REPORT 11 December 2016

Between Tuesday and Friday this week, the Earth’s mantle continued to demonstrate its discomfort by producing no less that 55 earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or higher. Most of them were around the Pacific Rim of Fire as usual, with a magnitude 6.4 shock starting us off on Wednesday the 7th at 00h03 our time just off the coast of Aceh Province in Indonesia. Jim Linton VK3PC of IARU region 3 has been reporting on this, and says Hams are operating emergency communications on 7110kHz there. In his third report on Thursday, Jim says:

“The death toll from the earthquake in Aceh (Indonesia) on Wednesday has reached 100, with nearly 300 injured, and hams providing emergency communications to help with the response. The earthquake struck at 5am local time on Wednesday and the toll could have been much worse with the collapse of school mosques, which were not occupied at the time. IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee’s Dani Hidayat YB2TJV reports that it took two hours for the Ham Radio Group from Orari Aceh Region to reach the earthquake damage zone. An ORARI  Aceh province team (wearing ORARI uniform) lead by Abdullah Ali YB6AA (President), and Ismul Huda YB6AG (Secretary) and other friends supported the emergency communications in the field at Pidie Jaya. They soon received news that Zainal Abidin YC6FZ was injured when his house collapsed but his family were safe. Ismul YB6AG took Zainal YC6FZ to the Banda Aceh Hospital for treatment. Dani YB2TJV reports that 7.110 MHz is being used for emergency traffic, and the activation of hams was notified on the Whatsapp Group of National CORE that handles resources. There were flattened houses and buildings, infrastructure damage and large cracks in roads, in the worst-affected districts of Pidie Jaya and Pidie. As search and rescue teams continued to check the rubble of at least 125 homes, 105 shops and 14 mosques, many hundreds sheltered in a make-shift refugee camp.” End quote.

Slightly East of all this, India is being threatened by Tropical Cyclone VARDAH – 16 as it barrels down on the South-East coast of the country. Wind-speeds of up to 154kph have been measured, and the storm hasn’t formally crossed the coastline yet, lying 840km South-SouthEast of Vishakhapatnam as I write this.

And near the Solomon Islands, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck at a depth of 10Km under the sea, generating a tsunami of up to 3 metres high, on Thursday the 8th, at 19h38 our time. Luckily, there have been no reports of major damage or loss of life. About 35500 people live within 100km of the quake’s epicentre.

In his final message to HAMNET Western Cape for 2016, at our end-of-year function, Grant Southey ZS1GS, Regional HAMNET Director, took the opportunity to thank those in attendance for their support and efforts throughout the year. He noted that not everyone could attend the event, so took the opportunity to thank everyone who had assisted. To everyone that responded to rescues under the auspices of WSAR, Mr Neville van Rensburg asked him to thank them all on his behalf. WSAR acknowledge our contributions and vital input to help save people when they require our services.

Grant continued: “Under the banner of Hamnet, we had an eventful year with the Journey for Sight & Service, The 99er Cycle race, The Two Oceans and the Transkaroo Cycle race.  We also had a few members assist at other WSAR affiliated organizations’ events such as Matroosberg and Cedarberg. The regular Wildrunner events, being Silvermine, Jonkershoek, Helderberg and Marloth Mountain Challenges, also provided ample opportunities for us to put into practice our knowledge and expertise. To all the operators that assisted on these events – THANK YOU! I would also like to make a special thank you to Matt Feinstein, Herlu Mare and Peter Dekker for arranging these events. It is always tough doing the arranging and your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

”2017 is only a few days away and I do not see it as a repeat of the previous year, but rather as a year of opportunities where, as the leaders of the organisation, we are able to achieve more and better. I already have a planning session on the cards with a few members to help me forge the path forward and I know that we are up to the challenges that are laid before us.

“Remember that opportunities to help our fellow beings in times of need and disaster, take no holidays, so I ask that you remain vigilant and prepared to assist in whatever way you can, monitoring the designated frequencies and remaining “radio- active”. In closing I would like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and blessed festive season and I look forward to serving with you again next year.” End quote.

As a member of HAMNET Western Cape, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Grant for providing a shining example of what a Regional Director ought to be. Grant leads by example, and sets a high standard for us all to aspire to!

While I’m at it, let me thank Paul van Spronsen, our National Director, and Francois Botha, our custodian of the FaceBook pages, for continuing to steer the ship so faithfully and carefully, ensuring that we remain the facet of amateur radio that all provincial disaster managements know they can rely on, for communications in times when regular systems don’t work. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?!

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.