CNN has a nice video story about Angie Taggart, a 36 year old schoolteacher who ran the Iditarod for the first time this year.  The series is video that Taggart shot on her dogsled while running the race.

For years I’ve been dreaming about someday volunteering to do radio communications at an Iditarod checkpoint.  The checkpoints are, as one can imagine, in the middle of nowhere and lack any communications.  Unfortunately I learned from one of my friends who regularly volunteered that the Iditarod organization has discontinued the use of amateur radio in favor of satellite phones.  The junior Iditarod still uses amateur radio, so perhaps someday I’ll have an opportunity to volunteer for that.

4 Responses to “Iditarod”

  • Alfred F. Thomas:

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  • Steve Silverwood KB6OJS:

    Aside from the remoteness of the locations, this situation sounds very much like what happened to us as ham radio volunteers with the Tournament of Roses parade a few years ago. Sprint (actually, at the time I think it was Nextel) offered PTT phones to the Tournament officials as a promotion, so they could tout their ability to support such an operation. The Tournament took them up on it and dumped their 300+ ham volunteers without a thank-you or by-your-leave, just “your services are no longer required.” I understand the Iditarod needing something a little more reliable than HF for remote conditions, especially in the near-Polar regions, but I hope they treated their long-time ham volunteers with a bit more respect and gratitude than their Tournament of Roses counterparts.

  • Mike Proctor AC9JZ:

    I see this is an older thread, but is still worth commenting about.
    …”the Iditarod organization has discontinued the use of amateur radio in favor of satellite phones.”
    The Iditarod celebrates the serum run in 1925, where new technology wouldn’t work. They got the job done the old way.
    I would expect this organization to embrace this idea, and at least have some amateur radio volunteers in place as a back up plan. Satellite phones can fail, especially in a large solar storm. Unusual things do happen, the start of this years race has been moved due to lack of snow.

  • Paul Jendryk nl7pj:

    I used hf , 440, and sat phones when I volunteered for Iditarod coms in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

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