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The communication system that is used by the SSCC during the events are as follows:

We use 14 HAM operators
90 Courseworkers with radio's
At least 2 Airplanes, with special antenna's and HAM operators on board
5 Satellite phones
3 repeaters on three separate high elevations
We also receive communications by all three county sheriff's departments.

Our organization is always looking to improve communications. Any constructive suggestions, should be directed to anyone listed under "Contact Information" on the Homepage of our website. Either by phone or via email.
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Jeff,
At least part of the problem was me. After getting out of the car, I was pretty sure that I was not seriously hurt although my neck was painful. When the airplane flew over, the video photoghapher (he was the only one at the scene with me) gave the plane a thumbs up to indicate that I was not seriously hurt. I didn't want to stop the last few cars or have the event red flagged. However after the last of the event cars passed my position, I expected (maybe unrealistically) that due to the severity of the accident that an ambulance would be headed my way from the start line. I would guess that the closest courseworker was about a 1/4 mile away, about where my tire failed. I had no idea what the course worker observed or what action he or she may have taken. When no ambulance was in sight for some time , the video photog tried to get the request thru using his com net (different from the event net). After some time he was able to contact the video helicopter and they could talk to the start line. In this way the ambulance got the word that help was needed and they then responded. So if I had taken the actions to let the aircraft know that I needed immediate medical help, it would have likely been there much sooner. I just wanted to point out that I was part of the problem.
Charlie, I have to disagree that you were part of the problem. Very simply, when a car crashes the occupant doesn't get to vote!! As soon as the incident occurs, it should been seen by a course worker (100% visual coverage is a requirement), it should be reported (worker to race control communication is a requirement), emergency personel dispatched automatically and immediately (another equirement), and the occupant get medical evaluation no matter what that person says or signals (yet another requirement). There is no place in all this for a foreign film crew member to signal an OK and thereby turn away medical help!!! Glad you're OK! Carl
Charlie, Carl is 100% correct! Your vote should not have counted however it looks like it did. We have seen other cases where the "crashee" is mistaken as to the true extent of injuries. You had every right to expect medical personnel to be there promptly. I would like to know why they were not.
With the distance from the road and condition of what was left of your car this should have en done automatically. There should have been no questions.

Forrest Thompson, Member #90
Interesting situation and maybe a call for a rule change... The rules say that if you need medical attention you lie by your car, otherwise move behind the fence and stand there. The aircraft didn't see anyone lying by the car and also got a thumbs up from a non-combatant on the scene. But everyone makes a good point that the "crashee" (sorry, Charlie) should not have a vote. Maybe the safety rule should be to red flag the event, put out the orange cone and roll the nearest up-course ambulance immediately in the event of a crash. I'd guess the Board might be willing to listen to such a change.

Tom King
Carl, Forrest, Tom and I'm sure others,
I do agree with you about the "crashee" not having a vote. I agree 100% that any time a vehicle has a significant incident (mine certainly was that) the driver/nav should expect an ambulance trip to the hospital. And I must say that I did expect that to happen. That it did not happen, until we pursued the issue, points out that the fact (as I know it) that the controlling officals of the event did not get the word of a crash until contacted by the video chopper. This tells me that the in place com, whatever it may have been, was not adequate.
MY WIFE PROBABLY SAVED MY LIFE BY NOT LISTENING TO ME WHEN I WAS A MEDICAL "CRASHEE" A FEW YEARS BACK. SO I AGREE IN PRINCIPLE WITH CARL.

BUT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, I THINK CHARLIE DID THE BEST HE COULD. AND HE WASN'T WRONG OR BAD. HOW CAN YOU CALL HIM ANYTHING BUT BEING TOO GOOD AND UNSELFISH !!! FOR BEING MORE CONCERNED ABOUT NOT STOPPING THE RACE THAN HE WAS FOR HIS OWN WELFARE?

OUR ORR SAFETY IS LESS THAN PERFECT. BUT SO HAS BEEN NASCAR, IRL, CART AND F1 AT TIMES.

IN RETROSPECT, AS SOON AS THE RALLY WAS OVER, SOME OFFICIAL REP NEEDED TO GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE SCENE OF CHARLIE'S CRASH AND ASSESS THE SITUATION.

HOPEFULLY WE HAVE LEARNED THIS WITHOUT ANY LASTING DAMAGE TO CHARLIE.

(CHARLIE- I DIDN'T STAY FOR THE RACE AND JUST HEARD OF YOUR ACCIDENT TODAY - SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT IT- TERRIBLY GLAD YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HURT FOR IT. HOPE YOU MAY BE ABLE TO REVIVE THE CORVAIR- I WILL COME TO NM TO HELP YOU REBUILD IT IF YOU NEED IT.
OR PASS THE HAT IF THAT WOULD HELP.

PAUL
Keith- I shouldn't think the severity would be an issue. I would hope that any and every accident on the course would be visited personally and as soon as safely possible by some member of officialdom. Doesn't NDOT require something like that? Do we not have to report all accidents on public roads even if they are closed for our rallys? (when on the previous day I accidentally backed into Richard Jervis's car near the start line on the Shootout, I had 3 troopers and NDOT workers on my head in seconds, ready to write it up!!! )It's not possible is it, that the courseworkers thought Charlie had just broken and parked his car way off course? Charlie said his tire let go just by their observation point. Didn't they see it happen?

ex-Noble Paul
Keith,

Of course it would depend on how the severity was relayed. That is if it was relayed at all. The point here is first does the communications system work at all. Once the comm system is working then some critical training of course workers on reporting incidents is going to be necessary. I am reminded of the old game of starting a statement around a circle of people and seeing how that message has changed by the time it makes it around the circle. That same situation exists with the current relay system used at SSCC. by the time the message gets 5 or 6 gates (if indeed it even gets that far) away it is not the same as when it started. THE COURSE WORKERS NEED SOME DIRECTION!
Keith,

I did not mean to imply that no message was sent. I don't know if a message was sent or not. What I do know is Charlies crash ocurred around Gate 30. I was at gate 36 and no message about it reached my gate. The first knowledge I had that he was out of the race was when he didn't pass me. For all I knew he DNS. The first knowledge of a crash was when I had been released from my gate and I was on the way back to Ely and saw the scene. I wasn't more than a couple of miles from the crash, wouldn't you think I'd have heard something on my radio?
To All Concerned,

I have stayed out of this feeling that enough had been said. But I now feel I must put my two cents worth in regarding the communications issues. My ignition box failed 20 miles into the event, running in the unlimited category. Tom Petesen, my good friend and crew chief, was regularly asking the starting line communications person where I was on the course. He had a scanner with him, but just could not get anything from it.

The communications person at the starting line told him, at various times, that i had passed the third check point, passed the fourth check point and was expected at the fifth check point shortly.. All this while I was sitting on the side of the road just past the second check point. Apparently, for about a half hour or so, nobody knew where I was, even though I could see a course worker vehicle about a mile away to the north.

The communications system REALLY needs looking into. It IS NOT WORKING!!!
Keith,

You are missing the point! I agree that the race director should be notified. What I'm saying is that there was no noise on the radio at all. I didn't expect to be notified, but the radios are not private like telephones, everybody within range should have been able to here something. I was less than 2 miles from the crash. Shouldn't the relay start in botgh directions to help insure it gets to a ham station for relay to the race director? THR FRS RADIOS ARE NOT WORKING TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY COMMUNICATIONS!!!!

Bill
Untill SSCC gets ride of the Cheep Cheep FRS Radios, the relay from gate to gate WILL NOT WORK. At best FRS radio,s are only good For only a half mile, and this is if there are NO HILLS in the way. They only put out .5mw.. The ham radios put out 5 wats up to 5o wats depending if its a hand held (5 wats) or a moble unit ( 5wats up to 50 wats) I mandated that the Hams working checking check use moble radios. As most of you know most of the FRS radios that SSCC uses cant trans from gate to gate if their is a hill in the way. Guys I tried my best as Ham Cordinator to make sure the Hams did their Job, A THEY DID. I had no control on what type or radios that the gate workers had. I did inform the BOARD that the FRS radios would not work. Lee Schram Retired Ham Radio Cordinator..
I have a suggestion that should appease all parties opposed over the Communication issues, which I will send to the SSCC Board ASAP.

It's simple - do a comm check before the race starts and whenever there's a lull in the action (between classes, course sweeps, etc.). This would be as simple as giving someone at the start a list of Questions and someone at the finish a list of Responses. The starter would relay one of these obscure questions down the line, and the finish line rep would respond back with the correct answer. Questions like "what's Bill's mascot navigator's name?" or "What's Mad Dawg's favorite kind of cookie". If the correct response is recieved, the comm check was a success. (Also posted in M.D.s note "Give Steve...".
The radios do not work. Not even 50%. The plane should have reported the FULL extent of the damage to Charlies car. No blooming excuses for that ommission! Period. If it had been a fellow pilot with a plane screwed up like that, he would have called the national Guard for help. And Charlie was probably traveling faster than most small planes.
Folks, Training is a major part of the problem. Shut down the race and send help first, and FAST! Who cares about any other details. I'd give up my race day in a second to make sure somebodies ok. End of story. We pay the way here, you and me and all of us. Safety first, last and every darn time. ( I'm watching my english, ok )
How about the simplest solution and have everybody carry a radio with them. An FRPP will go several miles LOS. If the driver is okay, notify the closest course worker.

Second suggestion would be one of the systems similiar to Onstar. I know of a retail system that can do the same thing. If the car crashes or even goes off road, the system will notify the company who then contact the appropriate person.

I also have a third solution but it's really expensive. However, I have tested it and it works. It is possible to set up wireless access points and put together an entire network from the beginning to the end. Wireless cameras can then be placed anywhere along the course. Cars can also be connected to the access points while moving. Not cheap, not easy, but technically possible. Costs of equipment for the access points alone would run about $10K-$15K at 13 access points. Range of the system is about 5 miles to a car. The system can then monitor cars. If they don't respond in a fix period of time (given that they will drop in and out of the system while traveling), then a warning and information would be given as to the approximate location. It would also take a dry run to approximate the best locations for the access points. The airplanes would also be connected. Also would take 2-3 hours to set up and test over 90 miles. Anyway, my 2 cents.
Rory,

As a racer participant I am not writing this to seek a specific method of improving communications! I have been there and done that already, the issues are not about commnications solutions!.
I periodically check in here to see IF,finally I shall read the words that I need to read: Yes, we the sscc agree there are serious issues,not only with communications,medical assistance, staffing ( or lack of),bad calls,inconsistant decision processes in the face of crisis,deception by management HOWEVER there are others issues as well! We are prepared to provide remedy.
Reality tells me this ain't gonna happen..so my conclusion is I must be out of my mind to bother to write this. It has all been said. I won't be checking in here again. IF I learn that change has come down it will be a "word of mouth" from my peers who have been silly enough to sign up again before the "improved" sscc has demonstrated sincerity and acceptable actions.


cheers

R
ORR Veterans,

What started out with the best of intentions the end of September 2004 spun out of control when someone who is no longer on the message board started personally attacking the SSCC Board president. That hurt our sport more then anything I have seen in all most 10 years. The bull**** got a little too personal and a little too deep in the last few months and I just signed off. But for better or worse I feel I need to make a few comments here.

1. First off, let there NEVER be another accident on course where a vehicle goes OFF course and OFF the road without the event Race Director STOPPING THE EVENT. Period. Get the the fire-life-safety folks down the course to transport the driver and/or navigator to a hospital to be checked and then and ONLY then should the event be re-started.

2. Let me just say once again that without the ham radio operators and folks like Lee Schram and Bill Bryant who have supported the events for years that none of these ORR events could take place. And that goes for the volunteer course workers as well. I love and appreciate all of them perhaps a little more then most of you because of a problem I had once.

3. Most of the veteran drivers and course workers "ALL" understood the issues and the problems that we have as Stan mentioned above beat a dead horse on. We have understood the risks and and the problems. Yet, we still kept attending year after year without taking a stand and without making much change.

4. Why did we do that? I think it was because we truely love the events, the City and people of Ely and the Silver State series. Jim Marz and Charlie Friend told me the end of last year that they totally understand the risks at SSCC just like they did at other events in Texas and in Mexico and they still wanted to attend in Ely in the future and so do I. With due respect to those who will not return for any reason I believe from what I am hearing that the majority of ORR veterans will return once NDOT approves the SSCC communications system.

5. While we still haven't heard from the SSCC Race Director or the SSCC Board President I was called again and I was advised the SSCC Board is listening. They have brought in a radio supplier Suncoast Communications) as a sponsor who also provides radios to NASCAR and other sanctioning race bodies.

6. This is the first year NDOT is requiring 'ALL' the ORR organizers including SSCC to 'prove' they have end-to-end radio communications. In the past all they had to do was 'certify' they had end to end communications. As Lee and Bill Bryant have said before, the existing SSCC radios were not adequate for this course which left dead zones through out the course of no or poor radio coverage. Richard Hille, myself and a third driver all broke down at 'different locations' on the course in September and our course workers STILL did NOT have radio coverage to the next course station and definately never had communications with the start or the finish lines. These are issues that should be learned and corrected. In fairness to SSCC they have brought in Suncoast Communications with new and better radio's, adding an additional repeator site and putting radio's in 'every' vehicle. SSCC may never be as open as MKM Racing or Big Bend but they have addressed the biggest concern and that is radio communications coverage.

7.Within the next few weeks SSCC will have to have their safety plan reviewed and tested and their end-to-end communications will need to be 'proven' while NDOT is present. A letter won't due for SSCC or MKM or anyone anymore.

8. So while I am not suggesting that there aren't still issues on the table at SSCC that need to be addressed the significant addition of new communications hardware is a move in the right direction.

9. I am glad to see the 'personal attacks' have stopped here and elsewhere. For that we can thank Bill Bryant and MKM Racing who put a stop to the personal attacks. Attacking any one event organizer or any one individual in the ORR series is just wrong and has hurt our sport more then anything else. And I am NOT talking about what anyone on this message board has said . We all know who that individual was that was spewing the personal attacks and I've been told by MORE veterans then not that they would NOT be back because of the back biting they saw then by anything that occured or didn't occur at Silver State last September.

I don't have all the answers and may even be misguided but I believe the changes that have been made will benefit everyone who attends in the future.

Dennis "Mad Dawg" Antenucci
Team Pantera Racing

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