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Icom in the Gobi Desert

Icom in the Gobi Desert

Icom UK has provided specialist expedition and race organisers the “Sandbaggers” with handheld radios to provide vital support for their upcoming Gobi Challenge event; a 7 day trek across the Gobi desert. The 2009 Gobi Challenge will be the sixth running of the race and now attracts runners from many countries and across all five continents.

The Sangbaggers specialise in providing top quality expedition experiences in some of the world’s most remote locations. Over the last 5 years the“Gobi Challenge” has firmly established itself as one of the World’s premier desert racing events. It takes place in Outer Mongolia and is a seven-day self-sufficiency adventure race through some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world.

Icom UK have provided the crew with four handheld radios for use during the expedition. The radios will be subject to some of the most extreme condidtions on the planet.

Over a week-long period competitors will cover between 130 and 140 miles on foot, completing 7 different stages. The runners will go up and down mountains and gorges, through the vast flat Steppes and plains, and will end with 2 days climbing the biggest sand dunes in Asia. The challengers must overcome a never-ending series of obstacles designed to test their courage, endurance and metal fortitude.

The Gobi desert is one of the most punishing environments on earth, with temperatures soaring above 40C in summer and plummeting to a staggering -40C throughout winter. It is the terrain and climate of the Gobi - not the distance travelled, that will determine how tough the race will be.

Competitors carry everything they need for the duration of the race including all their food, clothing, emergency equipment and medical kit. They are supplied with water at regular checkpoints and will spend the night in makeshift campsites sleeping in tents, or the local nomad “gers.”

Once the team are in Mongolia the Icom radios become indespensible providing communications between the water checkpoints that each competitior will visit every 10km. With such a vast area to cover, radios become vital in relaying information between the front and back of the group.

The radios will also serve the important purpose of reassuring the entrants as Camp Manager Mike Inkster explains, “The team will cover large distances on the expedition, sometimes travelling 20 – 30 miles a day in the vast emptiness. With nothing around for miles, it is important to the psychological wellbeing of the group to feel that there is the ability to make contact with the outside would, should the need arise.”

“The Icom radios are fantastic to use; they’re clear and straight forward to operate and are able to withstand the rough time they’ll receive on this trip.”

All the staff at Icom UK wish the entrants the best of luck in this difficult race!

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