Super typhoon clean-up underway

December 28th, 2016

Six people have been killed and more than 380,000 evacuated as Super Typhoon Nock-Ten (locally Nina) cut a path through the Philippines, with the Ham Radio Emergency (HERO) net activated in advance.

The Christmas Day disaster cut power to five provinces, downed trees, caused widespread damage, and dimmed the festive occasion in Asia’s largest Catholic nation.

The slow moving typhoon made landfall seven times from Sunday evening until noon on Monday. Jojo Vicencio DU1VHY says: “A truly commendable job was done by many radio amateurs who not only gave up their traditional Christmas activities, but some had to stop transmissions because they were in the storm path.”

In the Catanduanes were Sider DU4SLT of ARCC, Dexter DU4DXT and Joseph DV4PGS Joseph of ISLACOM, with other groups in Bicol and Samar-Leyte. All were on HF, and VHF communications were also active.

Jojo DU1VHY says as the typhoon first made landfall some network stations were off air, with weather reports for Catanduanes of sustained winds in excess of the 200kph mark.

Then gradually stations came back giving reports of the terrible damage that had occurred in their areas. As the typhoon swept along the Southern Tagalong areas it made landfall several times. Mannduque was badly hit too, as reported by HERO.

Jojo DU1VHY says: “It created a large swath of destruction and debris – uprooted and fallen trees and posts, landslides, impassable roads and other damage. Even our own HEROs were not spared.”

The reports were quickly gathered by the network and relayed to authorities, some tuned in to the HERO net themselves.

“The HEROs persisted. To get back on air, primarily to update the network of hams is truly admirable,” he said.

One such station when asked for his immediate needs after the typhoon had passed, replied simply that he was coping OK, and then gave accounts of what had happened.

Jojo DU1VHY says: “It has now become a reality that our emergency calling frequency is the most listened to during disaster. Government operators listened in, and some even revealed their presence.

“Armed Forces station Peacemaker in Catarman, for example, broke into the frequency looking for a counterpart station also in Northern Samar.

“An NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) volunteer operator made his presence felt saying they were also monitoring.”

The Office of Civil Defence (OCD) has two stations that constantly visited the HERO net. From Leyte to Quezon the HERO communications on 7.095 MHz never faltered.

Jojo DU1VHY says: “Thank you to all those who willingly parted with their Christmas time to be of service to others. We all must continue to hone our communications skills to meet and be prepared for the future.”

About 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, with emergency communications to the community and other agencies provided by the HERO network.

– Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications
Committee.

Super Typhoon in Philippines Southeast

December 25th, 2016

The alerts are out as a powerful late-season typhoon Nock-ten (Nina
local name), with PARA activating the Ham Emergency Radio Operations
(HERO) as it is to make landfall.

Roberto Vicencio DU1VHY reports the effects are being felt in the south
eastern portion of the Philippines with Typhoon Cyclone Warning Signals
raised in the Southern Luzon and the Bicol Region.

The HERO network is using 7.095 MHz nationally while each local club is
on the 2-metre band.

Authorities have urged hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their
homes on coastal areas with winds up to 240 kph, but the typhoon was
expected to weaken over land.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services
Administration forecast a storm surge in parts of the country, along
with heavy rains and flooding.

The typhoon was projected to weaken as it passed over the central area
including the capital Manila.

– Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications
Committee.

Volunteers – Thank you.

December 4th, 2016
The Amateur Radio Emergency Network is our national organisation for harnessing the capability of Ham Radio to help our emergency services and communities during major emergencies.  In order to do that members prepare and test equipment, learn and practice appropriate skills and volunteer in a coordinated way to deliver on the promise.  We build relationships with our local communities and emergency services through providing communications cover at sporting events and through participation in multi-agency exercises.
One of the most important events on the calendar is the national training and development weekend held in Dromineer County Tipperary on the shore of Lough Derg. It is where members from all regions can get together to share knowledge and experience, demonstrate kit, develop skills, get to know each other better and collectively steer the direction the organisation is going.
This years event took place on the 19th and 20th of November and was well attended. AREN would like to thank Declan and Fiona of Lough Derg House for accommodation, The Whiskey Still pub for meals and refreshments and Lough Derg Yacht Club for the training room. Finally a big ‘Thank you’ to all the members who attended and contributed over this weekend.

Training and Development weekend.

October 2nd, 2016

The 5th National annual training and development weekend will be held at the usual venue of Lough Derg House, Dromineer County Tipperary on 19th and 20th of November. New members welcome. Inquiries to Conor EI4JN, John EI7IG.

On October 7th and 8th AREN will take part in an multi-agency exercise on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry run by Inter Agency Emergency Management Office. Contact Conor, EI4JN for further information.

Recently, five AREN members from four different counties assisted at this years Sean Kelly Tour. AREN assisted in setting up the control center, provided asset tracking and live weather reporting from the mountains.

A prototype Internet-of-things based tracking device developed by John, EI7IG was tested on the event. John subsequently presented a paper on project at the ARRL/TAPR conference in Florida last month.

Global Simulated Emergency Test 2015

December 11th, 2015

Since 2006 the International exercises organised by IARU Region 1 have concentrated on testing between countries using the emergency centre of activity frequencies defined in the band plans, and passing formal messages across language barriers.
Some countries are very involved in emergencies but have not been able to take full part because of timing or their distance from other countries.

Following the Nepal Earthquake earlier this year, a new test is required to demonstrate that Amateur Radio is able to respond quickly to an emergency. GlobalSET 2015 will take place, but with a focus on our organisation rather than on how easily groups can set up field stations.

We announce that between 12-22nd December, the IARU Regional Emergency Communications Co-Ordinators will trigger a call out exercise in their region. The exact time will depend on the Regional co-ordinators and may not be a weekend as disasters can occur at any time.

We will use whatever means considered appropriate to ask the IARU Member Societies and Groups known to be active in emergency communications to contact their members and ask them how quickly they could get on air if required.
There is a time limit of 24-48 hours to complete their local call out exercise and submit their results through a web form which will make the results far easier to produce than earlier years.

By using a web form it is hoped that any language barriers are removed as online translation tools can be used to convert this into their local language to make it easier to fill in. The web address will be given when the exercise starts and information will be gathered by each region separately.

No one is expected to get on air, so the exercise is independent of any HF propagation problems.

The aims of the exercise are;

To show that we can respond quickly and in a co-ordinated manner. To get groups and societies involved in an event without language, time or propagation barriers.
To update our information about how many radio amateurs around the world are available for emergency communications showing our strength in the hobby.

Some countries have large ( >1500 member ) emergency communications groups, in these cases being able to demonstrate that a significant number of members would be available is a success.

More information will be circulated to National Emergency Communications Co-Ordinators soon.

Acknowledged

June 25th, 2015

This evening, Tim EI2KA, representing AREN was presented with a scroll by Cork County Mayor Alan Coleman at a civic reception held in Cork County Hall. The reception, to acknowledge the skill, dedication and
bravery demonstrated in the service of the community during search and rescue and other emergencies in the region, was attended by more than 250 dignitaries and representatives from across the professional and
volunteer agencies.

Killarney multi-agency exercise.

May 11th, 2015

On the 9th of May AREN took part in a multi-agency mass casualty exercise hosted by Kerry Mountain rescue in Killarney. Other agencies involved included An Garda Síochána, the HSE, The Irish Coast Guard, The Civil Defence, The Search and Rescue Dog Association, Irish Search Dogs, Killarney Water Rescue and others. The AREN station was set up in the on-site co-ordination centre alongside the Inter-Agency Mobile Command Unit.

IMG_0159

Spot the Aerial!

Net Control was in West Cork with two sub-stations operating in County Waterford. 40m voice and Winlink data was used to get traffic out of the mountains to the outlying substations who forwarded messages to recipients by normal means. Participating members were Eoghan EI5HBB, Martin EI2HIB, Tim EI2KA John EI7IG and Conor EI4JN.

Earthquake update #9

May 9th, 2015

The final update was received today from Jayu VU2JAU who has been keeping in daily contact with Satish 9N1AA on 20m. Their scheduled contacts have decreased in frequency over the last few days and closed at 02:30UTC today. This is the last known formal international link to stop operating following the ending of MARS communications support at 1100z 05 May 15 between T6TM in Afghanistan and Dr. Panday, 9N1SP.

Aftershocks continue in the area but the frequency of those events has reduced quicker than expected, however there are still vulnerable structures which are being worked on and the terrain means landslides remain a possibility.

There are still Radio Amateurs in the country for example Dale, BA4TB and Mi, BD4TR are part of the Chinese rescue team assisting in the aftermath of the earthquake. Their activity though is in their spare time on the HF bands and is being well advertised through the Dx lists.

Thanks to everyone for their patience and support during the radio amateur activities associated with this disaster. Individual organisations are now commencing their Debriefing process to see what can be done to improve the response next time.

Greg, G0DUB
IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator

Earthquake update #8

May 6th, 2015

Radio Amateurs continue to provide communications services in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal. While the pace of communications has slowed the international links which have functioned since the first hours of the disaster are still working though on a reduced schedule.

The ARSI Co-Ordinator for Disaster Communications in India VU2JAU praised operators Paddy VU2PEP, Sarath VU2SCV, Sanil VU3SIO, Dorrai VU2DVG, Tapas operating VU2IWA and Walidbhai A41LD for the time given for this operation and supporting him through into the night. He is now maintaining a schedule with 9N1AA every two hours should the needs change.

The Nepal – American link supported by the the MARS organisation in America with Ajay 9N1AJ providing the Nepal end of the link reported on 5th May. It is expected though that this link will reduce to a periodic schedule to keep the lines of communication open.

Within the country a repeater donated by CAN-USA which had been held up at customs is now reported by 9N1SP as released and now at Kathmandu University ready for deployment. While sad that this repeater was held up when it could have been useful with the current disaster, Nepal suffers a monsoon season starting in June and it is hoped that it will help the preparedness for future events.

Greg, G0DUB
IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator

Earthquake update #7

May 4th, 2015

An announcement is expected today ( Sunday ) of the official end of the international Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) phase with the expectation that USAR teams will start leaving the area shortly. It is however still the case that in rural areas it is taking 5-6 days to reach those areas to try and provide assistance.

Two Amateur Radio stations have started operating from some of those rural places. 9N3AA Jose operating from Damauli, District Gorakha and 9N1SD Akarshan installed at Sindhupalchowk. Both the areas are highly devastated and affected.

VU2JAU reported that all amateurs in India are coordinating well, he also makes special mention of A41LD Walid bhai who has supported them right from the first day.

Nepal previously depended heavily on mobile phones for communications (64% according to Wikipedia) and while restoring supplies to cellphonesites can be prioritised, power supplies for the citizens remain difficult. A requirement for 500 crank chargers was identified immediately which was passed on to all Indian Radio Amateurs who hope to be able to ship some crank chargers soon.

Many countries radio amateurs remain active in the area as the communications needs have not gone away. Teams certainly remain from India and China with some emergency traffic also heard in what was believed to be Russian on 14.300 on Friday.

Operations are taking place on a number of frequencies in the 40, 20 and 15m bands with 9N1SP specifically maintaining an international link on sked with the American MARS organisation.

All amateurs are reminded that emergency traffic may be heard on any
frequency in the Amateur bands as it is not always possible for the
Nepal stations to operate on the IARU Emergency Centre of Activity
frequencies. If you hear the words ‘Emergency’ please give the stations room to work.

Greg, G0DUB
IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator.