AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report........new developments and innovation the order of the day......
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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 26 October. 2014
Last Sunday we briefly mentioned the innovation from Lockheed in the USA of a small Nuclear Fusion unit that could revolutionise power supply, water purification and many other benefits from this unique power source.
Not to be outdone, the Chinese were hot on their heels with the development of a new battery unit from the Singapore Nanyang Technology University of an ultrafast charging battery that can be recharged up to 70% of its capacity within 10 minutes and when fully charged, can run for – wait for it – 20 years.
Can you imagine the benefit for Hamnet in emergency situations when battery power is sometimes our only source to run our emergency equipment? Clean and no carbon emissions!
But not to be outdone, in Britain, an ex-helicopter pilot is in the final stages of developing a small drone like copter that has four rotating blades that is similar to a helicopter but far more manoeuvrable. Almost like a hovercraft but less noisy, lightweight and can eventually be designed to be used as a single unit to place the pilot or controller into any area he could wish to go to.
From an emergency point of view, this unit is small enough to be manoeuvred by hand control and when fitted with a video camera, can be extremely useful in searching difficult areas for lost climbers, inaccessible terrain and many other areas where one can search where larger craft cannot go.
Innovation is the order of the day and with more advanced technology and software becoming available to the amateur, emergency units, both private and professional, deploying equipment and linking various groups via specific radio networks; it will make communications so much easier in the future when involved with Search & Rescue operations.
We are living in an era where innovation, technological advances and new equipment are really bringing advanced emergency communication to benefit of all concerned and eventually offer better and more sophisticated techniques to assist in saving lives.
Technological advances are now happening so fast it is almost impossible to stay abreast of the innovative ideas being discussed at planning and regular motivational meetings.
In Gauteng this coming week, the Disaster Management Forum for Gauteng are meeting at the Sandton Fire Station Board Room on Wednesday the 29th of October that will be well represented by HAMNET with three representatives having made themselves available to attend! Normally various NGO’s, the Police, the SANDF and Civil Aviation also attend.
This is a good opportunity to meet with and discuss issues with not only members of the various Disaster Management Divisions but also members of various supporting groups as well as members of Political Parties who have a vested interest in our communities.
Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha – ZS6BUU.