AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report.......mother nature reminds us she can srping surprises...........
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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 9 March 2014
This past week we were again reminded of the powers of nature and some unforeseen consequences.
Firstly, torrential rain, flooding and wash always took its toll in many provinces and in particular in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. The Kruger National Park was again suffering from flooding due to rivers bursting their banks and the Harbeespoort Dam for the 2nd time this season had to open the sluice gates to reduce the pressure behind the wall.
This is having an effect on the Crocodile River and the Limpopo River which eventually flows through Mozambique. The Limpopo River is also being fed by heavy rain in Zimbabwe as well and there is already talk of flood levels in low lying Mozambique approaching the same levels as in 2000 when the South African Air Force was approached to assist with helicopters to rescue victims from trees.
In Johannesburg and in Centurion (Pretoria) vivid pictures of severe flooding, dams overflowing and roads literally washed away appeared in the media and although Hamnet in these areas were not called in for assistance, we are on standby.
Then we had a period of Electricity shortage around the country due to Eskom not being able to produce sufficient power to satisfy the country’s needs. Load shedding was introduced on Thursday across the country due to some power stations down for maintenance and wet coal due to the heavy rain, not being suitable to feed the system to produce power – according to Eskom.
This obviously was a good opportunity to test your emergency power supplies and to ensure that your station can cope with a prolonged period without power.
This wet weather, according to the SAWS is due to a high trough of moist air being fed in from the tropics and will persist for a few days. Good rains have eventually fallen in many areas but the drought in some areas still persists.
The chances some drivers take crossing low water bridges was vividly shown on YouTube video taken in Zimbabwe when an 18 wheeler and trailer decided to cross a flooded bridge. What the driver could not see was that part of the bridge he was about to cross had already collapsed and when he reached that point, well, we leave the rest to your imagination!
Looking beyond our borders, the USA north-eastern areas as well as Canada are still in the grips of a severe winter with many reports of extremely cold weather and disruptions of road rail and air traffic.
E-mails coming in from Pierre Tromp, ZS1HF (ZD9M) on Gough Island indicate that he has settled in and some Western Cape operators have already made contact with Pierre – even on 40 m. He has sent in some excellent pictures and eventually will probably get some more bird life photographs in due course. According to ‘The Cape Times’, the body of Johan Hoffman has arrived back in the mother city for burial.
Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha – ZS6BUU.