Sometimes when you get up in the morning, especially when it’s dark and windy do you feel like going back to bed?? Especially when you glance at the weather station and see that not only has there been strong wind, but there has been an inch of rain since you went to bed the night before . . . Do we really have to go out on exercise?? . . . Of course!!

 So exercise Holkam Cycle ride 2008 started, never mind the flooded roads and idiot car drivers, getting up early, travelling a good distance and then getting set up in wind and rain!! This is actually a good start to a Raynet exercise. If we have to be called out, then it will most likely be very windy and very wet. Those who were on the November call out will agree, and certainly a night on Walcott Sea Front is very similar! Arriving at Holkam I found M3WZN set up at CP5 where he was soon joined by a group of marshals.

 Control was set up at CP1, with the pump up mast and slim jim, G7RNN/P  using 25W of power, soon raised all the CPs and we were able to report to the event organiser that we were on station waiting for the rush of cyclists . . . a small smile was seen at this point.

 Leaving Terry, tucked up warmly in his car as controller with 2E0BMI as his assistant for the day, I slowly made my way around the course, G0SMS doing secretarial work at CP2, G7IJD in his stately mobile home at CP3 and G7FSI surprisingly in a very nifty canvas workman’s hut at CP4. Oh and did I say that on the way from the obelisk to the gates, not only was there brown water flowing down the road, but in one dip it was flooded to the depth of around 12 inches (30cm to our metric cousins) and at least a car length across. I didn’t see any cyclists swimming across the pool, but I saw very few cyclists all day . . . On the way again, past CP5 where M3WZN was having some problem reaching control – a lot of wet trees between him and control. Later he did try putting up a an aerial on a mast and discovered the problems of doing it in wet and windy conditions. It fell over and a car ran over it . . . CP7 brought up 2E0ILH who was pleased to get his poppyline mug before driving on through the pheasants to CP8 where M3NLK was busy swotting for his 2E exam.

 Once set up we played the usual game of where is the support/rescue van – anyone seen it? Especially when it was needed to go and rescue 2 flat tires (their bikes and riders) between CP7 and 8. Never fear Raynet to the rescue!! – We drove the repair man out and 2E0BMI saw tires changed in the rain!! As part of 2E0BMI’s learning experience he went and met all operators, had a spell at CP7 while we relieved 2E0ILH and then had a spell as controller to help complete his first ever Raynet exercise.

Also on their first exercise were G7FSI and M3NLK (though Nigel had been called out last November to the real thing!). This year there were only around 130 cyclists in total, well down on last year’s total which was around twice that number, but for a Raynet exercise it was a distinct success and there are now a good core of members who will be able to cope in an emergency, who know that their radio setups work when needed and how to make sure that they can get through to control.

I think we can now look forward to the winter months knowing that if needed we can respond with members who will be confident in what they might be asked to do.

Finally can I thank the following for turning out on an extremely wet and windy morning, though it did turn very cold, windy and sunny by the mid afternoon – CP1, controller – Terry, G4PSH and James, 2E0BMI; CP2 - Diane, G0SMS; CP3, - Tony, G7IJD; CP4 – Barry, G7FSI; CP5 – John, M3WZN; CP7 – Ian, 2E0ILH and CP8 – Nigel, M3NLK.

It is you people who make an event like this easy for me and gives such a good impression to the event organisers – we have been asked to do Fritton Lake and Holkam next year already – first Sunday in June and first in October are the provisional dates – look forward to you turning out for them!!

If people reading this haven’t been out on an exercise, then do sign up when we have one as they are good experience, if only to test your equipment in the field on the day – even if you can only come for half a day, your presence would be welcome.

Steve, g7vah,

controller North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth Groups, Norfolk County Raynet

Holkam Hall Cycle Ride De-Brief

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Holkam Cycle Ride de-brief

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