15. August 2000 10:41
by Rene Pallesen

Repeater Stations . . .

15. August 2000 10:41 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

repeater stations
Ecochallenge ( Sabah 2000 )

Magellan HotelMoving into SilamRepeater StationInjured CompetitorTransporting a Repeater StationBeetleKids in Village
ArrivalSilam / Jungle OpsRepeater StationsThe CompetitorsHelicopterJungle Around UsThe Village

Repeater Stations . . .

Paul and repeater Station in aircraftMe and repeater Station in aircraft

Here, you see Paul and I transporting some of the repeater stations by air.

From Silam, we flew down to DFVC. We stayed there for three days before going back to Silam.

Me at site of repeater station

I am at one of the repeater sites. Here, the top of one of the mountains was cleared, so we could safely land a helicopter there.

Oh... did I forget to mention that I almost chopped one of my fingers in half at the repeater site?

On top of my infected eye, I had another thing for the medical team to look at. The fingernail had been chopped in half and there was not much I could do about it except clean it up and try to avoid infections. The medical team was great there... they were extremely good.

Site of Repeater Station

We had a few problems with some of the communications gear.

Paul and Glen were handling it, and at times I tried to assist.

The first few days had been really tough.

Solar Panel Photo 1Solar Panel Photo 2
The top of Silam is covered in clouds for most of the afternoons, so the solar panels are quite useless. A survey of the conditions made prior to the race was useless.

If you ask any of the locals, they would have told us that the peak is always covered in clouds... but apparently no-one asked them!!!


We had problems keeping the generators running - they were using more power than predicted and there was no sun on the top of Silam to recharge the batteries.

The generator itself was a re-built petrol engine with a car alternator on it.

We basically tried to use a system where we used a jerry can, cut holes into it, and relied on the force of gravity to transport the fuel to the generator.

This design ended up working best for us.

Site of repeater stationSite of repeater station
Our helicopter pilot sitting on the side there, just grinning...

On the third day of the race, I hiked up the mountain three times. I was really tired and all I could think of was getting a bit of a rest and some food. I managed to get a bit once I got to Danum. In Danum I managed to get 6 hours sleep before someone woke me up and told me that the repeater had died in Silam... again all the cars had to leave in a convoy... so rush, rush to find my driver and managed (just) to get into the convoy!

The road to Danum closes at 6.30pm and all the cars had to go in the convoy.

Helicopter at Repeater Site Photo 1Helicopter at Repeater Site Photo 2
The helicopter flew all of us to the top of the mountain, and waited there for us till we were finished. Glen quite often told the pilot, "You don't have to shut down, because we'll only be here for 5 minutes." Well... quite often, we were there for as long as an hour and half! (Don't worry, the pilot was sensible enough to shut down immediately... he got to know Glen very well.)

I went up there often make sure that it was still running. It is much better getting a helicopter to fly me up there so that I can bring some fuel with me !

Glen fixing generator Photo 1Glen fixing generator Photo 2

Glen has mostly been on top of the mountain getting the generator back online.
We have to keep the generator running 24 hours per day until the end of the race.

Glen fixing repeater Photo 1

On the third night after the race started, one of the repeaters went dead.

I had to hike up the mountain on the previous day as the generator had died.

I did not leave the mountain until it was dark, so I had to climb down through the jungle in the dark!

Fortunately I had my torch with me!

Glen fixing repeater Photo 4

Paul later gave me strict instructions to make sure that I leave the mountain so that I could be back at HQ while there was still light!

I found out that I did not have any problems navigating at night... I even offered Paul to go back up when the repeater died!

Anyhow, we ended up having to send the airborne repeater up!

Helicopter at Repeater Site Photo 3Helicopter at Repeater Site Photo 4
Glen fixing repeater Photo 2Glen fixing repeater Photo 3

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Created: 7 Dec 2001
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