Emergency Communications

Welfare Traffic to Dominica/Puerto Rico

The following update has been received from Jeff 9Y4J via Cesar Pio Santos HR2P the IARU Region 2 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator concerning the relief efforts in Dominica, with specific reference to Telecommunications.

"1. An emergency operating centre was activated using the call sign J73EOC, with batteries and a generator installed

2. The NEOC is being manned by radio amateurs, some of whom arrived from neighbouring countries.

3. Limited mobile service is available in the capital of Roseau with free SMS messaging and WiFi being provided

4. Troops from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The UK, and France have arrived and are bringing some order back to the country after widespread looting.

5 The USA have started activating their citizens

6 The CEWN (Caribbean Emergency and Weather net) webmaster, Franz/J69DS has established a link from his server to the EOC in Roseau in order to pass on the more than 2,000 messages on hand.

7 The CEWN continues to maintain a watch on 7188 kHz and 3815 kHz daily.

8 Major infrastructural damage was done, thus limiting access to many areas on the island."

Clear frequencies for the CEWN would be appreciated.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, radio amateurs have been operating brisk and busy ad hoc health-and-welfare traffic nets on 7.175 and 14.270 MHz. Only outgoing messages are being handled at the moment with incoming enquiries being directed to the American Red Cross 'safe and well' web pages. 2m is in heavy use supporting the restoration of utilities and law enforcement. Again clear frequencies for those listed and the Salvation Army SATERN net on 14.265MHz would be appreciated.

Carribean and Mexico Disasters - Update 3

Earthquake and hurricane emergencies

The 7.1 earthquake in Mexico that downed many buildings and killed more than 250, plus Hurricane Maria that swept through a number of Caribbean nations, have kept emergency communications frequencies busy with coordination and traffic.

Networks not in the affected areas, particularly the Colombia Amateur Radio League (LCRA), and in the USA, are seeking information about relatives in the Caribbean islands.

Reports are continuing from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, which hit Puerto Rico, Dominica and Turks and Caicos.

LCRA is using 7.117 MHz for SSB and 7.085 MHz for digital modes, as well as EchoLinkCOL_LCRA conference.

The Amateur Radio League of Cali's HK5VD is in support, under the guidance of Juan Manuel Yanguas HK5AKN, the LCRA Emergency Coordinator.

The Columbian national VHF repeater system is also involved as the last delivery point trying to reunite families displaced by the hurricane and its aftermath.

The ARRL even suspended normal use of its Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW, to assist in handling outbound health-and-welfare traffic from Puerto Rico for the evening of Friday September 22.

The Salvation Army SATERN frequency of 14.265 MHz and similar activities are happening elsewhere as desperate people are trying all means to make contact with their loved ones.

Meanwhile Cesar Pio Santos HR2P, EMCOR IARU R2, has reported that radio amateurs are providing rescue groups and authorities with coordination help, and communications.

In Mexico the station XE2A is in control sending some radio amateurs to Morelos to help there with a radio base station to be installed for emergency traffic and coordination.

Typical of the volunteer work in Mexico is Jesus XE2JTC and Octavio XE2JUM, who have travelled with others in 4-wheel-drive vehicles carrying hydraulic equipment and units to support breathing.

Authorities in all affected places say the recovery work is continuing and will do so for a long time.

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


Carribean and Mexico Disasters - Update 2

Hurricane Maria continues to move through the Caribbean with Puerto Rico the latest to be affected, losing power and many cellular phone stations. The SATERN net is operating on 14.265MHz with bilingual (Spanish/English) operators looking for any messages out of Puerto Rico. It has been reported from the Dominican Republic that some Puerto Rico stations are operating on 7.085 and 7.095 MHz and they are communicating with those stations.

In Mexico the earthquake response continues and the 7.095 MHz frequency is also in local use there as rescuers move into the affected areas. Co-Operation is starting between networks in the area and between all countries in the Caribbean area and their assistance is appreciated.

Carribean and Mexico Disasters Update

Two updates have been received about the use of Amateur radio in response to Hurricane Maria and the Earthquake which hit Mexico.

XE2O of FMRE in Mexico reports that they are maintaining an Emergency Network on 7060 kHz with the support of many Mexican radio amateurs. They have also deployed two mobile emergency communication units. One of them to the south of Mexico City and the other goes to the communities near the city where communication problems have been reported.

They have permanent contact on HF between the Command and Control centre in Mexico co-ordinatiing the emergency response and the Emergency Network of the FMRE.

9Y4J reports that Health and welfare traffic in and out of Dominica continues to be passed via amateur radio, on frequencies 7188 kHz, and 3815 kHz.

However, the airports remain closed, and an assessment of the seaports is underway. This will determine how soon relief goods, and substantial human resources can access the island.

As always, please listen carefully in the area of the frequencies given above and try to avoid QRM.

Emergency Net for Earthquake in Central Mexico

Following the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Tuesday the IARU member society, Federacion Mexicana de Radio Experimentadores or FMRE, had its National Emergency Net activated.

This is on 7.060 MHz, 3.690 MHz and 14.120 MHz as well as IRLP reflector 9200, channel 08. The epicenter in the central Mexico state of Puebla at 1814 UTC on Tuesday was southeast of Mexico City, which felt it.

Early reports had more than 120 people killed as the ‘quake toppled buildings and rescuers are searched the rubble for survivors.

FMRE President Al Tomez XE2O reports the National Emergency Net has been handling traffic to make up for the loss of some mobile phone networks.

He noted that the latest earthquake was on the anniversary of the 1985 magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck the Mexico City, killing some 9,500 people.

Since then Mexico has prepared for seismic events. A week ago, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off Mexico’s southern coast. It killed more than 60 people and caused considerable damage.

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