AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION NETWORK
IN HAMNET's Amateur Radio Report........two more GAREC presentations and Festive Season wishes......
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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 21 December 2014
The final two other presentations we need to have a look at are those from SATERN and MARS. Don’t get me wrong – we are not looking at planets but acronyms associated with very well organised emergency groups.
The Salvation Army (SATERN) run a very efficient radio network across the country and liaises with all other emergency groups when any disaster hits any region. They are well equipped with just about anything one can envisage that may be needed in any emergency. Trailers, operational centres and many volunteers that operate all over the country!
The Military Amateur Radio Service or (MARS) also liaises with any group of operators and the one thing about all the groups in the USA, there is no animosity or jealousy or any friction when it comes to participating in a disaster. The task to assist the authorities and the community is uppermost in all their minds and close working relationships between the various groups is absolutely commendable.
Other presentations were done but they are not available at this time but as I indicated in last week’s bulletin, these presentations will all become available in the IARU website in due course.
One thing that stands out from all the various emergency services across the United States is the high level of cooperation that exists between the groups in times of any emergency. This is commendable especially in a country so prone to natural disasters esp. twisters, severe cold weather and not forgetting ‘Old Man River’ the Mississippi when she comes down in flood.
Over the past 50 odd years, Hamnet has answered the call locally and has adequately filled the gap to ensure that good communications can be established after any emergency. Hamnet has proved how close it works with all Government Organisations, NGO’s and the SAPS and there definitely is no need to establish more emergency networks in our country.
The coverage offered by Hamnet as an umbrella body, covers all corners of our country and has a proven record to lay claim of being an efficient organisation! We are recognised by the SARL the IARU and all local and national Government Departments of our services.
Our ‘partners’ during many emergencies include various Off Road Rescue Teams, various Metro Rescue Units, The Mountain Club of South Africa, The NSRI ( National Sea Rescue Institute) the K9 dog Unit who will all underscore our willingness to assist during and after many emergencies over the years.
For me today, this is my final weekly contribution to Amateur Radio Today. As from next week, the 28th of December 2014, this responsibility has been handed over to Dave Reece, ZS1DFR who volunteered for the task. Dave is based in Cape Town which is appropriate as Paul van Spronsen, ZS1V, and our National Director is also based in the Western Cape.
Dave has been a member of Hamnet for many years and is well equipped to take on the new responsibility.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege over the past 32 odd years to be involved with, lead and develop Hamnet, contribute to Amateur Radio Today, the SARL Hamnet website as well as Facebook – but the latter will still be under my control.
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Blessed Christmas and festive season, please drive safely if you are going on holiday and a prosperous 2015.
Reporting for Hamnet, this is Francois Botha – ZS6BUU.