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WPI Ham Radio Club Provides Critical Communication For Marathon

WORCESTER (CBS) – Among the thousands of volunteers working to make this year's Boston Marathon go as smoothly as possible will be the Worcester Polytechnic Institute's ham radio club, the WPI Wireless Association.

Seniors Harrison Williams and Matthew Foreman and their team of about a dozen students and alumni coordinate the buses that take the runners and personnel to Hopkinton and then keep looping back to Boston to transport runners unable to finish.

All of the communication for the buses is done by radio, no cell phones, Internet or texting.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

WPI Ham Radio Club Provides Critical Communication

"This is certainly something that is very helpful in times when there's no power and there's no cell, no Internet, just people and a couple of radios and car batteries," Williams explained to WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones.

They were on the job last year and used some old fashioned skills and equipment to clear the course when the race was stopped after the bombings at the finish line.

With cell service largely crashed after last year, Williams and the team had to quickly shift gears.

"We started backing the buses out of Boston and we basically worked to get all of the available buses to pick up runners along the course," Williams said.

Using an improvised plan, the team coordinated bus transportation for as many runners as they could to a safe meeting spot just outside Boston.

"We were just transporting. It was very sort of task oriented," he said. "We just had our heads down at the grind just doing what we had to do."

They are ready to so whatever is needed again this year.

"We have a plan in place and it's going to hopefully be uneventful but there's always a plan in place in the event of an unlikely incident."


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