HAMNET Report 20 August 2017

A group of six HAMNET operators assisted with the event communications at the Kogelberg Wildrunner Trail Run which took place in rainy conditions at Kleinmond on Saturday morning, 12th of August.  The six operators consisted of: Matt ZS1MTF and Steven ZS1DAD who operated from a location where having vehicles with high ground clearance was essential.  John ZS1JNT and Douw ZS1DGK operated from the golf course parking area, while Peter ZS1PDE and Alister ZS1OK operated the base station located in the parking area of the Kleinmond beach and lagoon.  It was the first time that Steven and John had been involved in a trail running event.

Conditions were rather wet, with regular rain squalls during the event and this impacted the runners having to negotiate areas of large standing water in some of the trail areas. Because of the wet conditions they mostly operated from within their vehicles. Fortunately there were no serious incidents during the event and support of the communications went off well without issues.  Thank you Alister ZS1OK for the report.

Greg G0DUB has reported from the IARU Region 1 Emergency Comms section that the IARU Region 1 conference will be taking place in Landshut, Bavaria, in 31 days time. The different IARU working groups have been asked to have meetings on Sunday 17th September and the Emergency Communications meeting will be at 14:00 in room S.0.211 for two hours.

From earlier responses and the participants list, Greg knows the following people who are listed as Emergency Communications Co-Ordinators will be present at the meeting:

7X2RO, YO3CZW, TF3JA, 9K2QA, 9H1PI, ON7TK and C31US.

The original aim of the WG meetings was to provide good input into the main meetings of the IARU conference. Since Greg does not have many Emergency    Co-Ordinators who are also in their National Society Delegations he thought a meeting could be better spent as an introduction to Emergency Communications to those countries who are not involved yet.

And in another report, Greg, G0DUB, says that Cesar Pio Santor HR2P has reported that as Tropical Storm Harvey passed through the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN) was activated as flooding was reported in Barbados along with some houses losing their roofs. Jeff, 9Y4J, hopes to provide more detail, once more information is collected on the situation in the area, and also on the activities that amateurs are involved in by the passage of Tropical Storm Harvey on the islands of the Caribbean.

The CEWN Network uses the frequencies 7,162 kHz and 3,815 kHz according to propagation conditions. The storm is expected to continue through Central America until Thursday. When a more detailed report is available from Region 2 he will post it to the website.

Times Live reports that KwaZulu-Natal’s disaster management teams were on high alert as extreme weather conditions hit the province.

The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)‚ Nomusa Dube-Ncube‚ appealed to residents‚ particularly in areas prone to heavy snowfalls and flooding‚ to heed the advice and updates from the South African Weather Services when planning trips that require driving or any other outdoor activities.

“We are specifically appealing to parents to ensure that all school-going children avoid precarious routes that are prone to flash flooding. We urge all schools to plan all outdoor activities carefully and in line with the latest weather updates‚” said Dube-Ncube.

She warned snow watchers to stay clear of affected areas as they risk being trapped if the areas become impassable.

Motorists have also been urged by the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport‚ Community Safety and Liaison‚ Mxolisi Kaunda‚ to exercise caution.

Heavy snow has fallen in parts of the Eastern Cape and southern Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal‚ with heavy rain and warnings of flooding expected in the province from Friday.

“There have been reports of snow and mist in some parts of the province and certain parts of the Eastern Cape and Lesotho. I urge all motorists to stay clear of areas where there is snow until the situation is back to normal‚” said Kaunda.

Here’s a good news story, where two-way radio saved the life of a runner. The Otago Daily Times reports that a woman who got lost while running in bush near Bluff in Southland was able to contact friends of her plight by cellphone before her battery died.

But police search and rescue volunteers still had a bit of work to do to find the 33-year-old. The woman’s friends called Invercargill police at 7.25 pm on Tuesday. “Contact with the missing person was lost when her cellphone battery died,” police said.

Twelve search volunteers from Invercargill Landsar and amateur radio emergency communications groups, along with police, were involved in the search.

The woman was found at 11pm south of Omaui “slightly cold, but in very good health,” police said. The two-way radio I referred to? Cellphone comms, of course!

Finally, let me leave you with a glimmer of light at the end of the Western Cape’s drought tunnel. The Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town has finally released details of the plans to provide desalinated water at about 4 different sites, to claim water from the ground and the Table Mountain Aquifer by means of several specialised boreholes, and to reclaim water from water treatment plants in and around Cape Town. The campaign to encourage the community to use less that 87 litres of water per person per day continues, and may even be further restricted in future water restriction announcements. The small amount of rain we’ve experienced in the last week or two have actually increased the average dam levels in the Western Cape by two percentage points to 30%, though still badly down on the 57% at this time last year.

And lest you all take me too seriously, may I remind you that research has shown that 47% of all statistics are inaccurate!

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