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WICEN Emergency Operators train regularly in emergency procedures and are part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Disaster Management Plan

Introduction

WICEN Bundaberg has been operating since the 1970's and was formed by the members of the Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club to fulfill the role left vacant when Civil Defence was wound down in Queensland.

Often when an emergency occurs normal communications can be destroyed or networks become so congested that they fail. Radios, powered by 12volt batteries, are often the only form of communication until normal services can be restored. Our members volunteer their time so that they can be of service to our local community should the need arise.

WICEN is funded by the Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club which is an affiliate of the Wireless Institute of Australia and we are grateful to receive support from the Bundaberg Regional Council. Our radio operators are registered with SES and the Club currently has 17 members actively serving as volunteers.

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WICEN gratefully acknowledges the assistance of SES Bundaberg

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We are privileged to retain a radio shack within the SES HQ by the kind permission of Council and the SES Controller

Our aims

Our aim is to be prepared so that if we are activated as part of the Bundaberg Regional Council Disaster Management Plan we can place trained radio operators into any situation to assist the Emergency, Recovery and Welfare agencies which may require communications.

WICEN operators are not expected to be the rescue or emergency response personnel but we may find ourselves forwarding radio messages between Emergency Operations Centres, Welfare Centres, SES and Red Cross for example.

Our primary role is to meet the welfare needs of our own local residents and by using our communications expertise to pass messages we assist the volunteer agencies who have been activated.

We sit quietly behind the highly trained SES & EMQ personnel and those other welfare agencies who undertake the emergency and life saving work.

Response to emergencies

During the Victorian bushfire crisis in early 2009 Amateur Radio operators were activated as part of the Victorian emergency plan and served for many weeks in the disaster area.

This is a link to the WIA news item on the Victorian bushfires and the WICEN response.


Upgrading WICEN equipment

Following the Bundaberg Floods during Christmas/New Year 2010 the club constructed 3 new Portable Emergency Amateur Radio Stations each with field antennas. At the same time the Base station was upgraded to take advantage of the new tri-band capabilities. Total cost of the project was $9000. The club received some funding from the Queensland Government Gambling Community Benefit Fund toward the project.

The WICEN Volunteers continue to train with the new Portable Emergency Amateur Radio Stations and antennas so that they become accredited on the new equipment and can be relied on in an emergency.

Below are some photos showing the group's 3 Portable Emergency Amateur Radio Stations and field antennas.

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3 Portable Emergency Amateur Radio Stations Timber cases coated with marine varnish ready for floodboat or rain operations


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Lift the lid and there's a shelf with the radio equipment permanently affixed so nothing will move during transportation


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The shelf is removable so the operator can work wherever required.
Station comprises (L-R) LDG Antenna Tuner, Yaesu FT-857D transceiver and Jetstream Power supply


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Under the shelf, everything the operator needs to be self sufficient

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ENVIS Dipole antenna for HF operation

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HF Antenna fits into denim pack and is easy to sling over a shoulder

Exercises and Training

With a full calendar of training in radio operations and message handling we ensure our capabilities. Field trials are also held so that we know the coverage area of our equipment around this large and geographically diverse region.


In June 2012 we participated in a formal exercise "Contact 2012" organised by Bundaberg District Disaster Management Group (DDMG) which tested and proved radio links between the Bundaberg Regional Council and the North Burnett Regional Council.

The next major exercise will be held in October called "WICEN Five-Net" we aim to send teams into the field to the more isolated communities of the Bundaberg Region. We plan to plot the coverage and continue to build up our mapping of the area that we serve.

Keep an eye on the WICEN NEWS pages or contact the WICEN Controllers - Contact information is listed below.

contacts

WICEN Controller,controller
Ross Orpin
Phone: 07 4155 2665

 

Deputy Controller,deputy
Gail Lidden
Phone: 07 4152 6482

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Postal Address:

WICEN Bundaberg
P.O. Box 129
Bundaberg Qld 4670