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CURRENT and past stories from WICEN Bundaberg Last update: May 2023


May 2023 field exercise cancelled

Sadly we won't be attending the Curtis Coast Trail Riders event this year. They've had to relocte the 2023 bush event to a property near Rockhampton.
We are intrepid Amateurs, but that's going too far and we've passed the baton to the Rockhampton club to assist the boys and girls from the CCTRC.
We're going to miss the fun weekend but you can read about previous events in the sections below.

UBOBO Weekend 2022

It was WET !

Once again we stepped in to support the Curtis Coast Trail Riders Club by supplying Comms for their annual trail ride on Radleigh Station, in the rugged hill country near Ubobo in the Boyne Valley.
More than 400 riders came to test their skills on the tracks riding either the 22km 'Open Track', or the 10km 'Novice Track'. It's not a race and riders can complete the tracks as many times as they wish as a way to improve their skills.
Sweep Riders continually circle the track, picking up stragglers and maintaining safety by calling for the breakdown trailer or the Medical Mule if required.
WICEN is there because our radios reach up into the rugged hills and deep into the valleys so we sit in the bush on the outer track areas and radio base with instructions when Sweep Rider's alert us to a problem.
It's a great training exercise for our group while also providing a vital community service.
This was our 7th year in our support role and VK4ION, VK4DN & VK4UO, travelled to Ubobo to camp for 2 nights.
The BOM forecast 10mm of rain in the Boyne valley so the campground was packed with excited biking families.
We set up camp in a slight drizzle and sat back to relax.. but it was getting soggy underfoot as that drizzle turned into violent winds and thunderstorms causing havoc for those camping in tents.
Saturday morning the Rider's were keen to begin their adventure, because they LOVE the mud, but the rain kept falling and the tracks were deteriorating badly.
By lunchtime there was 1 metre of water flowing in the creek and the Trail Boss closed both tracks and cancelling the event.

Our comfortable camp, until the violent winds demolished Jim's awning and drenched him in cold water.
We did manage a drum fire to keep cheerful.

To access the site we'd crossed a dry creekbed which was now a FLOODED CREEK.
Some riders packed up and made a break for it... some did get through but as the ground broke up and became a thick black ooze it was getting dangerous, and the row of bogged cars, 4-wheel-drives, caravans and bike trailers was growing. The creek was also rising cutting us off even further.
Gail had committments in town, a giant dog in Kennels and a daughter who would worry but there was no mobile phone or internet/data reception in them-thar-hills so what do WICEN operators do?
They unload one of the portable stations and call CQ.

VK4ION on 40M, organising emergency messages with VK4DG in Bowen & chatting with Japanese amateur JI1ICF near Tokyo

Using an OPEK HF vertical we called CQ on the 40m band which was answered by VK4DG, Troy from Bowen. He sent text messages to family and relayed responses for other stranded campers.
Conditions were good so we continued working 40m and got into a net with operators from Rocky, Ipswich, Robertville & Rubyvale, a great effort with a small, emergency, HF vertical.
We were cheeky to return a CQ from Japan, JI1ICF who was 60km south east of Tokyo. He was using 1kw and a directional beam that we received 5/9, but were more pleased with the 5/7 signal report he gave us as we were only using 10w.
It proved the worth of WICEN portable case configuration as it performed exactly what it was designed to.

4WD mule; the track in our camp and our neighbour determined to get that fire going

The rain eased by Sunday morning so the organisers decided to pull the vehicles through the mud and creek, one-by-one, using the 4WD mule.
What an amazing machine, it's so light it doesn't bog down, yet very tough and with a lot of 'grunt' to pull vehicles from bogs using the snap tow ropes.
We began to hope that our turn would come so we packed up our camp, loaded the vehicles and settled down to wait our turn (and tried not to look at the mud, getting deeper all the time).

The sun peeking thru'. The Medics trailer was towed out. The tricked out Toyota turned up complete with 2 guys who LOVE mud and 4x4 bogs.. our saviour had arrived.

The line of bogged vehicles was slowing down the process then two young fellows turned up out of the blue, Tim & Jett... Tim drove an extremely powerful Toyota 4WD decked out as a rescue vehicle, and he began pulling people through to the other side.
What an amazing pair of country lads, they really knew how to work that 4WD. David's van was towed out went first, Jim drove himself out... Gail wasn't so lucky, heavilly laden with all the radio gear and batteries, she bogged to the belly but young Tim would not give up.
He unhooked and tried again from a different angle until he could snap the RAV4 out of the sludge and once rolling he drove like a madman, down the bank, through the creek water and up the other side.
After accepting that we wouldn't be out for days our young saviour had got us through to the other side... nerves slightly shattered but unharmed.
We had to go North to Calliope as we couldn't cross to Mirriam Vale through Blackmans Road due to flooded creek crossings, but the extra 90km seemed like no inconvenience at all.
That sums up the WICEN Ubobo 2022 weekend. It was a great WICEN exercise in deploying our emergency radio equipment and building our resilience.


We began 2022 with some preparations and training.

It was time to induct a couple of new members and begin our face-to-face training within the group.
As the Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club has been steadily increasing the membership it is gratifying that some will go on to join our emergency comms group.


May 2021 five members provided Comms in the Bush.

Over the weekend of May 22/23 2021, five WICEN members travelled to the Boyne Valley south of Gladstone to provide communications for the Curtis Coast Trail Riders annual event.
Several hundred riders took part and the advanced track was 30km through rugged mountain and creek terrain. There was also a novice track and PeeWee Track.
We set up a base camp and two bush stations to give the Sweep Riders a known point of communications in case of breakdown or accident.
Catering was provided by the Calliope P&C and we even had a coffee and ice-cream van.

On Admin Hill the Trail Rider's club opened up their magnificent Trailer. The sides open and all their admin requirements are right to hand.
We put our Base station beside their trailer to relay messages, and we also camped up on the hill with the organisers.

adminHill adminCamp
We had a great campsite and watched 'bush telly' well into the night.

Riders make their way around the rugged course as many times as they wish.
A Junior rider clinic was held and shepherded by 4 adults sweep riders, they were taken over a 12km section of the Advanced track. You've never seen such keen youngsters... when the trail boss said, 'follow me', they were off!

bikes juniors
Junior riders took off in a cloud of dust
A composite image of the camp shows there is plenty of room to spread out, pitch a tent or pull up a caravan.
Past News

PAST news Stories

Highlights of WICEN stories prior to 2021

Curtis Coast Trail Ride

Clarkeys near Lowmead

Each year we support the Curtis Coast Trail Ride Club on their weekend bush adventure.
It was held at Clakeys up near Lowmead for many years but has now moved to Ubobo.
WICEN members camp overnight and operate bush comms sites during the 2-day event.
The purpose is to provide support to a community venture but it's also a great time to test our gear in real-life situations, running on batteries.
Cancelled in 2020 ... we'll be back in 2021 at the Ubobo site.


Emergency Expo


Our WICEN group was invited to display at the Emergency Open Day organised by Rural Fire groups in the Northern region.
WICEN members travelled up to Baffle Creek to display our Portable Emergency Station Case & ICOM mobile back-pack.
The event was held at Wartburg on a community oval behind the SES and Rural Fires building. It was a large affair and well attended by Emergency Response organisations & the public. 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.


Field Day

4 Team Link Up

We test our gear and reliability prior to storm season and this field exercise was a 4-team link up. We had 3 teams in various parks, and the Base Station. The objective was to follow the Net Controller testing radios & batteries.
Base called the teams at Norville, Burrum Heads, Baldwin Swamp (a Bundy low-point) following a schedule as we tested the 2M Town Repeater, 70cm on Mt Watalgan, then Mt. Goonaneman 2M & 70CM repeaters and finally a check on the Simplex 146.500MHz.
The equipment performed well but fingers crossed that we won't be needed... but we are prepared.


Weather Watching - Cyclones

B.O.M. Queensland Link


As part of the Bundaberg Disaster Management Plan we receive regular updates on weather patterns likely to impact our region.
The first alerts remind us to watch the BOM weather predictions, and prepare to be activated if it becomes more severe or the plotted path is likely to impact the Bundaberg Council's vast area.

Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club



Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club sponsors and finances the WICEN group.
When students train with the club for their Foundation Licence they are exposed to the WICEN ideology and quite a few join our group of trained operators.

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