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.