AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report.......next weekend is the Easter weekend - our plan of action...........
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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 13 April 2014
Next weekend we have the Easter Weekend on our doorstep. Thousands of motorists are going to take to the road heading for who knows were. Mainly to coastal and possibly some inland resorts! But whatever way you look at it, accidents on the road are a forgone conclusion.
How do we overcome this carnage on the road? No easy answer. Everyone says it’s a case of attitude but my personal feeling is reckless drivers, drivers with no or little experience and the obvious one, drivers who obtained their licences illegally through corrupt dealings.
It could also be wise to do a thorough check over your vehicle before leaving – tyres, brakes fuel and cooling systems etc. A visit to a qualified service centre may also be a suggestion!
But, it’s the idiot on the road who is the one that causes the most damage in any accident as so often it is the innocent experienced and well versed driver who has the bear the brunt of some inexperienced misguided missile on the road.
All one can really say is; be alert. Anticipate what the driver is supposed to do, but is not going to do it! Sometimes, just a split second decision that could be the difference between life and death!
Thursday the 17th from about noon is crunch time. The return journey Monday the 21st will be no exception.
HAMNET will be monitoring our emergency frequencies namely 7,110 MHz, 10,125 MHz as well as 14,300 although the latter is more for longer distances.
There is another band we have been doing some tests on during the past few weeks. This is not a frequency associated with emergency communication, but tests have shown where conditions on the first two frequencies are poor, 18.155 MHz in the 17 m band has shown a lot of potential. In some cases, we have been absolutely surprised at the quality of transmissions as well as the time of day when one would not consider using this band.
The Western Cape in particular has been very active on all the emergency bands and we invite other Provinces to become more active during times when situations allow you to be in the shack. This coming Easter Weekend is an ideal opportunity to listen out for emergency calls but also an opportunity to try out various bands – on the hour every hour to test and check propagation and working conditions.
To those who will be on the road and not have radio contact, obviously your cell phone can be useful on 10177 as well as 117. Not forgetting JAMLINE or 084 526 5463. Rob Byrne and his team will be very grateful for reports on road conditions, snarl-ups, accidents, severe weather and or anything that will help to make your journey uneventful.
Alternatively, other emergency numbers as advertised along your route is yet another means of getting the message through!
We also extend our good wishes to the Hamnet Western Cape team who will carry the majority of all communications during the annual Two Oceans Marathon that takes place on the Saturday of the Easter Weekend! We also wish all taking a break over Easter a safe journey stay alert and get home safely.
Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha - ZS6BUU,