The West Cork

I’m just back from a very tough weekend in Clonakilty.

Several months ago, Conor, EI4JN, asked me if I would mind helping him out on the communications side of things over the weekend as he was the Communications officer for the event. Suffice it to say, all went pretty smoothly on the communications side of things. We had done a recce of possibly repeater sites several weeks ago and Conor was confident that they would provide good coverage for the course cars/radio points for the event.

We had two repeaters situated in farmers fields, one East of Clon (on a 36 foot portable mast), and one West (24 portable foot mast), both running on battery power (a 110AH Lead Acid Battery) for the weekend. So we had to check on them at various times over the weekend and decide whether to replace/try and recharge them. In AREN, Anderson Power Poles are the standard connector we use on all our equipment (PP15’s, PP30’s and PP45’s) so we first fitted each repeater with Power Poles and this allowed us to put a Whattmeter on each between the battery and repeater, we then just had to read the meter to see the power consumption and then make a decision on it (more details and pictures later).

Thankfully Conor’s plan worked and we had excellent repeater coverage both days, and any problems we had were simply faulty radio’s/antenna leads that had to be replaced. At the start of one stage on Sunday the timing equipment got knocked over and damaged by a gust of wind, after a few minutes of surgery we had that back working again. We proceeded through to the end and on to SS19 where we stayed until they kicked
us out about 5am.

Sunday afternoon we (Conor and I) were after taking down the first repeater and heading back to Clon from Timoleague, we came across a pretty serious car accident, so we bailed out of the car and headed down to see if we could render any assistance. When we got down to the scene both cars were badly damaged, but fortunately no one was killed, or even badly injured. One other driver had got out of his vehicle and told us he had called the guards and they were on the way (we could hear the siren). We were all in a very very dangerous location, so he agreed to walk back down the road towards Clon to slow down and turn traffic around, I walked back towards Timoleague to do the same (and to collect my camera), while Conor spoke to the “Victim” and tried to calm her as it was obvious she was in a state of shock.

What struck me was that of the 5-7 cars on the road, only us and one other got out of their vehicle to help. They were all sitting there in their cars waiting for something. As I got to each car I suggested to them that they would be better off heading back the way they came, and go through Ring if their destination was Clonakilty.

One woman started berating me for the behaviour of the rally followers the previous night in Clonakilty etc. etc. which stunned me initially (WTF?). I suggested that if she wasn’t going to render any assistance to the poor lady that had just been nearly killed that she might be better off turning her car around and heading to Clon via Ring.

I went back down to the scene and took a few pictures, shortly thereafter a lone Guard arrived (he called for backup), thanked us for our assistance, we left the ‘victim’ and the Guard our details and high-tailed it to the second repeater site as we still had to take down the mast and it was now getting dark and cold. We made it back to Rally HQ about 19:30, got showered and fed and onto SS19.

Other than coming across the car accident, what a cracking weekend!