This is a news page for WICEN Bundaberg members to keep up with activities within the group
Do check back on this NEWS page for the latest information and if you need assistance contact the WICEN Controllers via the contact information below
Curtis Coast Trail Riders Club annual event at Clarkeys Petrolhead Paradise was held 20/21 May and once again a team of WICEN Operators made the trip up to the hills behind Lowmead to provide the Comms for the event.
Some photos taken over the weekend:
Meanwhile back at Base Camp, it was all happening in the hayshed.
Keeping our Operators up to date with the latest weather tracking.
Some useful link for those who would like to know more;
Bureau of Meteorology: BOM - bom.gov.au
To view the current weather warnings for QLD
River watch - Qld river systems - select the 4th group of rivers - Burrum, Burnett, Kolan - to check the river gauge data
Bundaberg Regional Council - LATEST Updates
Our members are no longer on Alert status but we thank them for being on call and vigilant during the past 4 days.
WICEN Operators know that Cyclone tracking is a mathematical projection and that in reality winds can rapidly change direction and speed.
TC Debbie wasn't a threat to our region, however we monitored it's path and prepared for heavy rainfalls as it became an Ex Tropical Cyclone.
Bundaberg was spared the worst but not so our friends to the North and South.
As another year draws to a close and most begin to think of taking a break, our WICEN operators begin to stir and get things ready for the approaching storm season.
Theory refresher and practical training is taking place each month and we're delighted to have FIVE new members join us this year.
A year has passed and we're back at Clarkeys Reloaded event at Lowmead
The Curtis Coast Trail Ride Club brought together over 300 riders to traverse the rugged hills on Clarkey's property and it was another great event.
We operated a base station in a hay shed !
In mid-May we supported SES Rosedale at Clarkey's Petrol-head Paradise, North of Lowmead for the 10th anniversary motorcycle event.
Called Clarkey's Reloaded, it's a 2 day event organised by some very capable bike enthusiasts from Gladstone, and attracted 400 riders in the Open class, another 150 riders in Novice and more than 50 juniors in the PeeWee group. That sea of campers, caravaners and day-trippers in the photo above was repeated on the other side of the hill, so it was huge success.
A base station at Race control was the centre of our controlled net and we placed a temporary 2M repeater on a high ridge, running on battery and with an antenna thrown up into a big old gum tree. Then we addressed the black-spots around the course and placed the 2 other portable stations at the extremities of the course.
On day one Race Control discovered another black spot and luckily we had our portable ICOM station in the back-pack so we could send another operator high into the hills at 3-ways.
Was it a lot of fun? Yes, but more importantly our Network and set-up worked brilliantly. The temporary repeater used a 1.7MHz split and covered the whole course with everyone running on 5 Watts to prolong battery life.
The portable stations did exactly what they were supposed to do and were very much admired by everyone, the backpack station proved to be robust as it operated sitting in the grass and the operators adapted to every situation which came their way.... from "Rider Down", to "there is a 'flock' of cows on the course"... yes they were cows! but apparently the riders are used to the cows popping out anywhere along the track and more importantly the cows are used to the motorcycles and casually step out of the way!
At the end of the event the organisers said they'd never had such perfect comms so they were highly impressed and asked how far "we'd travel????" Apparently these crazy riders do it all again somewhere near Monto and Biloela, and comms is always such a problem for them.
We may become a very sought-after group.
It was thanks for the following members who gave up their weekend to work on this community event: Ross VK4JRO, Marg VK4FHAM, Bob VK4UD, Gary VK4MDZ, Gail VK4ION, Lorraine VK4FCCW and David VK4HAX. You all did a tremendous job in showcasing WICEN, the Club and the hobby of Amateur Radio.
On Saturday the backpack was deployed in a pretty rough location but on Sunday the camp was a little more civilized.
Our WICEN members don't need to be reminded to charge batteries and check their gear.
We monitored Tropical Cyclone Marcia and kept in touch in case of regional experience power failure.
We maintain a listening watch on the 2M Town Repeater at 9am on any morning when there is power outage.
Then we begin our rotation: To 70cm Mt Watalgan repeater and then to 2M on Mt Goonaneman.
Town 147.800MHz - Watalgan 439.775MHz - Goonaneman 146.800MHz - in that order
By cycling through the three repeater sites we're sure to pick up all our members.
During times of activation WICEN take precedence over all Club equipment and club member and the public leave the repeaters free for emergency work as required.
It's times like this that we say thank you to our Club members who had had the foresight to build such a robust repeater network enabling the WICEN group to communicate under any conditions.
Thank you WICEN Operators for stepping up again this week and letting us know you were out there, listening and preparing to help as part of the Bundaberg Regional Council's Disaster Management Plan.
Our WICEN group held a terrific October-Five exercise on Saturday 11th using 5 stations and undertaking a real exercise, simulating equipment break-down and finding other stations... just like in an emergency.
Next it was Saturday 18th and we put our equipment on show to support the Bundaberg Regional Council's Disaster Preparedness Expo.
We were invited to share a table with Council and had plenty of interest from passers-by.
Other groups who exhibited were Ambulance, Fire & Emergency Services, Rural Fires and many welfare agencies who work tirelessly in Welfare and Recovery roles
Our WICEN group was invited to display at the Emergency Open Day organised by Rural Fire groups in the Northern region.
Four WICEN members travelled up to the Baffle Creek area to take part and we displayed a Portable Emergency Station case and our new ICOM mobile back-pack.
We also showed some older gear which is built into a cradle and used at the Winfield WICEN station. We showed a variety of antennas and we had plenty of brochures and material for interested people to take away.
The event was held at Wartburg on a large community oval behind the SES and Rural Fires buildings. It was quite a large affair and well attended by Emergency Response organisations. Other community groups like Red Cross and Ozcare were on display as well.
While the aim of the day was to show the community that each household has a responsibility to be prepared, most organisations were also on the lookout for new members.
It was a fun day to get the community involved and give them advice on what help is available for those affected by a disaster.
WICEN Member Gary VK4MDZ [who also wore a Rural Fire hat on the day] erected the tent and ENVIS Dipole for us, so we only had to drive in and set up our gear. Judy Ferrari of Rural Fires did a great job of putting the Emergency Day together and we hope the community learned more about Emergencies; Response organisations and what they can do to be more prepared.
Special thanks go to our WICEN Members, Margaret VK4FHAM, Lorraine VK4FCCW, Peter VK4FPDG, Gary VK4MDZ & Gail VK4ION. [ thanks to VK4FHAM for taking the photos....we have a terrible reputation for forgetting to take a camera to record our efforts. So thanks Marg for remembering this trip]
We began with a February training session on our new ICOM IC2820 transceivers and a refresher on Risk Assessments in the field.
The next BIG thing was April 12th - an OPEN DAY for the general public
We operated as part of the WIA's PR4 Amateur Radio open day and we set in the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct.
We set up 3 portable stations as well as 2 Morse Code desks which sent to each other.
Over 30 members of public make the effort to come down and see us and from that we had quite a few who've asked for more information.
We hope that they'll become Amateurs and build the hobby. WICEN members enjoyed the day, supporting the club and A.R. in this way
On Saturday December 14th we had 12 members form into teams and travel to various parks around Bundaberg.
The objective of this xmas exercise was to test our reliability on battery power and to ensure our equipment was capable of following our Net Control to each of the Club's repeaters.
Team 1 was Ross VK4JRO and Lorraine VK4FCCW - no photos of their team yet.
Team 2 was Bob VK4UD, Jenny VK4YL and John VK4YQ - John and Jenny made the trek up from Burrum Heads to take part and they went to Norville Park.
Team 3 was Gail VK4ION, Peter VK4FPDG, Gwen VK4FCAD and John VK4FJMM and they travelled to the lowest spot in Bundy... Baldwin Swamp.
Net Control was Rusty VK4JM, Gaynor VK4FGAY and Bill VK4XZ they remained at the shack and called the stations in order following a prearranged schedule as we tested the 2M Town Repeater, then 70cm Mt Watalgan Repeater, then on to Mt. Goonaneman 2M & 70CM repeaters and finally a check on the Simplex 146.500MHz (the old Ch.50).
We're delighted to report that the Exercise was a resounding success, the equipment performed well and we had sufficient time for all the operators to learn and become familiar with the gear during the time intervals between check-ins.
Congratulations to our WICEN members and thanks for taking the time to prepare for our upcoming storm season. We have fingers and toes crossed that we won't be needed this year but we are prepared.
The next scheduled WICEN training will be Saturday 15th February.
And Victor Kilo 4 Fox Colonial Cove Winfield was on air!
Testing was carried out and thanks to Margaret VK4FHAM in Bundy who had time to follow us to each of the 3 repeaters.
Results: ALL GOOD. Winfield Community now has triple redundancy so if the 70cm Mt Watalgan link fails the fallback is the Hummock and even Mt Goonaneman.
The equipment is pretty old but it should serve until we can source something a little more modern. The old Philips FM92 seems to overheat a bit when left on for any length of time but the Motorola on 2M seems to be quite stable.
Being on the water they get good coverage on all the simplex frequencies so the two Amateurs will be able to chat from their homes and up to the Fire Station where an additional antenna will be installed.
During an emergency Lorraine can unplug the cradle and take it to the Fire Shed where batteries and permanent antenna will be waiting. By the way... Thanks to Mark for making the custom Cradle to hold the two units so they take up minimal space.
They will now advertise around the village so everyone knows what they have available and Lorraine will travel down to Bundaberg to continue with her WICEN studies.
Well done Colonial Cove/Winfield, great to see your community spirit
Exercise "WICEN FIVE-NET" was a great success
Four WICEN Teams went "bush" and participated in a 5 station net on Saturday 6th October
The Teams set up at Gin Gin Showground, Goodnight Scrub Hall and Boolboonda Hall. There was also a station at Pacific Haven proving the southern end of our region could also be covered. The four teams attempted to call back into the VK4BW Base at the SES HQ in Bundaberg.
Photos of the exercise teams are on the Five-Net page.
Thanks to those Members who made the trip -VK4FHAM, VK4UD, VK4UO & VK4ION - and the two local residents who have come forward for Amateur Radio Training.
We're hoping they will form a WICEN-Like group on the North Side of the Baffle in the near future.
Next stop, WINFIELD and the small community of Colonial Cove on the South side of the Baffle Creek, which was also badly flooded.
They're a very close group and quite resilient however being without power and communications for 2 weeks had exposed a weakness in their location.
We went up and talked to some residents, a Ham (with WICEN experience) who had just moved there from the Toowoomba area and an energetic local who immediately saw the big picture and how they could overcome their isolation.
With great trepidation Lorraine Heyes undertook the Foundation training while the other Ham, David, set about proving what worked from their area and scouring his supplies for equipment he could donate to the community.
Phone: 07 4155 2665
Phone: 07 4152 6482