HAMNET Report 31 December 2107


The ARRL News reports that Philippines Amateur Radio Association’s (PARA) Ham Emergency Radio Operations (HERO) volunteers assisted with emergency communication support in the wake of two severe weather events. Tropical Storm Kai-tak — known locally as Urduja — hit first in the central Philippines on December 16, leaving dozens dead and forcing others to evacuate. It was followed on December 22 by the more-severe Tropical Storm Tembin — known locally as Vinta — which caused significant damage and claimed some 200 lives in the southern Philippines. Hundreds more are reported missing.

Roberto “JoJo” Vicencio, DU1VHY, said HERO volunteers provided HF coordination through a national emergency net at 7.095 MHz. In addition, local clubs embedded with government responders used designated channels and club frequencies. According to Vicencio, TS Kai-Tak ravaged the Central Visayas area, holding in place for nearly 3 days.

“Much rain was dumped in the Samar and Tacloban areas of the Central Visayas region,” he said. “In situations like this, most radio amateurs in the affected areas fold into the government’s regional/provincial disaster risk-reduction management offices to consolidate the actions of the amateur and civic groups as well as the military and police forces.”

Just two days later, TS Tembin threatened the southern island of Mindanao. HERO reported that it was ready for the storm and able to mobilize the assets of radio amateurs and civic communications group as well as of police and armed forces.

Vicencio reported that the wind strength and volume of rains inundated Mindanao, taking a direct east-to-west path. Residential areas were hit by flooding, and many lost their lives after being trapped indoors by the fast-rising waters. The flooding also took out bridges and roads and devastated farm fields,

“There was a shortage of communications too,” Vicencio reported. “Many major transportation arteries were affected, further stranding others who tried to escape.”

This is said to be just the start of the annual adverse weather season in the Philippines, but Vicencio said the HERO Network is prepared. — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC, Chair, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee for these notes.

Vietnam was next in line to be lashed by Tropical Storm Tembin, and authorities in Vietnam prepared to move a million people from low-lying areas along the south coast on Monday (Dec 25) as the typhoon approached. Vietnam’s disaster prevention committee said 74,000 people had been moved to safety from vulnerable areas, while authorities in 15 provinces and cities were prepared to move more than one million.

The government ordered that oil rigs and vessels be protected and it warned that about 62,000 fishing boats should not venture out to sea.

“Vietnam must ensure the safety of its oil rigs and vessels. If necessary, close the oil rigs and evacuate workers,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was quoted as saying on a government website.

Schools were ordered to close in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday, a working day in Vietnam.

The Journal Gazette reported yesterday that Over 250 ultra-marathoners from around the country gathered at Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Albion for The HUFF 50K Trail Run. The 30-mile event on a wooded trail has attracted runners for over 20 years to northeast Indiana.

Other runners did the three-person 50K relay, and some a single loop of about 17K.

The race started at 8 a.m. for the one loop and first-leg relay runners, and the 50K began at 8:15 a.m.

Volunteers from the Amateur Radio Emergency Service provided safety and communications. Aid stations about every 3 miles provided sustenance, water and a safety check. The heated main tent at the Sand Lake beach house served hot soup and other refreshments to runners who had completed the course. Doesn’t that sound strange – serving hot soup after a race? We don’t need to do that here!

All evidence that emcomm volunteers don’t stop when the holidays start.

Local evidence of amateur involvement in the community comes from Chad Mileham, who reported on Rory ZS6RBJ’s write-up of a chainsaw massacre of a sort. It all started when a huge tree fell in bad weather and blocked the north-bound lane at the S-bend on  Christiaan de Wet Road, Constantia Kloof, Johannesburg. A call for help was sent out, and picked up by the Gauteng South chaps, and Nico Vorster came to the rescue with his trusty chainsaw. With supervision and help from Chad ZS6OPS and Rory ZS6RBJ, the obstruction was cleared. Read all about it on the Hamnet FaceBook page, where this and other bulletins are posted regularly. Subscribe and be notified of any HAMNET reports as they arise in this manner. We welcome your subscriptions there. Thank you to Chad for posting the report.

And so we draw to the end of the year. HAMNET has played a role in activities of one or other sort in all the provinces of the country, and proved our worth everywhere. Sports events, rescues, rallies, and cycle tours have all been grist to our mill, and many a time we have stood by, but not been needed in the end. HAMNET salutes all of you who have been willing to volunteer your time and your valuable radio equipment to make these things possible and safe for the community.

This also marks the end of my third year providing you with these bulletins. I hope you have gained some advantage from listening to them or reading them, and I look forward to continuing in the future. May I finish by wishing each and every one of you, radio operator or not, a very successful and happy 2018, with good health and prosperity in all that you do.

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