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Le Tour comes to Canterbury

For the first time in its long history the Tour de France is starting in England. Beginning in London the tour’s first stage snakes around Kent, finishing 203 Km later in Canterbury. With nearly 200 cyclists, the tour and its entourage, the organisation is huge as is the audience it attracts over the three weeks. Keeping the tour safe during its visit is a major responsibility for the UK emergency services. As part of the Emergency Response planning Raynet has been called upon to provide backup communications.

Raynet (The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed Radio Amateurs. Should all lines of conventional communication fail, Raynet members use their Amateur Radio equipment to communicate on behalf of the emergency services.

Throughout the 203 km stretch of the UK stage of the Tour nearly 200 cyclists will pass through approximately 80 checkpoints. Raynet members between Dartford and Medway will be in communication via the Icom repeaters. Rob Martin working for Medway section of Raynet said, “As this is such a huge event we chose to use Icom repeaters. If the emergency services communications should fail (although highly unlikely) I know we can rely on the Icom equipment not to let us down. The range and the reliability of Icom are second to none. An added bonus is that these repeaters can be powered either by mains power s or 12 Volts which makes them much more convenient. In an emergency they can be installed in a car - they are very quick to deploy.”

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