Every December, on frosty forest service roads surrounding the Big White ski resort you'll hear the sweet sound of performance rally cars. This is the Big White Winter Rally.

This year, Mike VE7KPZ, Jane VE7WWJ and our nephew Tristan volunteered at the event, representing NORAC.

Joined by other hams from the Okanagan, other parts of BC, Alberta and the USA, us amateur radio operators were the key to a safe and timely rally event. Radio operator volunteer ages ranged from 16 to 84.

The NORAC crew met up with OCARC friend John Semenec VE7JWS just before the radio meeting on Saturday morning. John had some great stories to share about previous rallies and got us pumped up for the event.

Then, at the radio meeting, Vince d'Eon VE6LK, one of our net controllers, got everyone up to speed with the tasks for the weekend.

After the briefing, all radio operators departed to get into positions at the start, finish and as "blockers" along the course.

The NORAC crew took on the role of "blocker 16" on the Saturday afternoon and evening.

Signage needed to be erected, the position secured and a fire built for a dinner of smokies, cheesecake, cappucinos and hot apple cider.

Fortunately this blocker position allowed the use of a simple 5 watt HT for communications via the main VE7RBG repeater, so radio operation was easy.

On Sunday, the NORAC crew took on the role of "blocker 31" at one of the farthest-away sections of the course.

For this location a mobile in the vehicle needed to be used as high power was required to punch through the trees to make the repeater. Cross-band repeat would be a good feature to utilize in the future, however, with the team effort and a GMRS relay there was no trouble in keeping tabs on what cars had passed our location.

The rally went very smoothly. The weather held out with no snow falling until the last stage.

The final banquet upstairs at the Happy Valley Day Lodge was a nice event where the HAMs met up to discuss highlights of the weekend and also chat with the rally competitors and organizers.

Big thanks to all of the hams who came out to volunteer at this event. And really big thanks to Jane VE7WWJ and our nephew Tristan for being part of the NORAC crew.

Special credit also goes to the event's team of three net controllers: Vince d'Eon VE6LK, Roger Heward VE6RAH and the vibrant Liel Shapiro VA7LSH. Through many challenges they stayed calm, cool and collected.

We hope to see more NORAC members out at this event next year, but if snow is not your thing, consider volunteering at a fall rally - the Pacific Forest Rally takes place in late September in the Merritt area and appreciates the support of amateur radio operators immensely.

It was fun,
Mike VE7KPZ
NORAC Vice President 2017-2019

Ps: as we were "working" the event, we didn't take many pics of the actual cars on course. Seeing them in person is much more entertaining. However, if you would like to see pics/video of the actual racing, check out the media of the event here (when it is released in a month or so).

Pps: here's a great pic of the inside of rally net control:

Photo credit: VE7LK.