HAMNET Report 7 July 2019

The Belfast Telegraph Digital reports that an amateur radio enthusiast from County Londonderry has helped rescue a man more than 300 miles away in Wales.

Dungiven couple Esther Harper, and her husband Ivan Evans, were in Co Fermanagh near the border town of Belcoo yesterday lunchtime, when Esther received a mayday call.

Fellow radio ham Richard Haynes had stumbled across what he believed to be an injured motorist in the county of Ceredigion. The driver was on the Greenlaning Road on the Strata Florida trail, an off-road driving route.

Richard radioed Esther, who was surprised to receive the mayday call.

“I had a great signal, which is very unusual for that part of the Mournes,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I had never heard a mayday call before.”

Esther immediately sprang into action and rang 999. The emergency operator asked her to ring Richard back and get further details, because the rescue services weren’t sure if the call was genuine at the time.

When Esther radioed back she was able to get a grid reference and asked Richard to name a town close to where they were. From these details, the rescue services in Northern Ireland were able to contact the ambulance service in Wales. The emergency services were able to scramble a helicopter with a medical crew aboard, which was successful in rescuing the injured party.

After the brief encounter on the radio Esther heard nothing until later that evening.

But at around 8pm Richard got in contact with her to confirm the emergency services had arrived. Esther was unable to confirm the condition of the injured person, but was told that he had been air lifted within an hour of her ringing 999.

“I was amazed at the link-up between the different services. We were taken aback,” Esther said. Both she and her husband are members of the Northern Ireland North West Raynet group, which is part of a British national voluntary communications service provided by amateur radio operators.

Here’s a good example of the sort of report issued by a Field Day group in America after the exercise 2 weeks ago.

The Edgefield County Amateur Radio Club (call sign WR4EC) with the assistance of the Edgefield County Emergency Management Agency had a successful weekend on June 22nd & 23rd, participating in the Nation-wide Amateur Radio Field Day event. Nine operators set up, operated and broke down various radios and antennas throughout the weekend.  Switching between different modes of transmitting (voice, digital, and Morse Code), eight of the operators were able to provide 24 hours of continuous radio coverage.  The operators made 184 contacts across the country and with several other countries.

Amateur Radio Field Day has provided excellent training and situational awareness among the Amateur Radio operators in Edgefield County over the past few years.  Working as a team they have become proficient in being able to set up remote sites for communications by coming up with a plan and implementing it.  They are flexible and able to adapt when the plans need to be changed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

In a provisional appeal for volunteers to assist, Alister ZS1OK, of HAMNET Western Cape, says that a total of six operators with three vehicles are required to assist with communications for the Wildrunner Cape Winter Trail Series race taking place in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve at Kleinmond on Saturday, the 10th of August.

Two operators are required at the base. The other two vehicles, with two operators each, will be posted to two other locations along the route.  One vehicle is normally required at the Betty’s Bay side of the river, and a high clearance vehicle for this will be an advantage.

Any Hamnet operator able and willing to assist, is please to email Alister at zs1ok.alister@gmail.com.

Operators need to be at the start point in Kleinmond by 06h45 for the event briefing.  The event typically concludes by 14h00.

Seismologists are nervously watching the tectonic activity along America’s West coast after 2 major earthquakes in the last couple of days.

Saturday morning, at 05h19 our time, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck California just North East of Los Angeles, and about 100km  from Death Valley. 74000 people live within 100km of the epicentre at a depth of 17km.

Aljazeera, quoted by News24, says that tTop of Form

tt  tttt   he shallow quake struck near the small city of Ridgecrest and followed a 6.4-magnitude quake that hit the same area the day before.

The latest earthquake was 11 times stronger than the previous day’s “foreshock”, according to the US Geological Survey, and is part of what seismologists are calling an “earthquake sequence”.

The tremor was felt more than 240km away in Los Angeles, where the fire department deployed vehicles and helicopters to check on damage and residents in need of emergency aid.

The earthquake was the largest in southern California since 1999 when a 7.1-magnitude quake struck the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The tremor sent Ridgecrest residents fleeing outside for safety and reporting continued  aftershocks, with one woman saying she was “not comfortable” about heading back inside for the night.

The quake revived fears of the “Big One” – a powerful tremor along the San Andreas Fault that could devastate major cities in southern California.

On Thursday, Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones had warned a press conference that there was “about a one-in-20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days, and that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence.”

On Friday, Jones tweeted: “You know we say we have a 1 in 20 chance that an earthquake will be followed by something bigger? This is that 1 in 20 chance.”

HAMNET hopes that there will not be “something bigger” in the next few days, and asks operators to be mindful of the HF emergency frequencies used worldwide. Please listen carefully before transmitting on 20, 40 and 80 metres, and, even if you only hear some transmissions down in the noise floor, please give a wide berth to frequencies potentially being used.

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