Emergency Communications

Successful end to the World Cup for Region 1

Aside from the obvious success on the pitch for the Region\'s Football teams, the World Cup final also marked the end of a one month standby period for HAMNET, the Emergency Communications Group of South Africa.

For the duration of the tournament , HAMNET members have been on standby ready to provide communications links from the Joint Communications Centre to anywhere where communications have been needed should there have been an incident at the event. This was no easy task with ten venues spread across the country along with many more training grounds, fan parks or other places where the thousands of tourists or fans may have gathered.

The event has been an excellent exercise in preparedness. With much gained and nothing lost. HAMNET now has two emergency units at their disposal now with one designed into a flight case in such a way that it contains just about everything one needs in a field or ops room situation. Everything is neatly contained in the case and all the plugs are ready to be connected the antennas, power supply etc that may be needed for the occasion.

Congratulations to HAMNET and South Africa for an excellent tournament. For further information on HAMNET activities contact Francois ZS6BUU

 

European Emergency Radio Conference

A European Emergency Radio Conference is being organised in the German town of Gross-Gerau for the weekend of 24th to 26th September 2010. Known as EuREC-DL, the conference aims to bring together Radio Amateurs and Emergency Services to show how the two groups can work together to increase the resilience of their communications.

The conference is supported by the German Red Cross, Kreisverband Groß-Gerau e.V. and more information can be found at  http://www.eurec-dl.de/

Spanish Emergency Communicators involved in major exercises.

Spanish Radio Amateurs have been involved with two major exercises recently, raising the profile of the Amateur Service and testing their own skills.  

In the first exercise several teams of the spanish Emergency Radio Network (REMER, Red Radio de Emergencia), a group of 4000 amateur radio operators which is integrated in the Spanish General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, participated in the international exercise PRES EU 2010,  which took place at the Madrid Barajas International Airport on June 26th. This exercise was funded as part of European Union Project "EU Rapid Response Capability 7".

The exercise simulated an accident resulting from a plane leaving the runway on landing and crashing into a building in which radioactive substances for hospital use were stored. This exercise envisaged the possibility of a large number of victims of different nationalities and the activation of the corresponding Civil Protection plans in an environment of radiological contamination. More than 600 Spanish emergency technicians were deployed and also several teams from eight european countries.

The REMER amateur radio teams were deployed in the area of the exercise in order to operate
a VHF coordination network and to provide technical support to the European Union Command Post. The network covered several strategic points inside the area of operations, such as the accident site, the Command Post and the vehicle rendezvous point.

The Spanish General Director of Civil Protection and Emergencies (Ministry of Interior) acknowledged the participation of REMER during an official ceremony four days after the exercise, where she acknowledged the important support provided by the amateur radio operators.

Further information on this event ( in Spanish ) with pictures can be found here.

Read more: Spanish Emergency Communicators involved in major exercises.

Atlantic Hurricane Season 2010

The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially runs from 1st June to 30 November each year and  Tropical Storm Alex has become the first 'named' storm of this year. Amateur Radio continues to play a part in gathering and distributing information for the weather and emergency services each year.

Radio Amateurs in Region 1 are reminded that the following frequencies may be in use by nets in North and Central America to track and deal with the consequences of these severe weather events. It is possible for Region 1 amateurs to cause unintentional QRM to these nets so please listen carefully if operating near these frequencies:

14.300 MHz is used by the Maritime Mobile Service Net daily and as well as handling traffic from Maritime Mobile Stations, also gathers weather reports from maritime stations to assist forecasters.

14.325 MHz is used by the Hurricane Watch Net and the net is established whenever it appears that a storm may affect the US mainland. The net gathers weather information and links to the American National Hurricane Centre.

14.265 MHz is used by the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio  Network ( SATERN )  provides Health and Welfare traffic links for those in affected areas as well as supporting the Salvation Army Disaster relief response should a hurricane strike.

Frequencies used in Cuba
7.045, 7.080, 7.110 MHz
3.740 MHz

Frequencies used in Central America;
Red Centro Americana :  7.090 and 3.750MHz
Guatemala: 7.075 MHz
Nicaragua: 7.098 MHz

Mexico (FMRE)3.690 and 7.060 MHz

Cuba and Mexico co-operate with long distance relays on 40m when propagation makes this possible.

Local emergency communications groups may also activate if a hurricane approaches their area and those frequencies would be announced at the time.

Final report - Qinghai province earthquake

The 7.1 Richter scale earthquake that struck China's Qinghai province on 14 April killed more than 2,000 people and relief efforts are continuing for those left homeless. A day of national mourning was held on 21 April. Amateur radio operators in China were widely involved in the disaster relief actions. They were from Beijing, Sichuan, Shandong, Anhui, Qinghai and Jiangsu, travelling to the disaster centre.

There in poor weather conditions they helped in the transportation of medicines, tents, food and clothes to the disaster area. The amateur radio operators were even directly involved in disaster rescue activities. One Beijing amateur radio rescue team saved 6 people. The high altitude caused 90% of the amateur radio rescue team members to have Plateau Reaction (altitude sickness), but no one was injured during their efforts to help others affected by the disaster.

Read more: Final report - Qinghai province earthquake