Emergency Communications

Ham teams help cyclone-hit India

{jcomments off}In the aftermath of powerful Cyclone Phailin teams of radio amateurs are working there round the clock. The Cyclone came ashore at Odisha in the Bay of Bengal flooding thousands of homes and forcing half a million people to leave early to seek to shelter in one of India's biggest evacuations.

Jayu S. Bhide VU2JAU asks that the frequency of 7145 kHz be kept clear during the disaster. In a QSO with them he has determined the team includes Dilip VU2DPI, Mithilesh VU3BHI and Sameer VU2AOR.

India had issued a red alert as a massive cyclone bore down on the east coast, an area known for disasters. "It is raining heavily," said Jayu VU2JAU, "but so far no casualty was recorded. Earlier they had six swept into the water. The rescue work is in progress and not affected by rains."

The Cyclone has impacted a 150-kilometre stretch of coastline. Relief efforts were under way, with free food being served in shelters. Many mud homes and farms were destroyed, and uprooted trees blocked roads. The windy and wet conditions remain some areas.

During Paradwip Cyclone in 1999 a government report put the death toll at 8,243 with 445,000 livestock lost. It took years for crop yields to recover.

(Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee).

2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Amateurs in action

Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel have hit Mexico simultaneously causing multiple deaths, landslides and disruption to the country. Radio Amateurs of the Mexican National Society FMRE have been active on 7060kHz as part of the response to the emergency.

Radio Amateurs are reminded of an earlier post here on the www.iaru-r1.org website listing the frequencies generally used by amateurs in Region 2 when responding to severe weather events.



Philippines on standby for Typhoon Labuyo

{jcomments off}Ramon, DU1UGZ of the Philippines Amateur Radio Association (PARA) reports that as of 7:00 a.m. Philippines local time today (Sunday 11th August ), the Philippines Amateur Radio Association (PARA) has activated their Ham Emergency Radio Operators ARES net centered on 7.095 MHz in preparation for the arrival of Typhoon Labuyo, Their local clubs are also activating local nets at 144.740 MHz.

Typhoon Labuyo has a big circulation – estimated at 600 kilometers. It has gustiness from 165 to 200 kilometers per hour.

He makes an urgent request for the usual cooperation of their neighbours in IARU Region 3 to keep clear from the emergency frequency.

GAREC 2013 - Summary Report

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The ninth Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference, GAREC-2013, took place in Zurich, Switzerland hosted by the Union Schweizerischer Kurzwellen-Amateure (USKA) and was attended by 45 delegates from 14 countries. The theme of the conference was 'Do we need emergency communications in the 'first world''.

Presentations were received on;

  • The effects of a loss of electrical power on a countries infrastructure and how amateur radio could provide support.

  • The role of the International Telecommunications Union in promoting emergency communications.

  • The structure of amateur radio emergency communications groups in India and Italy.

  • Three different methods of providing digital communications structures for emergency email and file transfer.

  • In an open session the conference also considered the problems of convincing both the amateur radio community and our regulators of the value of emergency communications activities. While solutions may not be easy to find, sharing the problems and allowing individual countries to recognise that they were not alone provides valuable support to the Global community.

A directed exercise was also held where the delegates were asked to work together as one team, providing emergency communications for a fictional country and event. This encouraged the delegates to consider what their ideal network and licence conditions would look like as well as enhance the inter-personal relationships between the delegates helping them to work together more efficiently in future.

Certain themes began to emerge through the activities.

  • The importance of data modes and packet radio as part of the emergency communications toolbox.

  • The importance of practising with different modes so skills are kept up to date. This should be frequently as the best system is one you already use.

  • An increased awareness of the vulnerability of infrastructure to loss of power and utilities and the possibility that we may be asked to support other groups.

  • Every country has different disaster response needs reflecting their situation and there is no one way of working. But there are methods which we can adapt to our needs.

  • We are all volunteers and are always learning and always seek to do the best for our communities within our means.

  • There was increased understanding of the restrictions placed on Radio Amateurs in different countries in emergency response.

  • Good operating practice is key to efficient emergency communications. The production of IARU training material for emergency communications is encouraged. Local training is always required to meet local government needs.

The next GAREC will be held in Huntsville, USA in August 2014 and all groups and organisations involved in amateur Radio Emergency Communications are invited to attend to share their knowledge and learn from others.

The venue for 2015 is currently planned to be Tampere, Finland.

The delegates wish to record their thanks and appreciation for the generous hospitality of USKA and our Swiss hosts for this successful conference.

Canada floods keep hams busy

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Swollen rivers and creeks have caused flooding over a wide swath of the southern part of Alberta in Canada. The government has declared a local emergency for 25 communities, which are in various stages from disaster control to clean-up, which will continue for some time. Evacuations are keeping residents safe although some 1,500 people stranded and many bridges washed away.

The Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) through its ARES groups is providing emergency help and asks that the frequencies of 7.135 MHz and 3.675 MHz be kept clear. The frequencies have been pre-determined with help from the IARU Region 2. There have been reports of some interference this weekend from participants in the ARRL Field Day.

The flood has caused serious issues with the communication infrastructure in southern Alberta. Currently traditional communications are sporadic at best. ARES has deployed its members and at times provided the only communications link.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Commitee.