BAKER TO VEGAS RACE
MRA is an official sponsor of the Baker to Vegas Race. This is the 5th year that we have sponsored the race and it is our pleasure to be able to provide the racers with a radio system that is unequaled by any other radio provider at the race. Our system consists of 6 strategically located tower sites that are all tied together into a network utilizing NEXEDGE technology by KENWOOD, one of the most advanced radio systems available today. This system provides unparalleled performance, range, signal quality and reliability around 98% of the race course. No other radio system out performs our radio system including Cellular phones, amateur, commercial radio, your police department radios or satellite phones.
These radios are intended for communications within your team to coordinate the activity of your team. There is no race requirement that you have these radios. They are strictly for your ability for you to coordinate your team’s activities. You must report to the race on the communications form on the B2V website what radios you are using (if any) for your team’s radio system. This is a requirement of the race officials and not our company. Our radios will allow you to do the following and more while avoiding penalties:
- Get your runners to the right stage at the right time
- Allow you to have your catchers in place for the incoming runners
- Stay in contact with your shuttle vehicles
- Get supplies to your field personnel including food, water, running vests for nighttime, replacing vehicles that have run out of gas or suffered some other breakdown, replacing any runners that have medical issues
- Allow the team captain to have complete control of the team almost anywhere on the race course while staying at the command post
- Allow the assistant team captain to be out on the race course to resolve problems while being in contact with the team and the team captain
- Notify team mates and relatives when a team runner suffers a significant medical issue so that the runner can be properly handled and the team can recover from the downed runner without penalties.
There are many other scenarios that are made significantly easier due to the instant and reliable communications.
The following map shows the entire race course and the quality of the radio coverage that we have around the race course. The green areas are good coverage so you should not have any trouble using any of the radios. The turquoise areas are weaker signal areas that will require the mobile radio to have good coverage. In the turquoise areas, the portable radio will not perform well while inside a moving vehicle, unless you have a magnetic mount antenna attached to the portable radio that is mounted to the roof of the vehicle. A portable radio that is using the rubber antenna on top of the radio will need to exit the vehicle to find a “hot spot” to reach the network. (Once you reach the network, you will be able to speak to any of your teammates that are in range of the network.) When the conversation is finished and you re-enter the vehicle, the portable radio will typically not work until you exit the vehicle again and find another “hot spot” where you can access the network.
To evaluate which radio is best for you, please read the information below describing the use of the different radios and see our article on “How Far Will My Radio Talk?”Rental Radios
A small battery operated 5 watt portable, hand held radio designed to be hand carried or clipped to a belt or inserted into a chest pack. It is also known as an HT, Handheld Transceiver, Handie Talkie, or Walkie Talkie. The range of the radio will be less than mobile radios that are installed in vehicles that are higher powered radios. Radio includes the battery and antenna. Magnetic mount antenna and spare batteries are extra. This radio will work well in the green areas of the map and will perform poorly in the blue areas of the map unless you exit the vehicle and find a “hot spot” to use the radio. (To get full performance of the network, use a magnetic mount antenna with the portable radio or use a mobile radio.) Typical use of this radio is for people who are often out of the vehicle and still need to be reached. There are also many audio accessories available for the portable radios which we do not recommend under most circumstances for use at the B2V race because they tend to reduce the performance of the radio. When using the audio accessory, the radio is typically left clipped to the belt which keeps the radio next to the human body, absorbs about 99% of the radio signal and reduces the range of the radio. The race course goes through very remote areas where the signal is already weak and the use of the audio accessory will generally make the signal unusable in many areas. If you wish to use an audio accessory, please discuss it with one of our radio technicians.
MAGNETIC MOUNT ANTENNA
The range of the portable radio can be increased by using a magnetic mount antenna in lieu of the default rubber antenna attached to the top of the radio. An external magnetic mount antenna is particularly useful in weak signal areas such as the Chicago Valley, the Mountain Pass area which is 15 miles south of Primm and Mountain Springs Pass (between the Pahrump Valley and Las Vegas) as it will make the portable radio operate almost as good (but not quite as good) as the more powerful mobile radio. Due to the high demand of the mobile radios for the B2V race, we typically run out of mobile radios. A portable radio with an external antenna will substitute and work almost (but not quite) as well if we run out of mobile radios.
These are used for the portable radios. Spare batteries can be carried with you on the race course in case your battery goes dead from usage. Batteries can be recharged with a battery charger which takes about 2-3 hours and is a separate item from the battery. (Remember, when you are out on the race course, you will not have the option to recharge the battery, only swap batteries.) Many people report that one battery lasted the entire race, so the need for spare batteries is dependent upon your usage of the radio. A small amount of talk time represents a large amount of listen and standby time, so if you talk a lot on the radio, you may need a spare battery. Please see our article on Battery Care.
Battery chargers are used to recharge the portable radio batteries. Chargers are available in single unit, 6-unit and 12-unit. Batteries can be charged while attached to the radio or just the battery alone. If you have sufficient spare batteries, you probably do not need a battery charger. Remember, we will have help station at 2 locations on the race course where you can get a free exchange of a dead battery for a charged battery and there is typically no access to a 120V outlet to plug in the battery charger on the race course.
A mobile is a larger and higher power 20 watt, vehicle mounted radio. It is powered by a power cable that plugs into the cigarette lighter jack (now known as a power jack) in the vehicle. It draws about 7 amps on transmit and about 0.5A while receiving, so you must be careful not to overload the power jack circuit and burn out the vehicle fuse when attaching other electrical accessories to the same power jack. (Some vehicles use a fuse as small as 10 amps while other vehicles will supply up to 30 amps.) The mobile radio is supplied with the cigarette lighter power cord and with a magnetic mount antenna which is placed on the roof of the vehicle with the antenna cable being run in through the window. This radio gives you the full range of our radio network so it will work in both the green and blue areas of the map. The increased range is due to the higher power and having the antenna mounted outside the vehicle. Typical use of this radio is for the follow vehicle vehicle and some teams use it for the shuttle vans.
A larger, higher powered 20 watt radio, powered from regular 120 volt power. (This is the same as a mobile radio, but it has a power supply that converts the 120 volt AC power to 12 volt DC to power the radio.) The base station can be used with a magnetic mount antenna, or other mounted antennas of a suitable frequency. The typical use would be from a fixed location such as the command post, hotel room, desk, etc. The base station radio consists of a mobile radio with power supply. (Some units will have an external power supply and some unit will have an attached power supply as pictured on this page. Both units will perform the same.) The base station comes with a magnetic mount antenna and a microphone. (Some units will have a desk microphone as pictured above left and some units will have a mobile microphone as pictured above right.) The base station radio will give you full performance of the radio network.
It is possible to disconnect the power supply and use a cigarette lighter cord to power this radio in a vehicle which must be requested separately if you want the capability to change the base into a mobile radio.
Dear Mark Abrams, Joyce (Peters) Barishman and everyone at Mobile Relay/Raycom,
I just want to thank you again for another year of supporting Baker to Vegas by making your radios available for rental.
We (LAPD, Wilshire Division) have rented your radios the last few years because they are the best radios out there. The coverage is night and day difference from what the competitors offer. The coverage, clarity and reliability insures the safety and support of our runners and support personnel that is out on the race course. We had a runner go down at the exchange point at leg 2, last year.
I was able to receive real time info (using your radios in Las Vegas) at our Command Post, at the Host Hotel to assure our runner that was being transported to the Hospital would have a Team member be there. As Team Captain, decisions had to made to free up Shuttle 1, to make sure our other runners would be dropped off in time at the other legs, so the Team would not be jeopardy of penalties or even the possibility of not being able to continue the race. We avoided a years work of planning and training ending in failure just by being able to communicate clearly, all the way from leg 2, to Las Vegas. I also want to thank you for making it as easy as possible by allowing us to pick up, and drop off the radios at the Host Hotel. We also love the hand held radios, they are just as powerful  as the base stations you offer. We always get back up to the back up, which means we get both [portable and mobile] for our vehicles. When our support personnel, are out of the Shuttles we can stay in communication with them with the handheld radios.
LAPD Wilshire Division’s,
Baker to Vegas Team Captain,
Officer: Juan Soberal # 27003
Footnote [1: Mobile radios are better able to connect to the network than portables,
but once a radio is connected, it has the same range as anything other radio connected to the network]
My name is Brent Hopkins and I am one of the runners for LAPD Wilshire’s Baker to Vegas team. I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed using your radios and working with your guys on the course this year. This system is a tremendous improvement over what we used to use and enabled us to stay in close contact throughout nearly the entire course. Problems that would have previously been insurmountable due to communications issues were easily handled, allowing us to set aside the challenges and just focus on running. Your technician at the starting line was also extremely helpful in trying to repair a base station with a bad fuse and the customer service was great. Thank you so much for all your help and I hope we can work together down the road, as well.
Detective Brent Hopkins
Los Angeles Police Department
Hello, just wanted to let you know the radios worked amazing. Changed the entire stress level of the race. Worked exactly as advertised. The only issue we had was the vehicle base radio did not regain contact after losing it on leg 8-9. As soon as I gained cell contact I had him turn the unit off and back on and we were back in business. [We} did NOT lose contact at the summit on 15 as expected. When we dropped the equipment off he asked about doing a testimonial, absolutely. We’ve already sold the Kern County Sheriff Department (our biggest rival) on getting them next year.
This was our first year using this type of radio system. We were very pleased with the results and we’re able to communicate with our captains at the hotel from all the way out on the race course. We definitely plan on using them again next year!
Sheriff Team #228 2017
I’m the Captain of the Los Angeles City Attorney Baker to Vegas Team. This was our tenth year running the race and our first year using your digital radios. The prior nine years we used ham radios in our three race vehicles. Without a doubt, your digital radios played a key role in our team’s success this year. The coverage was excellent and the radios allowed us to stay in almost constantly and instantaneous contact while on the course and with our base operation in Vegas. We look forward to renting your digital radios next year. Thank you.
Los Angeles City Attorney
As the long time Captain of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Team, I highly recommend the communications system provided by MRA-Raycom. After using Ham Radios in our race vehicles for years, we made the switch to MRA-Raycom’s car-mounted and mobile radios a few years ago. After our first race using the radios, we kicked ourselves for not making the switch sooner. The radios get great coverage and are easy to use. I don’t know how we would complete this crazy race without the help of the MRA-Raycom’s communications system.
Chief Assistant City Attorney
City of Los Angeles
This is our 3rd year using you guys for radios for Baker to Vegas and we look forward to using your equipment again!
Lead Police Service Officer
Clovis Police Department
The B2V race requires that you have FRS (Family Radio Service) radios in your follow vehicle. You will not be allowed to start the race without these radios. They are separate radios from the radios listed above. Although it is electrically possible to program the FRS channel into the other radios described above, it will not satisfy the race officials. You are required to have FRS radios in the follow vehicle and monitor the required channel 100% of the time so that you can alert the stage when you are approaching and that you can be called by any other team that is about to pass your follow vehicle. If we program the FRS channel into your other radios, you will not be able to comply with the requirements to be listening 100% of the time during the race since the radio will not keep you in touch with your team while listening to the FRS channel.
FRS radios are readily available from many sources including many retail stores. They are typically about $50 a radio and the race officials recommend that you have two of these radios in case one stops working. They also recommend spare batteries be carried in the follow vehicle. We will have AA batteries at the start line which are used my most of the FRS radios which we will give out for free to teams that have rented our radios and will be charged $1 per battery for teams that have not rented radios from us.
MRA has rental radios available that can be used for FRS at a price of $15 per radio for the race including a spare battery. If you wish to rent the FRS radios, please let us know and we will have them set up and ready for you to use at the race.
FRS radios must be programmed to channel #3, tone 18 which translates to 462.6125MHz with a tone of 123.0Hz.