HAMNET Report 4 November 2018

Super Typhoon Yutu, which I mentioned last week having battered the Northern Mariana Islands, reached the Philippines this week, and Greg G0DUB mentions that he had been advised on last Monday by Dani YB2TJV that, to prepare for the effects of Typhoon YUTU in the Philippines, 7.095MHz is now in use by ‘Ham Emergency Radio Operators’ in the Philippines. The changing path of the typhoon had not pinned down the impact area but definitely the Northern and central part of Luzon would be affected. The strength of the wind had abated a bit to 130km/h, but at least 10 million people were threatened by that type of wind, as it crossed the Northern tip of the Philippines, and then veered to North-East along the coast of China. It is due to be between Taiwan and China today

Greg also mentions in another communique that Tilen S56CT reported that ARON in Slovenia were in a state of preparedness because of the bad weather last weekend. Flooding is now striking parts of NE Slovenia along the river Drava and high winds are also expected to cause problems in the Western part of the country.

ARON teams are QRV on DMR network TG 293112, VHF/UHF net-Echolink conference *SLOVENIA*, local repeaters and simplex channels and of course Winlink system. S50ARO monitors 3605 kHz voice as well. The channels are being kept active by sending a few radiograms on the 80 and 60 m band in MFSK32 mode with the content being weather forecasts with warnings.

Meanwhile in Greece nearly 50 earthquakes have struck the country since the 25th of October, with a magnitude just under 5.0 which is where property damage can occur. In Italy we also have flooding affecting Venice, with high water in the centre of town at 1.52m, but also in other parts of Italy, especially in Liguria with a sort of tsunami, and up to 12 people dead. Civil Protection is involved locally and at national level, and the critical situations were flood damage and electricity outages. France had snow and also suffered high winds and rain from Storm Adrian.

Europe has taken a battering, and Winter has hardly started there!

Wilderness Search and Rescue in the Western Cape has noted that Working On Fire (WOF) and other agencies are currently engaged in the containment of the raging wildfire in the mountains between George and Wilderness, and that the area has been closed off for a number of reasons:-

  1. It is very unsafe for members of the public to be in the area. The obvious fire and smoke hazard can be life threatening to any recreational outdoor user.
  2. The area must be clear of all civilians to allow the firefighters to concentrate on their job, which also includes starting secondary fires for the purpose of back burning. Being caught between two or more fire fronts will be a serious concern for the Wildfire Incident Commanders.
  3. The roads have to be free for the emergency vehicles to  use.
  4. It may happen that burning or burnt trees will be falling across roads.
  5. Firefighting aircraft are operating in the area as well.

The area mostly affected is the Outaniqua mountain range above George which is managed by Cape Nature (a signatory of Wilderness Search And Rescue).

WSAR asks the public to please be aware that this area is closed for the following activities until further notice:-

  • hiking
  • trail running
  • mountain biking
  • driving
  • and guest accommodation which may also be affected

Thank you to WSAR for these notes.

Meanwhile, Johan Terblanche, ZS1I, in Mossel Bay, has reported on the intense heat wave and gale-force winds in that part of the Western Cape, which have resulted in the devastating runaway fires, threatening the towns of George and Karatara in the Southern Cape area since October 24. An Amateur Radio Joint Operational Centre (JOC) was established on October 29, and radio amateurs were put on standby when parts of George experienced telephone and power outages in the Knysna area. Several new fires were also reported due to lightning.

At one point, those living in the affected areas were ordered to prepare for evacuation, although that order was later rescinded.

Radio amateurs in the Southern Cape have been asked to make their stations available to support emergency communication, should commercial systems fail. Johan Terblanche, ZS1I, in Mossel Bay, who administers the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN), reports that the Amateur Radio JOC is currently active on the AREDN Mossel Bay Mesh Network, Echolink, AllStar, Twitter, and Zello. The Amateur Radio JOC will remain active until all fires are brought under control. The death toll as a result of fires in the Southern Cape area now stands at 8, and more than 800 have been evacuated. Disaster relief operations continue. 

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