The River Paddling Marathon 200 event staged by the Marathon Canoe Club of SA will again be running over the June long weekend from Berri to Morgan in South Australia’s Riverland. Staged over 3 days from June 6-8, this event will see over 100 competitors brave the winter cold to paddle the mighty Murray River downstream for 200km.
Once again, the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group in conjunction with the Riverland Radio Club, is supporting this major community event with a safety communications radio network. Communications is provided via a combination of Amateur and Commercial VHF/UHF radio networks. The radio team operates 20 check points, including 3 locks, 9 starting lines, 3 finish lines, the event command post and provides VHF command and APRS tracking of 4 safety boats plus the event medics. This is all delivered via a 2m/70cm FM network using a combination of local and portable repeater systems deployed specifically for this event.
Andy VK5AKH visiting Ivan VK5HS and Peter VK5FLEX at one of the checkpoints
Would you like to get involved?
To cover all of the checkpoints and roles, the group needs a small army of volunteers. Members from both AREG and RRC have been the backbone of the event now for over 5 years. This year, we would love to broaden the engagement further. If you are a member of any of the local radio clubs, WICEN SA, WICEN VIC or just an individual with 2m/70cm mobile capabilities and you would like to get involved, please contact us via email@example.com to express your interest. Registrations are open until the end of March 2020.
What do you need to participate?
We keep the check point requirements simple. Each checkpoint is open for ~3-4 hours and mostly operators are only rostered on for one checkpoint a day.
For most checkpoints a 2WD vehicle and a 25W or higher 2m mobile radio with a car mounted antenna is usually sufficient to reach the comms network. 70cm is used in a limited number of check points too. Minimum teams of 2 are preferred, one for spotting and one for manning the radio. If you wish to participate as an individual we can pair you up with one of the other operators for the day.
If you have never participated in the event before, there will be a briefing night held in Adelaide several weeks before the event. If you are new to the event, our event planners will stage you with one of the more experienced operators to show you the ropes the first year.
Paul VK5BX and Peter VK5KX running Net Control
The Radio network participants are mostly based out of Kingston on Murray caravan park for the event and many come and stay for the three days. AREG provides financial assistance towards the cost of accommodation and one of the meals during the event. People usually arrive in the area Friday afternoon (and a small team gets to work that day installing the radios in the boats around 4.30pm at Waikerie). The event is over by 4pm on Monday afternoon leaving plenty of time to drive back to Adelaide.
If you cant come for the full three days, on the Monday in particular it has not been uncommon for people to come up just for the day from Adelaide. (Day 3 is centred near Morgan so is within easy reach).
So if a fun relaxing 3 days on the Murray River interests you please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest! We would love to see more members of the Amateur Radio community getting involved and supporting this fantastic community event!