AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report........some GAREC 2014 highlights......
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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 December 2014
Over the next two weeks we will take a brief look at some of the presentations that were made at the GAREC Huntsville (Alabama) conference in August this year. All the presentations will eventually become available for download under GAREC on the IARU, Emergency communication website.
Our appreciation to Greg Mossop, G0DUB who gave us access to some of the presentations. We will not discuss them in too much detail due to time and space constraints, but some of the items discussed were valuable and interesting.
The concept behind GAREC conferences are to get countries together who experienced disasters and how the amateur radio fraternity, specifically the emergency networks, handled and coped with communications with served agencies under such conditions.
Brazil featured prominently with a powerful Power Point on flooding they experienced and how they coped with the varying conditions. This was done was by Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P who described the flooding, and problems associated with the floods of December 2013 in the Espirito Santo region that affected 70 thousand people, caused 45 deaths and created vast economic problems.
He described fully the involvement of various amateur radio groups and how after the flooding, they received recognition from the authorities for their unselfish involvement and helping to coordinate and send messages to assist in relief operations.
Another powerful Power Point presentation was on the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda also known as Typhoon Haiyan on November 8th 2013. It is significant that a year later, almost to the date the Philippines were again hit by another Typhoon but this time not is destructive as Haiyan.
A document submitted by Hans Zimmerman, F5VKP/HB9AQS, the IARU International Coordinator for Emergency Communication included the following items:
1. Public Service – in particular emergency communication as a Public Relations tool for the amateur Service.
2. Co-operation with potential “non-telecom” Providers of Support to emergency Communication.
3. Strengthening the Links between the 3 IARU Regional Coordinators for Emergency communication with national Co-ordinators.
4. The amateur radio service is a provider for ‘point to point’ links.
5. Systematic use of all available tools for the distribution of Information about Emergency communications Operations.
6. Evaluation of various emergency Communication operations and provision of such reports to the IARU.
7. The various ways in which the Amateur Service can support emergency and disaster response.
Many other interesting items came up during open discussions that will be available in later reports to be published in the IARU GAREC website.
Two other items will be looked at in the next and final report on GAREC Huntsville.
Just a quick reminder, the school holidays are now with us and it will be appreciated that we monitor where possible our emergency frequencies – every hour on the hour.
Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha – ZS6BUU.