Eastbourne and Wealden RAYNET
Annual Report for 2010
APRS Report 2010
Controllers Report for 2010
This year started off with three emergency callouts by the East Sussex NHS Hospital Trust to provide communications and assist in the transportation of key staff to and from the Eastbourne and Hastings Hospitals. Base stations were set up at the Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, the latter as the key Hastings RAYNET Group members were snowed in.
Operation Snow I – Saturday 9 January 2010
Operation Snow II – Sunday10 January 2010
Operation Snow III – Thursday 11 February 2010
The events were protracted and operators were working up to 18 hours per event which is far longer than is advisable but it was not possible to bring in relief operators from other groups due to impassable roads. A total of 865 Operator hours were recorded and more than 700 messages logged over the three emergencies.
The group clocked up 1765 miles which equated to about £500.00 worth of fuel. Unfortunately, the East Sussex NHS Hospital Trust has not reimbursed the group or its members for outlay on fuel.
Currently, the group is looking to agree an Memorandum of Understanding MOU with the East Sussex NHS Hospital Trust and other User Services for the future via the Sussex Voluntary Resilience Group SVRG. The MOU would include services that the Group can provide and the expectation that valid expenses will be reimbursed.
Operation Snow Watch Tuesday 30th November, Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd December 2010
The group was called out by the Eastbourne District General Hospital DGH at 16:00 hours. Six members were able to respond and two 4X4 vehicles were despatched to transport them the DGH and to collect staff and take them home to outlying areas. At approximately 18:00 hours the Conquest Hospital requested assistance, Hastings RAYNET were contacted but unfortunately none of the members have 4X4 vehicles and most were snowed in.
At 19:19 hours it was possible to free up one 4X4 to travel to the Conquest Hospital to and to pick staff on route. The last mobile G8NFZ closed at home after midnight having travelled back and forth transporting staff to the Conquest and the last journey transferring a doctor from Eastbourne to Hastings.
Direct radio contact was made with Phill Hills G7JRV, South Sussex GC and maintained through the period of operation on the 30 November.
Operations restarted at 06:00 hours on Wednesday with G0BUX 4X4 travelling to DGH Eastbourne and M6DRL to the Conquest Hospital picking up staff on route. APRS trackers were used in both vehicles and the Eastbourne and Wealden RAYNET digipeater sited at Heathfield proved its worth. The control station(s) were able to maintain a track of G0BUX-13 and M6DRL-15 with up to the minute positioning, which made the control work much easier. The morning work was complete by 13:00 and stations took a well earned break before activities recommenced at 17:00 hours. Steve G8NFZ shouldered the work transporting people in the Hastings and rural areas finally arriving home at 01:15 hours on 1 December.
Overnight on Wednesday 1st heavy snow falls occurred, when the net formed at 06:30 on Thursday 2nd the WX reports were -4C and heavy snow. Operations carried through out Thursday. A call was received from the Eastbourne DGH requesting urgent assistance in transporting a midwife from Upper Beeding to the DGH, James G8AJP travelled 102 miles in treacherous driving conditions in the dark and in temperatures of -5C to collect the midwife and get her to the DGH. James G8AJP travelled outside the coverage area of the Eastbourne TTU and Tony G8WBI was able to QSP traffic from his home in central Brighton which was very useful. I guess some operations can be cancelled but babies will arrive when they want to. The net finally closed at 22:27 hours.
Friday 3rd December the net commenced at 06:30 hours and Bob G0BUX set off for the Eastbourne District General Hospital to collect the midwife and take her home to Upper Beeding. Bob G0BUX reported that the roads were generally clear and the Army had been brought in by the NHS Trust. Eastbourne & Wealden RAYNET Group stood down at 09:48.
As stated earlier APRS trackers were used in G0BUX and M6DRL vehicles this confirmed the evidence from use at community events that APRS could be of great benefit to RAYNET. The Eastbourne and Wealden RAYNET digipeater MB7UEW sited at Heathfield provided fantastic coverage and proved its worth. I am sure that Bob G0BUX and Tony G8WBI and the APRS team are very happy with success of the APRS project, well done. What Operation Snow did highlight was the need for a digipeater to infill the coverage gap on the A27 from Lewes to Arundel.
A total of 15 Eastbourne & Wealden members were involved in the operation and grateful thanks go to:
Bob Clinton G0BUX
Steve Sims G8NFZ
Daryl Wilcox M6DRL
Tony Seabrook G3ZQB
John Dennis G4ZOQ
John Kay M0RYA
Patricia Jeffries G8TNH
And to those who were standing by to assist
Kate Glover M1DRB
James Eade G8AJP
Andy Holter M3OWF
Phil Penfold 2E0RAJ
Richard Taylor M0HJL
James Harris M0GUR
Jack Macy, M5YNF
During the three days of operation the group provided over 250 operator hours, transported over 60 members of staff and covered nearly 1000 miles.
I am also indebted to Phill Hills G7JRV South Sussex Group for generally assisting and liaising with the Isle of Wight Group on Thursday evening when they also had a callout and as we both use 144.675Mhz and to the IOW Group for their forbearance. And to John Rivers G0GCQ Hastings and Rother Group for his assistance in trying to find operators that were not snowed in.
The rest of 2010.
During 2010 the Group has completed and consolidated some long running projects, The APRS Repeater and two TTU’s for the East Sussex Emergency Team.
I am very pleased to be able to welcome James Harris 2E0BVZ, Chris Jenkins M3LUH and Richard Taylor M0HJL and to welcome back Kate Glover M1DRB to the group. Unfortunately, I am sorry to report that we have lost three members Colin G7NKU due to his wife’s poor health. Jono, M5FUN who has graduated from University and is now working in the USA and last but not least Stuart M0CHW our treasurer due to personal reasons.
Events & Exercises in 2010.
Saturday 9 January Emergency Callout
Sunday 10 January Emergency Callout
Friday 5 February Exercise Snowstorm
Thursday 11 February Emergency Callout
Sunday 7 March Eastbourne Half Marathon
Saturday 17 April RCU Training
Saturday 5 June Photoplod
Saturday 19 June Hailsham Carnival & Lark in the Park
Sunday 27 June Lewes to Newhaven
Saturday 7 August RCU Maintenance
Saturday 21 August RCU Maintenance
Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 October Downsman Hike
Saturday 9 October Bonfire Procession
Saturday 23 October Beachy Head Marathon
Tuesday 30 November & Wednesday 1 December
Thursday 2 December
Friday 3 December Emergency Callout
Operation Snow Watch
Monday 13 December Annual General Meeting
This year the number of community events we have supported has dropped to an all time low of five plus supporting South Sussex on the Downsman Hike. This is disappointing when you consider in the past we attended up to 16 events.
The company that organised the Sussex Triathlon went in to liquidation, the BHF 1066 decided that they would rely on mobile phone for communications and two other events have failed to provide promised donations. However, I am pleased to say that both organisations have promised to pay but they have had treasurer problems.
The result is that our income from donations has dropped this year and it leaves the group dependant on two, possible three, key events next year to keep the group’s finances in a healthy state.
The first event this year was Exercise Snowstorm that took place on Friday 5th February, the prime objective of the exercise was to practice written message handling. Bob G0BUX and Roger G7VBR operated the control station and found that the workloads involved in handling written messages can be very high.
The Eastbourne Half Marathon on 7th March was the first big event of the year. It gave the group another opportunity to explore how APRS could be used in events. As in the previous year Bob G0BUX masterminded the APRS aspect and introduced some innovative ideas for installing APRS kit in to cars. The system worked flawlessly and provided 100% coverage as it did in 2009.
June was the busiest month Saturday 5th June saw Photoplod take place, again we were kindly supported by South Sussex Group by covering the first 3 check points. Pat G8TNH and I ran control from our home QTH and we had good signal paths to most CPs. Next year Photplod is being organised in a different way and may move to July, watch this space.
The next event in June was the Hailsham Carnival and Lark in the Park on Saturday 19th. The RCU was sited on the Maurice Thornton playing fields, and we operated both voice and APRS which worked extremely well. Fortunately the WX was fantastic and a large number of spectators turned out for the Carnival and the Lark in the Park.
I am not sure whether we will be involved with this event next year, our contribution is limited due to the way the event is managed, again watch this space
The last event in June was one of our favourites, the Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race which took place on Sunday 27th June, The RAYNET Control Unit RCU was located at Fort Rise outside the entrance to the Newhaven Fort and we are grateful to the Fort for making their facilities available to us. This QTH provides a really good take off to the North and we had good copy on all Operators including Tony G8WBI and Daryl M0DRL at the start in Lewes. And good handheld coverage to John M0RYA at Southease, Iris G6ZNO and Peter G6GVM at Piddinghoe, Steve G8NFZ at Denton Island. Bob G0BUX and 2E0RAJ managed the slipway supported by G8WBI and Daryl M0DRL at the Lifeboat station. The RCU was managed by Pat G8TNH supported by Jack M3YNF and Dick G4KAR, the WX was good and we all had a very enjoyable day. This event was poorly supported by the public due to an England world cup football match and it may put the event in jeopardy next year.
The Downsman Hike took place on Saturday 2nd October and Sunday 3rd October, this was an overnight event and I am grateful to G8AJP, G7VBR and G8NFZ for supporting South Sussex Group on this overnight event.
The Eastbourne Bonfire Society Torchlight Parade took on Saturday 9th October. The WX leading up to the event was poor but on the day was very kind and the event went off very well with no problems for the organisers. Pat G8TNH managed the RCU and Richard, M0HJL attended his first event logging and operating with Pat. Kate M1DRB returned to the group and had a baptism of fire (and fireworks!) as she was the liaison for the firework display. Sussex Police utilised the RCU as their Silver Command point.
The Beachy Head Marathon took place on Saturday 23th October, 1750 people registered for the event. The BHM is our largest event of the year and relies on as many of our members to assist as possible, fortunately this was the case this year. We used APRS operationally for this event, deploying 6 mobile trackers and 2 portable trackers for the walking sweepers. I am pleased to report that the APRS equipment operated successfully and we gained some useful APRS operational experience. A full report is available for anyone who would like a copy, please let me know. This year’s event was organised and managed, for the first time, by Eastbourne Borough Council’s Tourism Department. The WX was poor at the star of the Marathon and threatened to cause problems but as it turned out there were only one or two injuries and few retirements. Thanks to Alan G6SDP for managing the RAYNET involvement in the event and to Bob G0BUX for masterminding the APRS communications.
MB7UEW - APRS Automatic Packet Reporting System Repeater.
As reported last year the APRS Repeater has been a substantial project and a large amount of work has gone in to bringing the project to fruition the APRS Repeater.
MB7UEW went live on 13 February 2010 and is intended to provide infill coverage from Lewes across to Hastings including the coastal area from Eastbourne to Hastings. The activation was a culmination 18 months development of a project conceived five years ago lead by Tony G8WBI and Bob G0BUX and supported by the rest of the APRS sub group. The digipeater will benefit APRS enthusiasts and enhance the position tracking benefits APRS provides for RAYNET operations.
The digipeater has an effective radiated power of 10dBW and utilises an omni-directional antenna 188m above mean sea level. In the event of mains power failure the digipeater is equipped to run off battery power for about 40 hours. The APRS digipeater was developed to provide coverage from Lewes in the East to Hastings in the West and the Wealden and coastal area.
Bob will give a full report on APRS progress in his report.
To follow up the theory training session held in November 2009 a practical training day was held at Hailsham Fire Station. It consisted of a hands on how to fit APRS equipment in to an event vehicle, including bicycle. How to set RCU up the and how to close it down. A hands on message handling session was also run to put the previous class room theory in to practice.
Cleartone CM7200 & Tait T2020 PMR 4 Meter radios.
As mentioned the group has a number of CM7200 mobile radios plus some Tait T2020 transportable radios acquired this year. I have managed to program the two of the Tait T2020 radios for 4 metres successfully but need to try to understand how to get them to scan, I am still working on it.
The Cleartone CM 7200 are still awaiting the time to program them. As soon as time can be found they will be modified and offered to group if there any not taken up we will offer then to South Sussex and possibly other Sussex
Talkthrough Through Units TTU.
The ESCC TTUs have both now been installed, they are located at St Mary’s House, Eastbourne and County Hall, Lewes a brief test of both units has been carried out by Tony G8WBI. Tony and Dick G4KAR have also carried out a brief coverage check of the St Mary’s House, Eastbourne unit. They are more flexible than the TTU at Butts and are able to change pre-programmed channels and to disable CTCSS.
Full coverage tests of both TTUs are planned as part of a group exercises early next year.
While at the Zone 6 Meeting I discussed TTUs with Alan Stuart G3ZHB and he showed me a modified Kenwood TM71E that can be remotely controlled. It is exactly what we have been looking for to replace the aging Icom IC3230H. So the group has purchased a TM71E and had it modified by Walters and Stanton to enable cross band repeat to be controlled remotely.
2011 Diary of Events
Please add these dates to you diaries:
Sunday 6 February 2011 - APRS and TTU Coverage Tests
Sunday 6th March 2011 - Eastbourne Half Marathon
Friday 29 & Saturday 30 July 2011 PLOD: Southdowns Way
Sunday 2 October 2011 - Cycle Event TBC
Saturday 8 October 2011 - Eastbourne Bonfire Torchlight Procession
Saturday 22nd October - Beachy Head Marathon
Zone 6 Coordinator
At the Zone 6 AGM I was elected as Zone 6 Coordinator (SE Counties). I am looking forward to being involved nationally again, I held the post from 1980 -1986 and found it very interesting. However, my first priority is our group and I will ensure that the group still gets my full attention.
As mentioned in previous RAYNET updates I am sorry to lose Stuart M0CHW as our Treasurer and from the group. Stuart and Cath have done a splendid job as Treasurer and Cath in her previous role as Auditor. I know you will join me in wishing them the very best for the future.
Dick Jeffries, G4KAR
Eastbourne & Wealden RAYNET Group