Emergency Communications

Hams play role in welfare and recovery efforts after Pakistan's floods

The medical and food support being provided to the many people affected by the flood disaster in Pakistan affecting six million people is being assisted by the combined efforts of radio amateurs, a group of four wheel drive enthusiasts and the Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP). Around a quarter of the country has been affected by the floods over the last three weeks that were triggered by intense summer monsoon rainfall swelling the Indus River into Pakistan's worst ever flood. The United Nations estimates 20 million have been affected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces and 1600 lives lost.

Dutch Emergency Communicators successful in major exercise.

In collaboration with the Dutch Army, DARES took part in exercise 'Civil Challenge' from June 22 to June 24, 2010. DARES' task was to establish an email link between the locations of the Army in Vught and Budel with an additional LAN-network provided at Budel for the number of users there. Six tactical email accounts, 1 in Vught and 5 in Budel were created to support the exercise.

To realise this email link, the Winlink system  with existing, new or temporary RMS Packet Gateway stations
was used for this exercise. DARES also took the opportunity to organise 3 Master Classes, in which the operation and use of the VHF / UHF Winlink system was explained and demonstrated to the participants (20 in total). For DARES it was also a training exercise with an opportunity to test all their new TNC-X modems.

Successful end to the World Cup for Region 1

Aside from the obvious success on the pitch for the Region\'s Football teams, the World Cup final also marked the end of a one month standby period for HAMNET, the Emergency Communications Group of South Africa.

For the duration of the tournament , HAMNET members have been on standby ready to provide communications links from the Joint Communications Centre to anywhere where communications have been needed should there have been an incident at the event. This was no easy task with ten venues spread across the country along with many more training grounds, fan parks or other places where the thousands of tourists or fans may have gathered.

The event has been an excellent exercise in preparedness. With much gained and nothing lost. HAMNET now has two emergency units at their disposal now with one designed into a flight case in such a way that it contains just about everything one needs in a field or ops room situation. Everything is neatly contained in the case and all the plugs are ready to be connected the antennas, power supply etc that may be needed for the occasion.

Congratulations to HAMNET and South Africa for an excellent tournament. For further information on HAMNET activities contact Francois ZS6BUU


European Emergency Radio Conference

A European Emergency Radio Conference is being organised in the German town of Gross-Gerau for the weekend of 24th to 26th September 2010. Known as EuREC-DL, the conference aims to bring together Radio Amateurs and Emergency Services to show how the two groups can work together to increase the resilience of their communications.

The conference is supported by the German Red Cross, Kreisverband Groß-Gerau e.V. and more information can be found at  http://www.eurec-dl.de/

Spanish Emergency Communicators involved in major exercises.

Spanish Radio Amateurs have been involved with two major exercises recently, raising the profile of the Amateur Service and testing their own skills.  

In the first exercise several teams of the spanish Emergency Radio Network (REMER, Red Radio de Emergencia), a group of 4000 amateur radio operators which is integrated in the Spanish General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, participated in the international exercise PRES EU 2010,  which took place at the Madrid Barajas International Airport on June 26th. This exercise was funded as part of European Union Project "EU Rapid Response Capability 7".

The exercise simulated an accident resulting from a plane leaving the runway on landing and crashing into a building in which radioactive substances for hospital use were stored. This exercise envisaged the possibility of a large number of victims of different nationalities and the activation of the corresponding Civil Protection plans in an environment of radiological contamination. More than 600 Spanish emergency technicians were deployed and also several teams from eight european countries.

The REMER amateur radio teams were deployed in the area of the exercise in order to operate
a VHF coordination network and to provide technical support to the European Union Command Post. The network covered several strategic points inside the area of operations, such as the accident site, the Command Post and the vehicle rendezvous point.

The Spanish General Director of Civil Protection and Emergencies (Ministry of Interior) acknowledged the participation of REMER during an official ceremony four days after the exercise, where she acknowledged the important support provided by the amateur radio operators.

Further information on this event ( in Spanish ) with pictures can be found here.