The Riverland Radio Club (RRC) assists the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG) provide communications and a safety network for the River Murray Marathon (RPM) a canoe paddling event http://riverlandpaddlingmarathon.com/paddling held over 3 days on the June long weekend. The AREG team spend many hours of work planning the event in conjunction with the canoe committee. The event is held over 200Km of river, starting at Berri and finishing down stream at Morgan. High cliffs and the meandering river presents challenges for providing continuous radio coverage.
A total of 87 various class of canoes with 124 paddlers entered the event. One of the AREG senior members had a shock when a race boat practicing for a upcoming event went passed his check point, going at 90Km/h it was a bit quicker than he was expecting
RRC members Nat, Peter VK5PE, Andy VK5LA, Ray VK5RR, Rob VK5TRM, Bob VK5FO, Ivan VK5HS participated in the event which provides a very welcome donation for our efforts. This event is our clubs major fund raising event for the year.
The RRC local 2 meter repeater situated at Rob VK5TS property provides Amateur voice communications as well as APRS for the Hams at the various check points. A commercial repeater is also setup to provide communications with the safety power boats. As the event moves further down stream away from the repeaters coverage, temporary communications equipment is deployed to maintain continuous communications coverage. The use of mobile phones is limited because of the cliffs shadowing reception from phone towers.
This year RRC members, Rob VK5TRM club president, Andy VK5LA club secretary, Peter VK5PE with his wife Nat and Ivan VK5HS all operated check points with various activities ranging from spotting and reporting canoe numbers as they passed our check points, to assisting at race control with erecting masts , antennas and tents to operate out off.
Martin the race director at a 100Km start.
It had finally rained in the Riverland prior to the event, approximately 20mm had fallen making the clay mud flats very boggy for all to get to check points Rob VK5TRM had taken delivery of his Rav 4 on Friday and was keen to play in the mud along with a couple of the AREG team. Race control was quickly advised by the trio to tell the entrants to park on the high ground and walk into the start points at a couple of locations. Boys!!!
The teams are a mixture of members from both clubs, meeting people, putting faces to call signs and a lot of chatting about radios and many other subjects fill in the time between waiting for canoes to pass their check point.
Andy VK5LA & Scott VK2JAX at a check point, they had to put the FT817 mic down for a photo opportunity.
One RRC member managed to make some Parks and Shire contacts on HF during his time at a check point. I am sure I read somewhere we were not to play in the Shires contest !!!
The River Murray provides some stunning views for the visiting paddlers. Below Peter and Nat enjoy a quite moment on the river bank
Thank you to the club members who participated in this great fun event, all the necessary activities were handled well by the RRC members. Several Shire and Park contacts were made. To top the weekend off Andy VK5LA and Ivan VK5HS retrieved a Sonde after completing our Saturdays duties.
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