Southern Tasmanian Endurance Riders Event
Channel group provided checkpoint communications around the Wielangta forest
and the coast south of Rheban.
BW, FDNA, HAW, JGD, MBD, NXX and ZZ headed for the East Coast to enjoy an
early rise - like 0400 and the relatively relaxed pace of horse endurance
riding. Unfortunately the relaxation also seems to cover passing of some
of the information necessary to planning and organising a communications
system capable of meeting requirements - without last minute run arounds.
year, early planning was thwarted allegedly by stag horn beetles, swift
parrots and wedge tail eagles, the presence of which imposed late restrictions
on our access to the most difficult of the checkpoints. An alternate
access plan was developed and organised, only to suffer a last minute change
when the keys to the gate to beetle country were unexpectedly made available.
This is where the Amateur network proved it's worth.
phone coverage at our location was zero but RAF could be accessed.
VK7HGO heard our calls and contacted VK7MBD still at home in Kingston and
ready to depart well pre sparrow, to access the wayward checkpoint from the
south, thus avoiding the beetles etc..
arrangements were passed and Bruce and friend Essie joined us on Saturday via
the northern route to pick up the gate key. Here's the twist. The
track has two locked gates and, you guessed it, the key only opened one of
them. So back track through beetle country, head south, and in the way
originally planned before all the heartache of the previous evening. The
checkpoint was being established just as the first horses and riders arrived,
so none were missed.
Our set up
included a 2 metre repeater at the Three Thumbs Lookout, together with an APRS
digipeater. Base was at the shearing shed on the Ringrove property and
included a PC displaying the positions of the checkpoint vehicles. Comms
with the southern checkpoint were a little scratchy via the repeater - the late
arrival prevented optimal positioning - so a 40 metre relay filled the gap.
Four checkpoints were covered by three teams, stretched to four due to another
late change in ride arrangements. VK7s JGD and FDNA were seperated and FDNA
established in ARN's trailer at the road side with a portable pack radio.
This set up took place well before dawn when temperatures were at the overnight
lowest. FDNA had expected to be sat in a heated vehicle and dressed
accordingly. An almost Pan Pan call to Base, claiming the loss of both
feet to frost bite and rising rapidly to include lower legs and knees,
resulted in the delivery of a sleeping bag. A suggested
alternative involving the use of the still warm residue of the passing of the
first horses was rejected.
frustrations but a nevertheless enjoyable and successful deployment.