Emergency Communications

Tropical Cyclone Ita in Queensland Australia

After causing damage and resulting in at least 23 deaths in the Solomon Islands ‎on April 5, the category 5 Tropical Cyclone Ita came ashore in Queensland‎ in Australia's northeast. Dale McCarty VK3DMC reports that no Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network‎ (WICEN) activation has occurred so far, point in time. He said frequencies are constantly monitored and many of the Far North Queensland‎ hams are checking in just to see how others are faring. The frequencies are 7.088 MHz and 3.588 MHz until the cyclone which has been‎ downgraded to a category 1 continues to move south with strong winds and‎ flooding.

When the cyclone came ashore at Cooktown about 50 buildings were damaged‎ another five written off, road were blocked, water supply was critically,‎ power and communications affected. A strong winds and torrential rain closing airports as the weather system‎ moved south to cause more damage. Sugar cane and banana crops were flattened. The population were well prepared with many taking refuge in community shelters.‎ The mobile phone service remained mostly intact and fibre optic cables provided ‎communication with some areas. Tropical Cyclone Ita has formed over the northern Coral Sea to engulf the ‎Solomon Islands which has at least 23 people dead, about 30 people missing, ‎and has left 49,000 homeless. The country was also felt a 7.6-magnitude earthquake 96 kilometres south southeast ‎of the provincial capital of Kirakira, but it caused minimal damage.

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

Tropical Cyclone - Australia

As Tropical Cyclone Ita impacts on far northern area of Australia, WICEN has declared a number of frequencies for health and welfare traffic including 7.088 MHz an 3.588 MHz, as well as 2m and 70cm. Dale McCarthy VK4DMC reports that at this point in time the cyclone has crossed the coast at Cape Flattery which is just north of Cooktown as a severe category 4 system. Cooktown is experiencing very strong wind and heavy rain. The system will track south/west over the next 12 to 24 hours and possibly impact on the Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas and Cairns before heading south towards Townsville.

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

Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference open for Registrations

The America Radio Relay League (ARRL) Alabama Section and the Huntsville Hamfest, have announced further details of the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) Conference in August. Held in Huntsville, Alabama, it will be on August 14th and 15th - just before the two-day ARRL Southeastern Division Convention - Huntsville - The World's Friendliest Hamfest. 

GAREC-14 focuses on the application of advanced technologies available in emergency communications. All Emergency Communication-minded radio amateurs and professionals are invited to attend. The venue is the Embassy Suites Hotel in Huntsville, adjacent to the Von Braun Convention Centre and the Hamfest. The Huntsville Hamfest is the Regional ARRL Centennial Event, held on Saturday August 16th and Sunday 17th. This is the second time Huntsville has hosted GAREC - previously it was in 2007. The GAREC-14 website contains a lot of information. An agenda to be finalised later is to include reports by IARU regions, those involved in recent emergency communications work and the technology that can be used.

GAREC-14 Website: http://www.w4ozk.com/GAREC14.htm
GAREC-14 Registration: http://www.arrl.org/garec-2014

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Chile Earthquake - Activation

The Radio Club de Chile has been activated due to earthquake. It is working in collaboration with ONEMI, National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security.

Media reports are that five have died in the 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale earthquake which hit off shore Chile sparking a tsunami warning.

All emergency frequencies and others may be in use.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.{jcomments off}

Missing flight search involves Amateur Radio Emergency Communicators

The vanishing of the Malaysian Airline (MAS) Boeing 777-200ER jetliner with 239 passengers on board is a mystery that nine nations are trying to solve.

When flight MH370, ex-Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, disappeared from the air traffic control radar, the MAS Emergency Management Centre (EMC) at Kuala Lumpur Airport provided accommodation for all next-of-kin at the Everly Hotel at Putrajaya.

The Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitters’ Society President, Mohd Aris Bernawi 9M2IR, said MARTS was asked to provide a link between the airport and the hotel.

Mohd 9M2IR said at the hotel MARTS quickly set up a station, led by Zanirul Akhmal Zanirun 9M2PRO, and Azizi Samsuri 9W2ZZE was the MAS team leader.

NESRAC, a club from Negeri Sembilan, provided the volunteers for the station at the airport’s Emergency Management Centre.

MARTS provided a cross-band VHF/UHF link to avoid any unnecessary interference from the public services. An HF link was later added.

During the call-out there were 11 volunteers at EMC and 23 volunteers at the hotel, on a shift roster for the link.

Mohd 9M2IR, who oversaw the entire process, said MARTS an IARU member society, was pleased to be able provide the link on the very tragic occasion. The search for MH370 continues.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.{jcomments off}