Ros & Raffy supported this WICEN event for several days whilst I only participated in the final Sunday since this was identified as the day with the greatest need. I was allocated the checkpoint downwind of the Belmont Sewer works located in some serious mud! (?newbie)
As this was my first WICEN event and my first serious portable excursion I spent some time gearing up and was quite pleased with the eventual result. It was great fun to test the equipment in the field. All of the equipment worked as planned. Given the inclement weather on the Sunday the necessity of some form of shelter was reinforced. Unfortunately the location was quite tight and as the photograph reveals the supporting poles for my shelter were situated in one of the mud puddles. Despite this all equipment was protected from excessive rain as was the operator!
A mobile radio with a gain antenna on the top of a 5 metre squid pole powered by a couple of 18Ah batteries that had spent the last year powering some medical equipment meant that I had unfettered access to the Newcastle WICEN repeater. Simplex operation to base was also possible.
The riders showed an unusual sense of enthusiasm for the ride despite their universal brown and bedraggled appearance. I hope that they all were able to bask in the glow of achievement at the end of the day.
I have the sense that Newcastle will be calling again next year……..