Radio system connects
Remote areas of Hawke’s Bay’s Kaweka Forest Park and Mohaka River now have a communication link to the outside world, thanks to a local initiative which has established an emergency radio capability for the area.
The three-year project has installed four repeaters to support the use of radios across the Kaweka Forest Park and Mohaka River areas. The radios are available for anyone to use when venturing into these areas.
This initiative is the first of its kind in Hawke’s Bay.
Owner and operator of Mohaka Rafting, Norm Brown, understands the importance of robust communication systems in areas with no cell phone coverage and he’s the driving force behind the Mohaka and Kaweka Emergency Radio Trust, which was set up to fund this initiative.
“We are seeing growth each year in the number of groups using these areas, and with that naturally comes an increase in incidents.”
He says the aim of the radio network is not to replace Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) but could provide a means of avoiding a major rescue effort, and can also be of value during a rescue effort where local operators, such as himself, may be assisting authorities in a rescue effort.
“It is very important to carry a PLB when venturing into remote areas.
“The addition of a radio could serve as a means of informing base of slow progress, or the need for further equipment, without having to activate the PLB.”
As of last month the radios are up and running and available to rent at $15/day, $30/weekend or $50/week.
“A lot of work has gone into establishing this capability and we are really urging groups going into these areas to make use of the radios,” says Norm.
He says the initiative wouldn’t have come to fruition without the support of organisations such as Pamu Farms, which provided the capital investment required to install a repeater on their land.
“Fundraising has been vital to this project,” says Norm.
“In addition to Pamu Farms, we have had support, via a give a little page, from various schools and organisations who use the area as well.”
Four repeaters have been installed in the three-year project to support the use of radios across the entire Kaweka Forest Park and Mohaka River areas.