AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report........massive solar flare this weekend......
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WHEN ALL FAILS AMATEUR RADIO SUCCEEDS
Something has gone terribly wrong. Normal ways of doing things are not working. The fastest way to turn an emergency into a full disaster is to lose communications.
Radio Amateurs understand emergencies. For over 70 years they have provided emergency communications for organisations. When normal ways of communication fail or get overloaded Radio Amateurs will be there.
HAMNET, the National Emergency Communications division of the South African Radio League (SARL), provides communications for emergencies and can mobilise experienced communicators who with their own radio equipment will back up official channels or take over when all else fails.
The SARL represents all Radio Amateurs in South Africa at all levels of Government and through the IARU at the International telecommunications Union.
Radio Amateurs or "Hams" use two-way radio communication to make contact with other radio amateurs all over the world. They are even able to use satellites and on occasion speak with astronauts. Radio Hams can do this from home or while mobile in cars, boats or on foot.
Radio Hams have a full range or communication modes at their disposal. These include plain voice, Morse code, numerous digital computer modes and even graphical modes like television. A licensed radio amateur is able to join in experiments using all these modes.
HAMNET REPORT 14 September, 2014
As this weekly report was being compiled on Friday afternoon, a report appeared on Facebook indicating that a massive solar flare or Coronal Mass Ejection – CME, was heading toward earth. We acknowledge the source of these comments from SANSA, South African National Space Agency.
This flare occurred in region 2158 near the centre of the solar disc taken of the sun and traveling at an incredible 1493 k/ps and heading our way to reach us over the period 12 – 13 September.
Although this will not harm humans as we are protected by the earth’s magnetic field, it can cause other problems like power interruptions, loss of Satellite communication, GPS and cell phone communications as well as radio transmissions.
The side effect if one can call it that is the appearance of the Southern and Northern Lights also known as the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis. This can sometimes be most amazing with many observations being photographed from the International Space Station, ISS and sent back to earth.
Our concern, although its will be of a short nature, is a total breakdown in radio communication especially from an emergency point of view. Is there really anything one can do to overcome this problem?
High Frequency communication may be worst hit; especially our 40 and 80 metre emergency frequencies but VHF and UHF may still offer some communication. Consider that Satellite phones may also be affected with result even that route is out of action.
But, the chances of a major international disaster happening at exactly the same time as a massive CME are very remote.
However, there have been occasions, as discussed on Amateur Radio Today a few weeks back, that these ejections can in fact be very dangerous especially if such a flare actually penetrates the earth’s magnetic field. Massive power failures have occurred in the past and radio communications has also been affected when such an event occurs.
Worst hit could be satellite communication that affects GPS, Television transmissions and other data reliant on satellite communication.
From a Hamnet point of view, all we can do is to continually monitor our emergency frequencies as is the case right now and keep an eye on predictions for the day to see what frequencies will be best suited for communication. We still encourage regular reports every hour on the hour and as summer approaches we can again start looking at 18.160 MHz that proved very successful last summer.
You are welcome to join us on the frequencies of 7,110 MHz, 10,125 MHz, and 18,160MHz during the day and 3,770 MHz late afternoons and evenings. Due to occasional interference on 3,760 MHz, the earlier frequency is a temporary measure.
News from the regions; Hamnet Western Cape are on the lookout for operatives for a 100 km run around Table Mountain on the 25th of October. They need 10 vehicles of which at least 5 must be 4X4 vehicles. Should you be available to assist, please contact your Hamnet Western Cape committee to add you name to the list of volunteers.Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha.