Emergency Communications

Atlantic Hurricane Season 2014

Hurricane Arthur tracking up the East coast of the USA marks the first storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season this year.

Emergency nets are active in the USA in preparation for this hurricane playing their part in gathering and distributing information for the weather and emergency services as they do every 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:

Caribbean Emergency & Weather Nets: 7.162 & 3.815 MHz
Eastern Caribbean Narrow Band Emergency System Net: 7.036 MHz USB (Olivia & MT63)
Caribbean Emergency: 14.185 MHz
Republica Dominicana: 7.065 & 3.780 MHz
Cuba: 7.045, 7.080, 7.110, and 3.740 MHz
Central America: 7.090 & 3.750 MHz
Nicaragua: 7.098 MHz
Guatemala: 7.075 MHz
Panama: 7.085 MHz
Mexico: 7.060 & 3.690 MHz

Maritime Mobile Service Net: 14.300 MHz
Hurricane Watch Net: 14.325 MHz
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN): 14.265 MHz

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

GAREC-2014 program to be finalised soon

The Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) will be held this year on August the 14th and 15th in conjunction with Alabama's Huntsville Hamfest.

GAREC-2014 invites all those involved with emergency communication to hear presentations on the use of advanced technologies, IARU Region reports and displays. Among the reports will be a powerpoint on Super Typhoon that struck the central part of the Philippines, and how 100 radio amateurs provided vital emergency communications.

Presentations are expected also from the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), and the American Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS).

The annual GAREC Banquet Dinner is another opportunity to socialise and learn more about emergency communications and preparedness training. Participating in GAREC-2014 also offers the opportunity to attend the big Huntsville Hamfest, an ARRL Centennial Event, on the weekend of August 16-17 2014. (Details at www.hamfest.org/).

GAREC-14 Website: http://www.w4ozk.com/GAREC14.htm
GAREC-14 Registration: http://www.arrl.org/garec-2014

Disaster relief communications in Serbia

At this moment the Serbian Radio Association (Savez radioamatera Srbije) carries out disaster relief communications in flooded areas. The control station uses the call sign YU0S. Operations are on VHF and in the 80 meter band with frequency 3760 kHz (+/- QRM). All radio operators are asked to keep this frequency clear. It is expected that the nets will be closed by 20.00 hours on Friday 23 May. 

Zoran YU1EW, who coordinates the disaster relief communications, reports that they have everything they need for now and that they can handle the situation. 



Tropical Cyclone Ita in Queensland Australia

After causing damage and resulting in at least 23 deaths in the Solomon Islands ‎on April 5, the category 5 Tropical Cyclone Ita came ashore in Queensland‎ in Australia's northeast. Dale McCarty VK3DMC reports that no Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network‎ (WICEN) activation has occurred so far, point in time. He said frequencies are constantly monitored and many of the Far North Queensland‎ hams are checking in just to see how others are faring. The frequencies are 7.088 MHz and 3.588 MHz until the cyclone which has been‎ downgraded to a category 1 continues to move south with strong winds and‎ flooding.

When the cyclone came ashore at Cooktown about 50 buildings were damaged‎ another five written off, road were blocked, water supply was critically,‎ power and communications affected. A strong winds and torrential rain closing airports as the weather system‎ moved south to cause more damage. Sugar cane and banana crops were flattened. The population were well prepared with many taking refuge in community shelters.‎ The mobile phone service remained mostly intact and fibre optic cables provided ‎communication with some areas. Tropical Cyclone Ita has formed over the northern Coral Sea to engulf the ‎Solomon Islands which has at least 23 people dead, about 30 people missing, ‎and has left 49,000 homeless. The country was also felt a 7.6-magnitude earthquake 96 kilometres south southeast ‎of the provincial capital of Kirakira, but it caused minimal damage.

Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee. ‎

Tropical Cyclone - Australia

As Tropical Cyclone Ita impacts on far northern area of Australia, WICEN has declared a number of frequencies for health and welfare traffic including 7.088 MHz an 3.588 MHz, as well as 2m and 70cm. Dale McCarthy VK4DMC reports that at this point in time the cyclone has crossed the coast at Cape Flattery which is just north of Cooktown as a severe category 4 system. Cooktown is experiencing very strong wind and heavy rain. The system will track south/west over the next 12 to 24 hours and possibly impact on the Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas and Cairns before heading south towards Townsville.

Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.