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Squelch rampages!
At the Times Columnist 10k in Victoria BC April 2023

Squelch is ready!

Sunday April 30th, at 8am about 6,000 runners start out in waves from the start line of the Times Columnist 10k run in Victoria BC. The Legislature lawn was full of brightly coloured runners who had no idea a dinosaur was approaching.

Squelch is waiting at the first turn in the run, cheering everyone on, dancing in eager anticipation. Squelch has a plan to sneak along behind the last runners and walkers to enjoy a 10k rampage through the city. Slow runners are easy pickings for hungry Velociraptors.

Squelch the Velociraptor, and the radio operator at the tail end of the TC10K The radio brief involved providing communication at the tail end of the run, eyes on the ground and an APRS tracking point. Hiding radio equipment inside an inflatable dinosaur costume does not offer much space for antenna, so I kept the rubber duck on my HT (which I had tested with moderate success on the route, by bicycle, a few weeks before the event) I also had to carry quite a few extra batteries, for my phone, radio and to keep Squelch inflated all morning. All packed in my vest, I carried about five pounds of equipment, about 4 of which was batteries.

With the exception of the speaker microphone emerging from the air seal at the wrist, the radio equipment was mostly invisible. Which is to say I had to carry all the equipment to leave Squelch free to be a dinosaur. So Squelch was free to frolic, dance, erm, rampage, get selfies with strangers, scare dogs, and make children go wide eyed then squeal with delight.

Squelch makes friends with the other volunteers supporting the TC10K
Thanking volunteers was also a fun thing Squelch got to do

The radio aspects were not as successful as I had hoped, APRS that worked well in testing was considerably worse on event day (some local equipment has gone offline, amongst other problems) and I missed some calls by voice... That was very disappointing, since I was particularly looking forward to answering to the tactical call sign 'Dinosaur'!

Squelch was pulled over but not arrested... didn't fit in the police car!

But that's how I discovered that the police radios were also carrying traffic about the rampaging dinosaur, relaying Squelch sightings to the radio operators posted on the route.

Squelch ate a radio operator... I'm not sure if that's safe Squelch, they might have batteries in their pockets, not very good for your digestion

Other radio operators weren't entirely safe from the rampaging Velociraptor...

Squelch ate another radio operator Squelch even ate an EMS person... what if the runners need first aid Squelch?
So the radio aspect can be improved upon, but I can not imagine how Squelch could do any better. Kids were delighted, adults were entertained, loads of people asked for selfies with Squelch. Dogs, unfortunately, were often upset by Squelch, and I did feel badly about that.

Squelch rampaged happily all morning, after a breakfast of an EMS crew person and a radio operator or two, Squelch finished off with some children.

Squelch ate some small children for dessert, photo by David VE7EPX
Squelch savoring the experience of the TC 10 k in April 2023, photo by VE7PYX I stopped for a moment, enjoying the fresh breeze off the ocean, and savouring the experience of impersonating a late Cretaceous period dinosaur while making radio... Then I scampered off in pursuit a delighted toddler!

Squelch went a total of 13.4 km, with a finish time several hours slower than the lead runner, who did not stop to eat bystanders, or pose for photos.

Squelch did end up with some tail chaffing 'road rash' from dragging their tail along the road, but recovered in time for the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair!

Andrea, and Squelch

Photo Credits: VE7PLI, VE7IRR, VE7PYX, VE7EPX


This year I tested my APRS equipment a few weeks before the event, by bicycle (not by dinosaur) with another radio operator volunteering at the event, David VE7EPX and while his equipment seemed to work slightly better than mine, we both made good clear tracks in testing, but our performance in the event was hampered by a local digipeater going offline.
Testing, VA7ALG on April 13th
APRS via APRSDroid phone app

Testing, VA7ALG on April 13th
APRS via Yaesu FT3D Radio

Testing, VE7EPX on April 13th
APRS via Anytone radio

Event Day APRS radio track of VA7ALG (Squelch)


Need more Squelch? Here's their video!

Hint: the closed captions are very funny...

Thanks to SkyTech Photo:



WARA (west coast amateur radio association) -

SSIARS (Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Society) -

TC10K (Run in Victoria BC) -

More Velociraptor Facts -

APRSDroid APRS Software for Android phones -

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Thanks for visiting... hope to meet you on the air! 73
~ Andrea VA7ALG


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