For more than 20 years I have been assisting the SRESU with radio communications for Scouthike, an annual competition hike for scouts in Victoria. I’ve blogged about it in the past – 2008, 2009 ,2010, 2011.
The event had always been held the weekend after the first Tuesday in November (Melbourne Cup day). In 2011 a decision was made to move Scouthike to the last weekend in May to attract more participants and ensure continued success of the event.
This year’s Scouthike was this weekend. Unfortunately on Friday before the event the part of Victoria where Scouthike was being held was being lashed with the heaviest rainfall in quite some time along with strong winds and low temperatures. The forecast didn’t look much better for the rest of the weekend either.
At about 4 pm the hike chief decided that the conditions in the forest were such that the event could no longer be staged safely and, in a move that I support 100%, canceled the event.
I was about 30 km from the site and had been driving through non-stop rain, having packed the car in the rain as well, when I got the call to say it had been canceled.
While it may have been disappointing for the 700 scouts who were planning to attend the management of such an event in those conditions may well have exceeded the capacity of those charged with the responsibility and safety of all involved.
So, for the first time in more than 20 years no radio traffic was sent or received by me at Scouthike.
We did however head back to the site today to help the sleep point team dismantle the elaborate camp that had been built to accommodate the scouts in the foul weather that was predicted.
Hopefully the event can continue, if not later this year, then next year. The event has previously proved a very useful testing area for antennas such a 5 wavelength rhombic for 20 m, quad loop, 20/40m trapped vertical, 80m ground plane as well as the development of the VK3RSR 2m and VK3RSS 70 cm portable repeaters.