the 5-element 2-Meter - 440 MHz yagi antenna, put the 4-section 16-foot mast up on the side of the shelter and checked signals with Charlie Preston - K4LJH and Gary Quinn - NC4S from their home QTHs; we were operational by 5:57 AM. Denny Boehler - KF4TJI reported in next from atop the parking garage next to the Reston Town Center; he was assembling his 3-element yagi for the 2-Meter side of the Reston Town Center cross band repeater. It was now 6:10 AM and the sun was up and we started work on the 40-Meter dipole antenna. Tom Garasic - NA4MA of Haymarket arrived around 6:30 AM and we used his truck to anchor one side of the dipole - probable a bad idea if Tom had to take off in his mobile. Charlie Preston - K4LJH was our first contact on 7285 KHz and reported fine audio from just across Main Street in Hamilton. We took a coffee break and waited for others to show up and report into the nets.

       The 2-Meter radio was AI2C's mobile, Kenwood TM-7V 2-440 Dual Bander with 50/35 watts output. The HF radio was K4AJA's Yaesu FT-840 running about 75-watts output through Ray's MFJ antenna tuner. Conditions on HF were not great but with activity low, we could keep in contact with all stations: WF1L at Reston, WA9LAZ at Ashburn, KC1YC at Waterford and N4PD/Mobile. Sometimes we moved around a little to fine a clear spot but no one really interfered. We close the HF Net early around 1:30 PM.


       By 8 AM, K4LRG was is great shape. Tom Garasic - NA4MA had good control on the 2-Meter Net
and Ray Houff - K4AJA was working on getting everyone up on 40-Meters HF.


       The Loudoun County Chapter of the American Red Cross was well organized
and by 8 AM were on site and stocking their supplies.


       The first riders to Hamilton arrived around 8:20 AM. They reported leaving Reston at 6:30 AM.


       David Mullins - K4ARP arrived around 9 AM and took over for a while before going out on his SAG support
operation. David also responded to a call for assistance at Ashburn late in the day. A super job.


       By mid-morning, these guys had many takers.


       By 11 AM, the Hamilton Rest Stop was packed with folks taking a break.


       This was a common scene. Red Cross and Reston Bike officials listening to net traffic as they tried to deal with emergencies like the rider down on Riverside Parkway (Leesburg Today Article) and being airlifted to Washington Hospital Center, like the rider accident in Hamilton on loose gravel and requiring Rescue Squad support and Medivac to Loudoun Hospital, like someone out there repositioning route signs and riders going off the wrong way, and like, where's the last rider and can we close this or that support station. This continued all day, and moved east to other support stations throughout the day until Reston closed around 5:30 PM. It's always hard to tell when to close a support station and SAG riders and Reston Control did a good job of checking to ensure no one was left hanging. Hamilton turned control over to Ashburn and Reston around 3 PM.


       Hamilton Rescue Squad was called to evac a rider who had crashed on loose gravel in downtown Hamilton.


       Hamilton was a nice place to operate from and except for the two emergencies this event was pretty calm. The increased Route Riders and SAG Vehicles support was very important. We could hear Reston and Ashburn handling important assistance with those to our east. Our log shows almost 30 amateur radio operators; the roster is posted on the main page of this event. Thanks for all you great gals and guys out there; especially, many thanks to those who came in from Clarke, Fairfax and other surrounding counties to give us a hand. You sure added value to our support operation. Yours truly closed on Canby Road by 5 PM and tried a few radio checks through the new KQ4CI's 440 MHz K4LRG/R Repeater with handheld operators on the floor of the Reston Town Center. This seemed to work fine at the 5-watt level and we should look at doing more of this next year. Hope to see you all and many more next year. Best Regards, Norm Styer - AI2C.