Archive for the ‘Archived Stories’ Category

Loop Charity Cycle Challenge 2019

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

Formerly “Loop the Lake” Bike Ride, this event no longer goes around Lake Macquarie south of Newcastle – rather down the eastern side to Doyalson and returns. The event is run by the Rotary Club of Warners Bay with support from other nearby Rotary clubs. Proceeds from the event support the Cancer Council of NSW – Hunter, Camp Quality – Hunter, John Hunter Children’s Hospital and Rotary Children’s and Health charities.

This year, John King was our Team leader for this event and thanks go to John for organising our participation. This year, the event ran on Sunday 10 March 2019.

As usual, preparation begins a few days before getting out the proposed UHF repeater for the event and giving it a test run. For this one, we are using a pair of Tait TM8110’s through a RF-Industries TX-RX Systems “Vari-Notch” diplexer and a collinear antenna fed by a bit of RG-8 grade Belden 9913 coaxial cable.

On the very late afternoon – actually, make that very early evening the day before, time to load everything into the vehicle including all welfare supplies for the trip to the nominated repeater site. We nominate Heaton Lookout for this one because it has a very good view over the Lake Macquarie area. We are jumping a few logistic hurdles at the moment, so we chose to take a trailer from Singleton instead of Newcastle for this event. The trailer gets picked up and it is then time to make a bee line for Cessnock. It is now 2130 hours. From Cessnock, after stopping for a meat pie and a bottle of Powerade, it is on to Kitchener then finally Sandy Creek Road then Heaton Road.

It has been a couple of years or so since I have been up to Heaton Lookout this way. I see the road condition has not improved. It is a lane and a half unsealed state forest road with numerous holes nearly big enough and deep enough to swallow a trailer. There is one school of thought in relation to this – by leaving it like this, drivers will need to travel quite slowly and this itself should mean avoiding a road accident in a less than ideal location – in theory.

Arrival at the lookout was at 2300 Hours. Again, in years gone by I would be the only one up there at this time of night. This year at least, there were three others up there. It becomes a challenge and the executive decision then has to be made: Setup the mast and antenna there and then or get up at 0530 and do it then. Which disturbs the neighbours the least? I chose the latter and hoped for the best.

On the day, there were nine of us from CREST-NSW who came to assist with members coming from Maitland, Newcastle, Prospect, Singleton and Sydney. We were up and running for the first participant leaving the start/finish at Speers Point Park at 0700 with the last in at around 1300 or so. This event also requires us to temporarily plumb a few mobile radios into floating marshal vehicles and the sweep bus.

By the time the repeater is packed up, the return trip made to Singleton, vehicle washed, fuelled, unpacked and garaged – it is now 1930 Hours. A big day.

Our setup at Heaton Lookout. In the background, just to the left of the trailer is Eraring Power Station near Dora Creek.

Singleton Mailrun Charity Bike Ride 2019

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

The Singleton Mailrun Charity Bike Ride is an annual fundraising event for the Singleton Family Support Centre. The event takes in the picturesque agricultural landscape of the north Eastern area of the Singleton Shire.

This event is in its seventh year and attracted a total of 475 riders. Participants had the choice between 20, 40, 65 and 100km routes.

The role for CREST NSW Inc is to implement and operate a communications network for safety and co-ordination. Along with the Singleton Motorcycle Club, it brings agencies CREST, NSW State Emergency Service and St John Ambulance together for what becomes a joint communications exercise. The Singleton Team of CREST is the liaison with the Singleton Family Support Centre along with others on a committee who work in unison to bring this event together. In terms of rider participants, every year this event continues to grow.

For us, everything comes together within the last two weeks. This includes making sure that we have enough UHF mobile radios for temporary installations in NSW State Emergency Service, St John Ambulance and sweep vehicles. There is also the odd working bee. We continue to ask ourselves – “Why do we continually do this to ourselves?” I guess the simple reason is,” Because we can!!!”. Not that long back, we had zero four wheel drive capability in Singleton for around nine months which makes repeater station servicing somewhat difficult.

Over the last few months, the tide has turned and we now have 3 available in our area. In particular, a 78 Series Land Cruiser Troop Carrier ex-Cairns State Emergency Service is a work in progress. We have fitted Black Duck seat covers, weather shields to both front doors, dash mat, replaced the work lights with LED variants and fitted amber primary and secondary warning lights in place of the previous red and blue lights. What we needed to get done was to get a VHF-Midband and UHF radio working properly since we wanted to use this vehicle as the lead vehicle. The two radios are mounted to individual “breadboards” mounted under the forward side seats in the rear – good enough for now until the next phase where we will stack a few radios on each side. We have also run a beefy 12V figure eight supply cable to said radios via a couple of fuse boxes. We finished this work on the Friday before so, just in time as usual. There are four remote radio heads plus a 27MHz AM/SSB mobile mounted on an across windscreen shelf console which looks pretty good. The vehicle now needs to sprout many an antenna – much more rain required!!!

We staffed nine locations as well as providing a lead vehicle and the forward command vehicle – “Ride Control”. This year, the Forward Command Vehicle was the CREST Unit 5 Isuzu pantech truck from Newcastle. To staff this many locations, out of area assistance is required. Personnel came from Maitland, Newcastle, Prospect and Sydney for which we are truly grateful. Five members from Singleton were also active on the day. We set the alarm for 0515 for 0630 at Ride Control. The event kicked off at 0700 and we were packed up by 1430 hours. That wasn’t the end of it however as there was still more to be done by some while others commenced the journey home from whence they came.

We used our fixed site repeater for the event as usual – utilising UHF as the primary channel and VHF-Midband as the secondary. There was radio traffic a plenty and all-in-all, a good communications exercise. It also ensured that the chemistry in the battery at the site was well stirred.

It is 0700 Hrs and time for the 100km to head out on the route. Here, John King leads the ride on board “Cairns 62”.

Bulahdelah Hill Climb – September 2018

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

The Bulahdelah Hill Climb is a motorsport event run twice yearly by the Myall Lakes Motor Sports Club Inc. It is patronised by a range of motoring enthusiasts with all sorts of vehicles. From rally bred Datsun 1600’s, Stanzas, Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Imprezza to virtually anything in between – Holden HQ’s and Toranas, Commodores, Falcons, Hyundai Excels, Subaru Forrester, Mercedes Benz and Volvo. Outright acceleration and the ability to corner are key as drivers engage the winding road and a couple of slaloms thrown in for good measure. On the day, there were 39 entrants.

For this event, we use a (not so) portable UHF CBRS repeater on the channel pair 7/37. A month prior to the event we advise the ACMA of its use as per the conditions on the apparatus licence.

In the week leading up to the event we get out the equipment, dust it off and give it the standard bench test.

The day before, we headed to the Bulahdelah area to erect the repeater mast, coax and antenna. The mast is not that high at 5m. The coaxial cable is a RG-8 specification (Belden 9913) to keep losses to a minimum and the antenna either a RF Industries Side Mounted Dipole or Vertically Enclosed Dipole for use on 470-490 MHz.

UHF CBRS mast, antenna and coax set up the day before, ready for action.

On the day of the event, we arrived on site at around 6.30AM to connect the electronics and make it all work. We used a Polar CN6X3X series duplexer to allow single antenna operation. For this particular event, we were using a pair of Tait TM8250 radios for the repeater – one for the receiver and the other for the transmitter. It was interesting to observe, but a nuisance to put up with, interference from a distance paging transmitter. Previously, we used the trusty old Philips FM828 and we just might go back to using one of those. The Philips has a bandpass filter built into the receiver front end – modern day radios do not. We might also go back to the Side Mounted Dipole (SMD) over the Vertically Enclosed Dipole. The polar response for the SMD antenna is a cardioid, so we have the option of trying to get such annoying signals into the null of its response.

This is the finish line. Time measurement from start to finish is automatic and the sstem uses an internet connection to achieve this. In times gone by, it actually used a very long run of cable! Speed measurement over the finish line is achieved by measuring the time taken to break two beams over 10m.
A tarpaulin makes for a handy shade to prevent the equipment from overheating in the sun.

Multisports events kick off for 2019

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Our 1st event for 2019 saw members from Sydney, Prospect and Singleton combine to provide safety communications races for a total of 150 entrants.

The race Start and Finish was at Cams Wharf on Lake Macquarie NSW. Competitors in Classic and Novice Courses run, mountain bike, kayak paddle, mountain bike, then finish with kayak paddle over various distances in a challenging area.

Race start
Competitors kayaking on the lake

Coastal Run

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

CREST Sydney, Prospect, Singleton on 7 July 2018 attended Max Adventure’s Rafferty’s Coastal Run, a 12km 22km and 36km trail run hosted from Rafferty’s Resort, Lake Macquarie.
The course takes in the sights of beautiful Lake Macquarie and the stunning coastline of Catherine Hill Bay and the Munmorah State Conservation Area.
Our task was to set up and manage a safety communications network consisting of 2 repeater sites, using VHF Midband and 2 new portable UHF channels.
There were just under 1,000 competitors and the day was sunny but very chilly, with a gusty wind.
The first male home in the 36km completed the run in just over 2½ hours!

CREST Volunteers at the Rafferty's Coastal Run

CREST Volunteers at the Rafferty’s Coastal Run

40th Anniversary Dinner report

Friday, March 24th, 2017

We all enjoyed the 40th anniversary dinner held at Wallsend on Saturday 6th August.

Apart from a good attendance by members from across the State, we appreciated support from our Patron, Greg Ackman of Mobile One Antennas, Paul Humphreys of H Events and Trevor Millgate of Cessnock Rescue Squad representing the head of the VRA, Mark Gibson.

Our guest speaker was Trudy Hanson who told us 1st-hand of the beginnings of CREST.

We were also honoured to welcome Anna Payne, widow of Bill the founder of CREST who passed away in March 2015.

The function was held at the Wallsend Diggers Club who served up pumpkin soup and cannelloni, followed by melt in your mouth scotch fillet and pine nut crusted barramundi fillet.

In lieu of dessert, Anna cut and distributed our CREST 40th birthday cake and the Club put what was left over in the fridge overnight to be gobbled up at our morning tea on Sunday.

Anna’s guest was Bill Payne’s nephew, Bill Jackson who as a young boy used to accompany his uncle, learnt to operate the early radios and watched history being made.

We were all impressed by the many displays of radios from the beginnings to the present and also memorabilia including newspapers from the time CREST was bubbling up under the surface. Our thanks to Andrew Pain, Terry Matts, Des Cottle, Greg Ackman.

Anna brought along her late husband’s Order of Australia medal from Australia Day 2014, his Certificate and framed photos of the presentation to him by Dame Marie Bashir, then Governor of NSW.
The age range of attendees was 22 to 90.  One member everyone was keen to see from the early days was John Manthey, accompanied by his wife Nola.
Thank you everyone for coming and making it a really enjoyable evening.

CREST NSW 40 year Anniversary Dinner

Friday, February 12th, 2016


You’re invited to a Dinner celebrating

CREST NSW and its 40 years

assisting the community with communications and safety

Where: Diggers

5 Tyrrell Street


(11km from Newcastle CBD)

When: Saturday, 6th August, 2016

6:00 for 6:30 pm

Cost: $40.00 each, at time of booking – please advise any special dietary requirements

Online ANZ, BSB: 012 754, A/c: 201 881 916 –

email receipt to,

A/c Name or cheque in favour: “CREST NSW INC”

You should note that bookings are not confirmed until payment received

RSVP: Friday 22nd July 2016 – email


OR text/phone Julie on 0414 949 768

St Albans Writers’ Festival

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Julie Garrash and Des Cottle (CREST NSW Sydney Post) attended the St Albans Writers’ Festival from 17 to 20 September 2015 in St Albans NSW. The request for assistance came to CREST from the event organisers impressed with our work with the St Albans RFS and Max Adventure for the Convict 100 event.

The CREST logo and name were mentioned on the event website and we were officially thanked at the end of the event. The organisers are considering running this event every 2 years.

Letter of thanks

CREST preparing for a celebration

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

CREST will be turning 40 in 2016 and is currently preparing for a celebration. Past members and those who we have assisted are encouraged to get in touch with CREST via info <at> crest <dot> org <dot> au. A press release is attached.


CREST turning 40

Founder of CREST passes

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

A Eulogy delivered at by the CREST Executive at a wake to honour Bill Payne

Since the creation of CREST in 1976 by Bill, the organisation has seen many changes.

The initial aim of providing a Monitoring Service to assist travellers and others in times of emergency saw the organisation spread across the country.

As technology moved on and the Mobile Phone became more affordable, this monitoring service provided by CREST appeared to have outlived its usefulness.

While still providing this monitoring in some areas, CREST finds that the emphasis is now on Safety Communications for organised sporting events.

CREST Members in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland regularly turn out to assist Marathon Runs, Triathlons, Adventure races and a myriad of other events.

This is a legacy of Bill.

By Des Cottle (NSW 1)
State Director

Bill Payne order of service 12 03 15