Irish Amateur Radio experimenters in Dublin and Wicklow provided radio communications for the Circuit of Imaal walk, which took place on the 21st of June.
The walk, organised by An Óige, covered 37 kilometres.
Radio operators were:
Gerry Butler EI0CH (Ballinabarney)
John Hill EI0DK (floating/reserve)
Tom McGrath EI7HT (Donard School)
Joe Ryan EI7GY (Lug)
Kyle O’Connell EI2JO (Table Track)
Philip Pollock EI8JT (Lobawn)
Radio base station made use of Tom McGrath’s personal callsign for the operation.
AREN has been providing safety communications for the Glen of Imaal walk since 1990. AREN has also been providing safety communications for the Lug Walk, held in uneven numbered years, since 1987. Safety communications enhances the overall safety of the Walk by providing the Walk Control Group with information as to the progress of the Walk and the occurrence of any incidents. It does not replace Mountain Rescue Communications in dealing with an incident, although it may supplement them. The initial organisation of the AREN Net was undertaken by John Hill, EI0DK, and more recently by Gerry Butler, EI0CH.
Beginning in Donard village it traversed the main mountaintops around the Glen of Imaal. This year’s walk took place on Saturday the 21st of June, which turned out to be “the longest rainy day of the year”, in the words of one of the walkers.
With an entry of approximately 100 walkers and the worst weather conditions for many years, there were plenty of challenges for the walk organisers and the Radio Experimenters supporting them. With almost zero visibility, many walkers had difficulties with navigation. Amateur Radio communications proved
invaluable in ensuring that a search was launched for a number of missing walkers, and some of the experimenters providing the communications support were also involved in escorting walkers, who had dropped out of the event, safetly back to base.
A special mention must go to John/EI0DK who went, pardon the pun, extra mile for radio operations on the day.
After ascending to his designated operation position he suffered equipment failure due to extreme weather conditions. John hiked back down to the carpark, got his spare radio equipment, extra clothes, and then hiked back up to his station.
This was much appreciated as, without John, that station would have been unmanned.
Well done to those who helped out both in pre-event preparations and on the day.