AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report........a week of much activity read more...........
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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 25 JANUARY 2015
The eyes of sub-Saharan Africa, when not watching soccer, are planted firmly on Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar this week, as rescue operations continue to bring food and potable water to some 300 000 people displaced by floods in the three countries last week. The flood waters are starting to recede, and relief expeditions are having more success in getting to far corners of the flooded areas.
Some 400 people lost their lives in the 3 countries as Tropical Storm Chedza in the Mozambique Channel distributed inches of rain on both sides of its path. This country's two volunteer relief organisations, Gift of the Givers, and Rescue South Africa, are attempting to provide relief in Malawi and Mozambique as I read this. Hamnet national director Paul van Spronsen ZS1V has advised that the possibility of far greater involvement by Hamnet in the rescue endeavours is increasing.
Gauteng South's Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG reports his division has equipment ready to be deployed if required. Let's hope for a speedy resolution of starvation problems, and a rapid rebuild of necessary infrastructure.
There are several sporting events taking place around the country in the next few weeks, and I want to remind you of them.
Hamnet Gauteng North will be helping with the Classic Rally South Africa, starting tomorrow the 26th and ending on Friday the 30th January. Good luck with your activities, ladies and gents.
Hamnet Western Cape will be assisting with two races on 7th February. The Silvermine trail run is run over the Silvermine Mountain that day, and, in Durbanville the 99'er cycle tour takes place on a scenic route out to Wellington, and then back via Philadelphia to the N7 and on to Durbanville again. A total of 24 volunteers are needed for both.
Hamnet Gauteng South will assist with the Ride for Sight cycle race on 15 February, as well as the Carnival City/Mac Steel cycle race on the 22nd February. If you haven't volunteered yet, and would like to do so, please contact Glynn Chamberlain at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regional director Chris ZS6COG endorses the request for as many volunteers as possible, pointing out that more operators than usual are needed, because it cannot be expected that the same group will help with both events.
Gauteng South will hold its first Member's meeting of the year on 29th January at the ZS6ERB clubhouse in Ebenezer St Benoni. All members are encouraged to attend.
From the Cape comes news of yet another two rescues, neither of them very remarkable, but nevertheless evidence that amateur radio plays its part.
A long distance yachting scene played itself out on Tuesday evening, when Francois ZS6BUU was contacted by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Cape Town, to help look for a yacht from Brazil, which had experienced mast problems and was limping in to Cape Town. Andrew ZS1SBM had also been involved in the original query. The NSRI had launched a boat to go and search for the yacht, but apparently missed it, and all ended well when the yacht was able to moor safely in St Helena Bay on its own. Luckily no major perils there. Thank you to Francois and Andrew for helping in the short-lived search.
On that same Tuesday, two tourists from the Netherlands took the cable car up Table Mountain, with the expectation of coming back down one of the easier routes on foot. However, they got lost, and tried to come down Porcupine Ridge, getting more lost when the path seemed to peter out on them.
They called the Police, who called in National Park Rangers, but some confusion arose, because it was not easy to decide from which side to approach the spot. Finally a rendezvous point was established in Theresa Ave, Bakoven, from where National Park Ranger Craig Adams, went ahead and found them dehydrated but alright. A team of 9 rescuers, including a Metro Medic, Matt ZS1MTF and Grant ZS1GS, reached them from below via the contour path, treated their dehydration, and escorted them down to Theresa Avenue long before the sun went down. Don ZS1DON managed the radio duties in Metro One rescue vehicle, and sent in the report. A satisfactory conclusion to that one too! The grateful thanks of the community is extended to the rescuers.
Finally, do remember the national call-ins on 7110Khz on the hour by day, and 3770Khz on the hour by night when possible, where you can register your presence as you monitor the bands, and test propagation from your station.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR for Hamnet in South Africa