Our Readers' Opinions
January 31, 2014

Rainbow radio league

Fri Jan 31, 2014

It all began about ten years ago when a few young radio amateurs set out to climb the 3rd highest mountain on St Vincent – La Soufriere being the highest followed by Richmond Peak. On that occasion, the climb to the summit started after midday and with the absence of a guide and having taken a longer trail, a decision was made to abort that adventure until better arrangements were made.{{more}}

Our dream to get to the summit was realized on Saturday, January 25, 2014 when a group of seven made it to the top of Grand Bonhomme, and what a grand experience it turned out to be.

A week before, an advance party visited the area and a veteran radio amateur J88AA- Martin knew a guide from Richland Park who would take us to the summit via a more direct trail which has been marked by forest rangers. Having a guide who knows the terrain is always important as nature lovers can easily be lured off trail trying to get closer to a rare plant or bird.

On Friday a twelve person team, including one female, set up camp at the base of the towering mound (which is shrouded in clouds almost all year round except for a few clear days during our short dry season), the main purpose being to set out at first light the following day. Our guides arrived at day break and the two and a half hour trek to the summit began, with occasional stops to photograph a rare plant or for a water break.

The hike to Grand Bonhomme is not for the casual hiker or faint hearted and a walking stick for support over this steep terrain is of absolute importance. One small section of the trail must be climbed on all fours and in another area a rope has been affixed to a tree to provide support for hikers on a steep section of the ridge … a challenging trail, but not insurmountable.

At the summit, a portable repeater was activated and worked as anticipated, while others left their mark by tying a bandana on a makeshift flag pole. It is suggested that poles used as trig points be made from fiberglass or similar material and painted, as galvanized pipes will rust quickly in a high humidity environment.

This hike was part of anniversary celebrations of the Rainbow Radio League Inc. – RRL which celebrated its 19th anniversary on January 22. The RRL was launched from the top of Mt St Andrew on January 22, 1995. The RRL has a rich legacy of ‘discovering’ the lesser known parts of SVG including Savan Island, Chateaubelair Islet, Balliceaux and Battowia, Richmond Peak, Jennings mountains, upper Falls of Baleine, Kramakou river valley and Petit Nevis to mention some of the memorable areas visited.

Radio operators making it to the summit of Grand Bonhomme at 3330 feet, include, Leon- J88NFJ, Leslie- J88LE, Sally – J88NHM, Mikhail – J88NGT, Albert – J88CT, Donald – J88CD with our guide Clifford Williams.