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Download the WICEN QLD Northern Region Registration Form

What's a WICEN ?

Its the Wireless Institute of Australia Civil Emergency Network
Active during counter-disaster operations with the State Emergency Service

Active in the community with communications logistic support

History of WICEN
( with thanks to the WICEN VK3 Operators Manual )
WICEN had its origins in the ad-hoc networks formed by Amateur Radio
operators to assist the community. One of the earliest 'exercises' in
Victoria was the 'Henley on the Yarra' regatta in 1920.
During the 1939 'Black Friday' bushfires in South Australia and Victoria
Amateur Radio operators using their own equipment and knowledge
established an emergency communications network.
In 1945 the Bushfires Emergency Network came into being in
New South Wales, and following new P.M.G regulations on portable
and mobile operations the Wireless Institute of Australia Emergency
Communications Network started in 1946, subsequently renamed
Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network (WICEN) .

In the late fifities and early sixties Amateur Radio communications
were superior, relatively speaking, to those of the civil authorities
and much good work was done during bushfieres and flood
disaster situations. However, the introduction of FM
communications and STD telephone dialing for emergency
and other services caused a fall in the demand for WICEN and
many authorities saw no future role for Amateur Radio.

However, happenings over recent years have disproved this
view and have shown how organised Amateur Radio
communications assistance still has a place in
emergency plans.

When Cyclone Tracey struck Darwin in December 1974 virtually
the only communications for the city for many hours was via
an Amateur Radio operator in the ruins and a fellow
Amateur Radio operator in his home in Mooroolbark,
just south of the City of Melbourne.

The 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and
South Australia pointed strongly to the need for
better strategic planning process to meet communications
requirements encountered in Civil Emergency situations.

Today, when counter-disaster organisations call on WICEN
to provide assistance, they seldom fail to be impressed by the
services that can be offered by this well trained, disciplined
and adaptive group of Amateur Radio operators.

Why Exercise?
( with thanks to the WICEN VK3 RCO Manual V2 )
WICEN operators participate in real time exercises rather than train from their
own shacks for some very simple reasons.
1. In an activation very few will be lucky enough to be able to operate from their
shacks. The only way that you can be absolutely sure you can operate portable
is to practice portable !
2. In a counter-disaster activation you will work in strange places,
with strange people, doing
things you know nothing about.
The same thing happens with our exercises.

Familiarity with the unusual makes life easier.
3. Real time exercises are more interesting to the operators than sending “play”
messages from the shack and are generally enjoyable in their own right.
If you
doubt this why not ask some of the many who do 7 or 8 exercises a year.
4. Many new or prospective amateurs get involved with WICEN because they get
the chance to operate different radios on a variety of antennas with different
classes of licence holders.
That means they learn faster and have a good time
doing it.
Most WICEN operators experiment — they have to!


        contact - Steve White VK4JUS 07-47723767 0414-785443

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Last updated 15th April 2004 14:39