HAMNET Report 3rd October 2021

This weekend we first turn our attention to the Island of Crete, Greece, which experienced a magnitude 5.8 earthquake last Monday the 27th. Sotirios Vanikiotis SV1HER, Emcomm coordinator for Greece, reported that one person had been killed and twelve injured. Radio amateurs were not activated as the quake time was very short. The nearest village Archalochori sustained some minor damage.

Sotirios says interestingly that, in the previous 30 days, Crete had been shaken by 1 magnitude 5.8 quake, 10 between 4 and 5, 60 between 3 and 4, and 166 between 2 and 3 magnitudes. 86 quakes of less than magnitude 2 were measured, but would not have been felt by the inhabitants. That is a total of 323 jolts in one month, an average of 10 a day. Difficult to carry on normal daily life, I should think, waiting for the really big one to happen. Happily, so far, it hasn’t!

RTE reports that Spain has classified La Palma as a disaster zone, a move that will trigger financial support for the island where a volcanic eruption has wrecked buildings and destroyed crops over the past nine days.

The government announced a first package of €10.5 million, which includes around €5 million to buy houses, with the rest to acquire furniture and essential household goods, government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez said.

Lava has been flowing down the volcano’s western flank towards the sea since 19th  September. It has destroyed almost 600 houses and banana plantations in La Palma, which neighbours Tenerife in the Canary Islands archipelago off the North African coast.

Thousands have been evacuated and three coastal villages were locked down yesterday in anticipation of lava meeting the Atlantic Ocean and releasing toxic gases. But authorities cannot determine if and when the molten rock will reach the sea or how long the eruption will continue.

For several hours yesterday, the eruption slowed to a near halt before roaring back into life in the evening.

“We are still waiting [for] whatever the volcano wants to do,” said Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee. “When the lava reaches the sea, the lockdown must be strictly observed.”

Now, in the “Ag Shame” category, we read a story from the National Sea Rescue Institute’s monthly newsletter of an inland rescue on Hartbeespoort dam in September. The NSRI writes:

“When reports came flooding in that a dog was in the middle of Hartbeespoort Dam struggling to make her way to shore, Station 25 (on Hartbeespoort Dam) wasted no time in launching to find and save her.

“On the afternoon of Friday, 17 September, Hartbeespoort Dam’s community Facebook page was abuzz with reports of a dog in the middle of the dam in danger of drowning. At the same time, Station 25’s station commander Arthur Crewe received call after call (more than 20, he says) from concerned members of the public asking the NSRI to help. Arthur and three crew members mobilised quickly, launching the rescue vessel Sea Legs and within minutes had reached the area where the dog had last been spotted.

“They noticed a jetskier trying to guide the dog in the direction of the shore. They reached the frightened, exhausted animal and brought her to shore where two bystanders, Jaco and Anne, from Kosmos, were waiting with blankets and water. They gently warmed the dog, rehydrated her, and offered her a little food, all the while trying to keep her as calm as possible.

“Anne then took the dog, which we named Sea Legs to the Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society (HAWS),” Arthur says. “When we found her, she was about 100 metres from shore, and it’s unlikely she went for a swim by herself,” he adds. While reluctant to speculate, it’s very telling that despite all the publicity, no one has claimed the dog, and when she was found she had quite a severe head wound. She was also on heat.”

“Thankfully, Sea Legs is in the capable and safe hand of HAWS personnel who are attending to her injuries and taking care of her. A foster family has been found, and she can look forward to a safe and loving home in the future.

“Grateful thanks to all who reported the incident and to Jaco and Anne for their loving assistance.” Close quote.

One does not have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that a doggie does not just end up in the middle of a dam with a severe head wound all by herself. This appears to be another example of man’s inhumanity to animals. Thanks to the NSRI for reminding us of the love we ought to be showing to man’s best friend.

Finally, Cision PRWeb reports that Tait Communications, a leading provider of critical communications solutions for the public safety, utilities and transportation industries, announced the TAIT AXIOM® Wearable on Friday the 1st, a compact, broadband-connected device that allows mobile teams to work beyond the radio network edge and in challenging areas like building interiors, automatically switching communications bearers.

“Emergency response can send workers into areas where radio communications are suddenly not available, and critical conversations between the dispatcher and team members stop,” said Yoram Benit, Tait Communications Chief Executive Officer. “The Wearable provides an alternate communication path through broadband networks to ensure the conversations keep going.”

The lightweight, standalone device mounts on a uniform like a radio speaker microphone and accesses TAIT AXIOM® cloud-based Push-to-Talk services using broadband networks, including public/private LTE, WiFi and Ethernet. Heads-up operational controls, like a rotary dial and large dedicated buttons for PTT and distress calls, keep eyes looking safely forward. Interoperability with Tait LMR networks allows companies to invite broadband-connected workers outside the LMR network into radio conversations regardless of their location, and without the expense of a dedicated radio or network expansion.

“Now, support personnel can become part of the larger conversation, helping front-line workers be safer and more productive by communicating one-on-one or through talk-groups, without the added step of sharing information through a dispatcher,” said Benit.

When attached to a Tait TP9000 Series portable radio via cord or Bluetooth, the Wearable performs the function of a powerful speaker microphone, delivering exceptional audio via a 3W front-facing speaker and three active noise cancellation microphones. In the event the portable radio loses connection with the LMR network, communications automatically switch to the Wearables broadband connection, providing a path for voice conversations as well as emergency alerting and location information.

Clever technology that I hope will filter through to all levels of rescue comms.

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