Comments About - WICEN - Activities
Past and Present
Perth - Western Australia
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Have you ever thought, What does WICEN do !  Should I join them !
Pehaps the following might help you to make a decision
Question - If someone called for help, Would you be ready ?
On Sunday 29 August 1999
WICEN provided communications along the course for the City to Surf Fun Run.

Operators taking part were Fred VK6IE, Ron VK6KRA, Peter VK6JAE, Tony VK6CV,
Matthew VK6KMS, Bruce VK6CX, Jay VK6YJS, Bob VK6PO, and Jim VK6JP.

The event was in two parts.
The 12 Km course started in the city in St Georges Terrace and the 4 Km course started at Perry Lakes.
Both sub-events ended at City Beach Oval.
There were about 6,800 starters for the long course, and about 2,300 entrants for the short course.
In addition there were 19 wheel chair competitors.

Timing this year was high tech., with each entrant having a microchip attached to his or her shoelace.
Timing devices at the start and finish recorded the elapsed time to one hundredth of a second.

Communication for WICEN was through the WICEN repeater
which was situated near Wireless Hill in Ardross,
and this gave satisfactory coverage of the course using standard mobile antennas on vehicles,
although signals were a little noisy at the City Beach end of the course.

Operators were located at the start line for the 12K run,
at 4K, 6K, 8K, start line (4K), 9K, 10.5K, Finish Line
and at the Police Mobile Command Post at City Beach.
The Police relied upon information passed by this last operator
to co-ordinate the opening of barriers across side roads along the course.
The start line (12K) operator was in a St John Ambulance vehicle and followed the end of the field.
This arrangement was less than satisfactory, in that the vehicle had a fibreglass roof
and the only steel surfaces were either vertical or sloping at an angle of 45 degrees.
The end result was a 5/8 vertical projecting forward at an angle of 45 degrees
(looked like a unicorn according to Tony 6CV).
The organisers have promised a different vehicle for next year.

Total distance travelled by the operators involved was 462 Kms and total time was 32 man hours.

The following comments were written at the request of Ian Hunt VK5QX
to assist him in making a submission to a Member of Parliament.
It is not known whether any of the comments were actually used, as he had sought comments
from various groups associated with the Wireless Institute of Australia.

The first WICEN operation that I experienced was
a search for a Down's Syndrome youth
of about 15 years who had strayed away from a group on an organised outing to a National Park.
It was almost dusk when we were called out,
and by the time we had reached the search area it was almost dark.
A decision had been made to limit the number of vehicles travelling to the area,
and this meant that my equipment and vehicle were left at search headquarters in the city.
This was of no immediate concern, as the vehicle
I travelled in was set up with tranceiver and mobile antenna.
The area was outside the service area of the only available 2 metre repeater
and the distance and terrain was such that 2 metre simplex operation was not feasible.
This meant that HF on 80 metres was used,
but mobile vertical antennas were used at both ends of the circuit
and propagation conditions at the time meant that the two stations could not communicate.
However a station about 350 kilometres away
could hear both stations loud and clear and so was able to relay messages.
A station about 100 kilometres away joined in and was able to share the load
until this operator had to go to work at about 2300 hours.
The search parties in the field used a radio operator with a 2 metre handheld
who was able to communicate with the FEOC
(Forward Emergency Operating Centre)
where a 2 metre base station was operated.
The search was unsuccessful  up to 0100 hours
when it was decided to suspend the search until first light.

At dawn the search parties returned to the area
and with the lessons learned from the previous evening
a dipole was erected in the field and communication back to the city
was maintained without any problem.
The search concluded with the missing youth being found
safe and well in a cave where he had spent the night

Another search involved a missing school girl who had not returned home after school.
WICEN was not called out until 0500 hours the following morning,
but communication was no problem
because the search area was in the hills to the east of Perth
with a line of sight to the search headquarters in the city.
Consequently 2 metres simplex provided excellent communication.
However this search did not end happily because the girl had been murdered
and her body was found about 1300 hours.

A further search involved a sister and brother of about 10 and 7
who had been on a picnic with their parents and who had gone exploring
and were unable to find their way back to the spot they had left.
WICEN was called out at about 1800 hours and the area, while in hilly country,
was within the service area of a 2 metre repeater.
Communication into the repeater from the field was at times marginal, but always usable.
This search was about to be abandoned for the night at about 0100 when a search vehicle
using a loudspeaker to call the lost ones was successful in encouraging
them to make their way to the track down which the vehicle was travelling,
where they were picked up and returned to their grateful parents.

In more recent times, with improvements in SES communications
demand for the services of WICEN has diminished
and we have been concerned with Fun Runs and Car Rallies rather than search and rescue.

During a recent car rally, one of the vehicles rolled
and the co-driver sustained suspected spinal injuries.
The WICEN operator nearest the scene was requested to walk the reported 200 metres
to the crash scene and assess the situation.
The reported 200 metres turned out to be more like a kilometre,
but this distance was covered in good time
and he was able to communicate with the nearest fixed portable station on 2 metres.
The result was that an ambulance was moved onto the course
and the injured competitor transferred to hospital for assessment.
It eventually turned out that the injury was severe whiplash,
but of course it could have been more serious.

Jim Preston  VK6JP
November 1999
Visitors Since 7th February 2004

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