BlakJaks' Rally of New Zealand Site.





International Rally Championships - Rally
of New Zealand


In and around Auckland, New Zealand.

Official Site: http://www.rallynz.org.nz

Something im fortunate enough to be involved with each year is the International Rally Champs event - the Rally of New Zealand. Past Sponsors have included Rothmans, AWA Clarion, Sanyo, Motogard, and Heatway, and Smokefree. Currently the Primary Sponsor is Propecia. As part of my activies in Amateur Radio and the AREC I am on the communications team for the Rally. Ham Radio Operators provide a very significant input into the Rally overall - Time after time, Amateur Radio pulls out the stops and gets the message from point to point without problems.  We have a variety of tasks, the biggest of which being:

 

  • Results - Start and Finish Time Reporting
  • Safety - Amateurs provide '5km' stations placed along the route to record and report as cars pass, allowing the progress of cars to be traced and a message passed if there is one missing
  • Providing backup communications and support to all other facets of the Rally - Marshalling Crews, St John Ambulance teams at safety points.

All comms are coordinated and controlled from Sky City, in the centre of Auckland. The majority of the comms are done over Amateur Radio Bands, with commercial gear used for the marshalls and other senior officials.  The event is run as an AREC Event, and is
an excellent exercise in mobile deployment and message handling.


(Info: Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications
)


 

Anyways, to get comms from the centre of
auckland up to Maungatoroto (Near Whangarei) and down to Te Akau South (Between Auckland and Hamilton)
isnt as straight forward as you would think.  Rally Control was able
to get VHF Comms into all areas using a combination of standard and Cross-Band
Repeaters. Two primary control channels were used - The Auckland 146.625
Repeater at Klondike (Port Waikato) provides excellent coverage for all
the events south of the city - and the Brenderwyn 145.600 repeater provides
excellent coverage up north.

For the '5-k' safety points, VHF isn't
going to cut it - Its one thing working into a repeater when youre sitting
in a nice visible area, but there are too many dead spots in the rally
stages, and too much traffic on the control channels.  The solution
is in two parts.

  • The use of HF Radio (Long Range)
  • Short Term Special Purpose (STSP) Repeaters
    put up at vantage points.

Again, the use of Cross Band repeaters - particularly
a couple located at spots in the Hunua Ranges in South Auckland - allows
VHF comms from Sky City all the way to the rally safety points.

VHF Gear - being of a higher frequency,
uses smaller antennas.  Anyone whos looked at pics of My
Car
will have seen the antenna off the front right hand bumper. Its
a VHF/UHF dual band antenna and is only just under 1m Tall.

On the other hand HF Radio has a much longer
wavelength (being at a lower frequency) and requires much longer antennas.

Note: In the 2001/2002 Pictures I own a Black 89 Celica. I then upgraded to a Grey 90 GT4 Celica which may explain some confusion? :) I've since upgraded again...




The antenna pole off the back of my
car (Black Celica, Background Centre).  Strung on top of the antenna
is a Dipole which is resonant as a 1/4 wave on the Amateur 80m Band (3.5-3.9
Mhz). It is therefore 20m long, 10m each side of the car, running down
to guy ropes and tent pegs.   In the foreground is the vehicle
of Terry ZL1UFY, he has a mobile HF Whip on his towbar. The performance
on a whip is substantially less reliable.

This website contains some information and pics taken by myself and XPD (Gavin Quayle) at the 2001 and 2002 and 2003 events. Gavin is has helped me out by being my 'second operator' 2001 and 2002 as a good excuse to get a bit of a 'backstage pass' to the Rally, and he even gets on the radio which I'm somewhat impressed with.

In 2003 My role changed, and I switched from 5-K safety to being in the Safety Three vehicle, riding second seat, so Gavin didn't come along. Unfortunately I had to leave the GT4 at home that year :/ In 2004 I was doing the Time Checks at the Manukau Super Special Stage Tyre Change and Refuel, so the GT4 made an apperance! Pictures taken with a variety of cameras - the current camera I have access to is a Kodak CX4200 although we used a DC3200 in 2001 and 2002, and my Genius G-Shot P210 in 2004.

For 2001 - Click Here

For 2002 - Click Here

For 2003 - Click Here


For 2004 - Click Here


In 2005 I did something different - assisted at Rally Headquarters. Theres some photos and info Here.

Direct feedback to webmaster via the link at the bottom. :-)


 







Rally of NZ Logo taken from
http://www.rallynz.org.nz in 2001.
All other works Copyright © 2001-2005 Mark
Foster
unless otherwise specified.  All Rights Reserved


No work may be taken from
this site without express permission.

[Edit: November 2006. It should be noted that this article was my opinion as at its creation in 2001 and has been edited for minor details each year since. Formatting issues are a result of importing the site from my original, flat-HTML page. Some assertions here are out of date as of late 2006 but I have not yet had time to rewrite the page.]