The Megacycles combine the hobbies of amateur radio and bicycling. This group is not a club as there are no officers, dues or by-laws. Our annual (and only) meeting lasts for a week in July on the roads of Iowa during RAGBRAI.
RAGBRAI, Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is held every year during the last full week of July. The ride starts at the Missouri river, and ends at the Mississippi. The Des Moines Register organizes this unique ride, which takes a different route each year through the state of Iowa. RAGBRAI is one of the largest and longest-running bicycle tours in the world.
The mission of the Megacycles effort is to provide additional communications while on the ride. These communications often take the form of emergency traffic that summon emergency services to trouble areas.
The proven abilities of hams to relay messages under adverse communication conditions makes them well suited to this environment. The number of amateurs riding with radio equipment greatly increases the probability of help being near to an accident scene.
We encourage any amateur riding RAGBRAI to bring along their 2 meter hand-held radio. The traditional frequency of operation is the standard simplex channel, 146.520 MHz. There is no requirement to operate your radio full time, just having a functional radio with fresh batteries in your pack will allow you to make a call that could really make a difference to someone in need.
We have always used 146.52 MHz, and this frequency works well, as there are often other hams on the channel that can offer relays. If you know you will be riding in the coming year, please check back here or email us to check on the latest frequency plans. We may have alternate channels available that may be of use to you.
If you enjoy hamming while cycling, you are most welcome to jump in on 146.52 to chat, the channel is generally open, and it's a great deal of fun to hear what's happening up the road, where the good food stands are, etc. Emergency traffic will always take precedence, of course.
The Megacycle caravan normally consists of 15 to 25 riders, 2 or 3 drivers and 2 support vehicles. One of the support vehicles is used to transport luggage from campsite to campsite and reserve the campsites when we get to an overnight town. This vehicle will normally be pulling a trailer for all the baggage. The other vehicle will normally go to a mid-point on the route and set up a rest stop/ radio relay point for the Megacycles riders. The mid-point vehicle for the last 5 years has been the "Deathvan". :-)
The "deathvan" is uniquely equipped for the mission of RAGBRAI radio support vehicle. The requisite bicycle racks are augmented by a 30 foot crank-up mast system, a bank of auxiliary "deep-cycle" batteries, a compliment of radios, repeaters, and remote-base systems, electronics repair kits, and 12V-powered HT battery chargers.
If you are a licensed radio amateur and are interested in joining our group either as a rider or a support vehicle driver, please contact us at "firstname.lastname@example.org".
We are in no way claiming to be an official part of the RAGBRAI organization. We use the term RAGBRAI in a context which we consider to be fair use. Those interested in legal matters should know that RAGBRAI is a registered trademark of the Des Moines Register.
Last modified: Tue Sep 9 03:13:37 1997