HAMNET Report 10th May 2020

Grant Southey ZS1GS, our National HAMNET Director, has issued a communique this week thanking most sincerely all those HAMNET members from around the country, who assisted in monitoring the marine bands, transmitting weather and other critical information for the benefit of the marine traffic around our coastline, and otherwise standing in for Cape Town Radio (ZSC) when it was obliged to close its station last weekend for about 60 hours, after a staff member there developed Covid 19.

Michael Taylor ZS1MJT, the Western Cape Regional Director for HAMNET, choreographed the shifts and messaging between amateurs that were necessary, and managed the various group messaging protocols used to keep all monitoring and transmitting stations up to date. He described it to me as being a very hectic weekend, but a task that he thoroughly enjoyed undertaking. And Grant ZS1GS was very complimentary in his thanks to the HAMNET members in all the regions.

Good show, fellows. Thank you for volunteering!

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has evacuated a sailor from a fishing trawler after he collapsed and required urgent medical assistance.

A call was made in the early hours of last Friday morning, according to NSRI Table Bay station commander Marc de Vos, from the fishing trawler, around 35 nautical miles off the shore of Hout Bay. An EMS duty doctor medically evaluated the sailor during radio communications.

“The doctor deemed it necessary to have the ill fisherman, who was suspected to be in a serious condition, evacuated from the trawler to the nearest appropriate hospital as soon as possible,” De Vos said.

The NSRI Table Bay duty crew, a paramedic and emergency services rescue technician responded and the Transnet National Ports Authority was alerted. Air rescue teams were placed on alert and the fishing trawler was instructed to head towards Green Point.

“The sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom rendezvoused with the fishing trawler in dense fog and deep sea off-shore of Llandudno. An NSRI rescue swimmer and the EMS rescue paramedic were transferred onto the trawler and the patient was medically stabilised and transferred onto the sea rescue craft,” said De Vos.

The sailor was transported to hospital in a stable condition by EMS ambulance and he is expected to recover fully.

Thank you to News 24 for that rescue report.

And in a kind gesture to all radio amateurs worldwide, who are feeling the loss of postal services delivering their favourite periodicals, the RSGB has magnanimously made the latest edition of RADCOM, its monthly magazine, free to download off the net by any and everybody. Visit https://rsgb.services/public/radcom/sample-edition/ to read this 100 page magazine!

The French national amateur radio society, which calls itself REF, has also made both April and May’s editions of its magazine Radio-REF available for free download as PDF’s.

In his post, REF President Jean-Louis Truquet F5DJL says he hopes that, by reading them, they will enhance your isolation and encourage those who know them less to discover the life of the association and of their community.

The editions are available at https://www.r-e-f.org/images/flippingbook/ and then 2020_04/2020_04.pdf for the April edition, or 2020_05/2020_05.pdf for the May edition. They are of course both in French.

Thank you to both the RSGB and the REF for their kind gestures.

In The Siasat Daily, we read that ham radio operators in Kolkata have been scanning the city round the clock during the ongoing Covid 19 lockdown to get medicines required by critically ill patients of West Bengal and outside.

With the help of police, these Good Samaritans have supplied medicines for cancer, hepatitis-B, HIV positive patients in several districts of West Bengal and a couple of North eastern states, the apex body of Ham Radio operators said.

Two patients, living in distant Aranghata in Nadia district, and Gangasagar in South 24 Parganas district, received homeopathic medicines from a reputed physician’s surgery after these amateur radio operators came forward, said Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary of the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC).

“With the help of a top disaster management official of Kolkata Police, we could procure the medicine and pass it on to these families. The two are among more than 100 people we managed to help during the lockdown,” he told PTI.

The WBRC, having 85 Ham Radio operators as members, has also come to the aid of an elderly cancer patient of Barasat in North 24 Parganas district, whose son in the USA could not send him a particular medicine like previous months because of the prevailing situation.

Around 30 orphaned children, all diagnosed as HIV positive, were given rice, dal, vegetables, salt, and cooking oil, after an NGO at Behala in the southern fringes of Kolkata, that look after them, sought help from the amateur radio operators.

Three patients of North eastern states, including a 7- year-old child, also received their medicines after the WBRC was contacted by their counterparts there. “Our members literally combed the city and the neighbourhood to find the medicines,” Nag Biswas said.

And, not to be outdone, our sister organisation in the UK, called RAYNET, reports that in March, during a routine 80m net, an amateur in the south-west remarked that he was elderly, without family to help him and was virtually out of food. The nearest RAYNET group, local to the gentleman concerned, was asked to see if anything could be done to help.

The local coronavirus support network was alerted and delivered a food package that afternoon.

Additionally, the local town council contacted the gentleman and organised a support package for him, as it transpired he is also disabled.

Thank you to all those who have helped to get vital support to this gentleman.  This was a real team effort.

Together we can save lives – even if you are confined to home, there is a huge amount we can do to support each other.

Thank you to Cathy, G1GQJ, for that report.

The coronavirus epidemic is certainly bringing out the best in mankind, but at what enormous cost! Will the world’s economies recover quickly from this disastrous year? I doubt it…

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