Posts Tagged ‘Raynet’

My first RAYNET event

Sunday I took part in my first RAYNET event at the Walk for Parkinson's at Burghley House in Lincolnshire. This was a sponsored walk to raise money for Parkinson's UK a research and support charity working to help find a cure and improve life for those affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Starting at the Burghley House stately home, participants could chose to do either a gentle 3 mile stroll within the grounds or a more challenging 10-mile walk out of the park and through the Barnack Hills and Holes National Nature Reserve.


RAYNET's task was to provide communication support to the organisers with operators situated around the course at various marshalling points to pass messages and if necessary request assistance.

Earlier in the year there was a presentation about the work of RAYNET at the South Kesteven ARS by Jim Wheeldon (M0JHW) and Alan Clarke (M0NLR) after which I'd offered my services for future events, so when Jim called me and asked for some help I was happy to oblige.

My task was quite straightforward, simply manning one of the marshal points along the course directing the walkers and making sure they were happy and injury free, if not I was to call for assistance. Despite being under the weather for the last few days with a bad head cold and a painful sore throat I still turned out and really enjoyed helping.


It was nice to use my radio licence and equipment for something useful, spending a pleasant morning in the sunshine talking to the walkers and some local residents explaining all about amateur radio.


RAYNET was formed back in the 1950s following the East Coast floods to provide a way of organising the valuable resource that Amateur Radio is able to provide to the community. While it is called the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network the majority of its work nowadays is to provide support to community events, like the sponsored walk.

However it can still be called up to offer assistance at incidents such as the recent Shoreham Airshow plane crash. The South Sussex RAYNET group, assisted by members of South Kent RAYNET, were already providing communications support for the organisers and the user services at the airshow when the Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed into vehicles on the A27 during a flying display.

It was reported that following the crash the area was in lock down in four hours and it the demand on the local mobile networks by concerned spectators, residents and residents outstripped capacity making normal communication difficult. RAYNET operators were able to provide much needed support in the aftermath.

My first RAYNET event

Sunday I took part in my first RAYNET event at the Walk for Parkinson's at Burghley House in Lincolnshire. This was a sponsored walk to raise money for Parkinson's UK a research and support charity working to help find a cure and improve life for those affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Starting at the Burghley House stately home, participants could chose to do either a gentle 3 mile stroll within the grounds or a more challenging 10-mile walk out of the park and through the Barnack Hills and Holes National Nature Reserve.


RAYNET's task was to provide communication support to the organisers with operators situated around the course at various marshalling points to pass messages and if necessary request assistance.

Earlier in the year there was a presentation about the work of RAYNET at the South Kesteven ARS by Jim Wheeldon (M0JHW) and Alan Clarke (M0NLR) after which I'd offered my services for future events, so when Jim called me and asked for some help I was happy to oblige.

My task was quite straightforward, simply manning one of the marshal points along the course directing the walkers and making sure they were happy and injury free, if not I was to call for assistance. Despite being under the weather for the last few days with a bad head cold and a painful sore throat I still turned out and really enjoyed helping.


It was nice to use my radio licence and equipment for something useful, spending a pleasant morning in the sunshine talking to the walkers and some local residents explaining all about amateur radio.


RAYNET was formed back in the 1950s following the East Coast floods to provide a way of organising the valuable resource that Amateur Radio is able to provide to the community. While it is called the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network the majority of its work nowadays is to provide support to community events, like the sponsored walk.

However it can still be called up to offer assistance at incidents such as the recent Shoreham Airshow plane crash. The South Sussex RAYNET group, assisted by members of South Kent RAYNET, were already providing communications support for the organisers and the user services at the airshow when the Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed into vehicles on the A27 during a flying display.

It was reported that following the crash the area was in lock down in four hours and it the demand on the local mobile networks by concerned spectators, residents and residents outstripped capacity making normal communication difficult. RAYNET operators were able to provide much needed support in the aftermath.

A summer outside

During the week I took a trip with 3 other members of the Workington Amateur Radio Club (MX0WRC.org) to the Furness Amateur Radio Club. A short hours drive away courtesy of Barry, G0RZI. There was a 2 pronged attack on their club, firstly Glyn M0UXH gave the low legendary power supplies presentation (legendary as it has the dubious honour of being the most postponed talk at the club) and my chat about what we do as a club with a hot soldering iron.

What struck me is what might be a common theme for clubs, not just with amateur radio, but the fact that we can all get a bit stale. What also struck me was that we have a similar demographic. Some really talented, clever people who can design and build stuff without batting an eyelid. Some (and I include myself in this) enthusiastic but short on skills and experience, and those that just like to use stuff.

I shared our experiences with building the Radio Kits digital power and SWR meter, the Ultimate 3 kit from Hans Summers and my experiences with Arduino’s. The latter included the great stuff being done by K3NG (Radio Artisan bloke) and those that support his work in producing kits and PCB’s. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who has an interest in the ‘Maker’ fraternity and that tinkering is alive and well in Cumbria.

In between all this mucking about I do occasionally operate. But owing the excellent summer we’ve had I prefer to be outside, in fact I should be out on my MTB today but I’ve got a 10k race on Tuesday and don’t fancy doing it after an ‘off’. This weekend is the Cumbria Raynet support to the SBU 35 trail race from Bassenthwaite to St Bees over Honister. First one home in about 5hrs 30mins and the last around 12 hours. A long day for us but nothing compared to the competitors. Maybe I’ll do it next year. Maybe I’ll make use of Ennerdale Brewery instead, the summer ale was great.

After that it is most definitely heading for Autumn and time to bring out the mic, soldering iron and broken PCB’s. Looking forward to it already!

Cumbria Raynet and SBU35

One of our local runners approached me a few months ago, knowing I was a bit of a radio geek asking for advice on which walkie talkies to use for his upcoming trail race. For the unitiated a trail race is a bit like an old fashioned cross country but it generally goes over some serious terrain and can be quite long. Jon’s event was from Bassenthwaite to St Bees, totaling 35 miles. Not to be sniffed at. I’d suggested at the time that walkie talkes might not do it and as a member of the local Raynet group I offered our services.

Well the event was yesterday and after the runners set off at 8am I was manning checkpoint 1, some 20 miles into the race. Only the first couple of people through the check point looked ‘sprightly’ the rest took on more knackered looks as they went through. Eventually some RAF guys came through with packs on and the stragglers shuffled on. What’s this got to do with Ham Radio?

Well. the Cumbria Raynet group support a few of these types of events and I think our services were appreciated. The organiser thanked us and said he didn’t realise how complicated the whole thing was to maintain communications in a mountainous place. Perhaps it was the relief or local beer (Ennerdale Blonde) that helped his cheery outlook. Perhaps next year I’ll run it…with an APRS tracker! (It’ll need to be a very lightweight one though)

Fred Whitton challenge support

A few years ago, when children,  pets and work didn’t need so much attention I took part in a bike race (commonly called a sportive) which took in 6 passes in the lake district (kirkstone, honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose) in a 112 mile day out on 2 wheels. This time I shall not be cycling but helping out with the local Raynet group.

Saturday had us checking the local communication paths for the various areas. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in any of this kind of thing so Paul, 2E0EET took me through the basics and now I’m looking forward to being a spectator and watching those who’ve trained for months on end to attempt this formidable ride.

It took me over 7:30 hrs when I did it do giving up the same amount of time with the rig at cockley beck (not too far from the Hardknott summit) seems a small price for my earlier enjoyment.


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