Published: Saturday, 23 September 2017 08:14
Written by Greg Mossop
Earthquake and hurricane emergencies
The 7.1 earthquake in Mexico that downed many buildings and killed more than 250, plus Hurricane Maria that swept through a number of Caribbean nations, have kept emergency communications frequencies busy with coordination and traffic. Networks not in the affected areas, particularly the Colombia Amateur Radio League (LCRA), and in the USA, are seeking information about relatives in the Caribbean islands. Reports are continuing from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, which hit Puerto Rico, Dominica and Turks and Caicos.
LCRA is using 7.117 MHz for SSB and 7.085 MHz for digital modes, as well as EchoLinkCOL_LCRA conference.
The Amateur Radio League of Cali's HK5VD is in support, under the guidance of Juan Manuel Yanguas HK5AKN, the LCRA Emergency Coordinator. The Columbian national VHF repeater system is also involved as the last delivery point trying to reunite families displaced by the hurricane and its aftermath. The ARRL even suspended normal use of its Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW, to assist in handling outbound health-and-welfare traffic from Puerto Rico for the evening of Friday September 22.
The Salvation Army SATERN frequency of 14.265 MHz and similar activities are happening elsewhere as desperate people are trying all means to make contact with their loved ones. Meanwhile Cesar Pio Santos HR2P, EMCOR IARU R2, has reported that radio amateurs are providing rescue groups and authorities with coordination help, and communications. In Mexico the station XE2A is in control sending some radio amateurs to Morelos to help there with a radio base station to be installed for emergency traffic and coordination. Typical of the volunteer work in Mexico is Jesus XE2JTC and Octavio XE2JUM, who have travelled with others in 4-wheel-drive vehicles carrying hydraulic equipment and units to support breathing. Authorities in all affected places say the recovery work is continuing and will do so for a long time.
Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee
& Greg Mossop
When hurricanes destroy phone lines, the Guard enables communication...
By: Tara Copp.
WASHINGTON ― Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Maria sent Puerto Rico into darkness, the first National Guard troops arrived, well-versed in how to handle the aftermath. Maria is their third Category 5 hurricane this month.
The first 500 troops to respond were Puerto Rico National Guard forces activated in advance of the storm. On Thursday they conducted search and rescue missions and did route clearance, said Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
The next wave will arrive with generators, helicopters and high-water vehicles. Much of that equipment was used in the National Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey Aug. 25, and then Hurricane Irma Sept. 10. Then it was pre-positioned again to be ready for Maria.
“We’ve learned a lot from [Hurricane] Katrina over the years,” Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of staff of the National Guard, told defense reporters Monday.
Airmen load a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability trailer onto a C-130J Hercules to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Eight more are headed to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.. (Master Sgt. Matt Schwartz/Air Force)
One of the lessons learned was the value of bringing in deployable, civilian-friendly phone lines. Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and downed most of its telephone wires.
Getting some of that communication restored will depend on the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability.
The JISCC is a 20-foot, tented communications system on a trailer, with its own generator and satellite dish. It can move to a storm location via a flatbed or a C-130.
It’s normal for the military to deploy with its own communications systems. The problem is that those networks are often closed off from non-military phone calls.
With the JISCC, “the system is so flexible, that a county sheriff on his personal cell phone can call up a military commander who is using his standard military radio system,” said Army Col. Les Melnyk, a spokesman for the Guard. “This is facilitated by radio cross-banding and is a unique capability of the JISCC.”
“We can bring these systems into a disaster response area, where maybe the cell phone networks have been taken out, and we can establish a network for people to be able to communicate,” Lengyel said.
The National Guard first tested out the JISCC during Katrina in 2005. Based on its performance there, the Defense Department used National Guard and reserve equipment funds to buy 100 of them. Each system costs about $1.5 million.
The Guard had six JISCCs in use for its Hurricane Harvey response and 12 for Irma. Puerto Rico’s National Guard had two on the island, which they took down to protect them before Maria hit “but they will be up and running soon,” Melnyk said.
The Guard Bureau is also coordinating to have six more JISCCs sent to Puerto Rico, two each for airfield operations, a joint force headquarters and two to support U.S. Marines operating there from the nearby amphibious assault ships Wasp and Kearsarge, which remained in the area following Hurricane Irma.
Aircraft from those ships also conducted their first search and rescue operations early Thursday, Davis said.
Lengyel suspects the JISCC will be needed again before the year is out, noting that 2012’s Hurricane Sandy hit in November.
“This has been a pretty aggressive hurricane season,” Lengyel said. “We’re not by any means out of the danger zone yet.”
Credit: Tara Copp, the Military Times’ Pentagon Bureau Chief.
Tcopp@mco.com Twitter: @TaraCopp
Thursday, September 21, 2017
The FCC said 95 percent of Puerto Rico’s wireless cell sites are out of service in a Sept. 21 statement
“Hurricane Maria has had a catastrophic impact on Puerto Rico’s communications networks,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “The FCC is proactively reaching out to communications providers in Puerto Rico to gather additional information about the situation on the ground and find out if there is anything that the commission can do to assist with restoration efforts. We are also working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and providing all requested support.
“Unfortunately, getting Puerto Rico’s communications networks up and running will be a challenging process, particularly given the power outages throughout the island. But the FCC stands ready to do whatever we can to help with this task. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico.” The FCC said it will be available 24 hours a day to address emergency communications needs as Maria approaches and threatens U.S. coastal areas and U.S. territories.
The RAYNET-UK Exhibitions Team have been busy this week attending the Emergency Services Show which was held at NEC Birmingham on Wednesday 20th and tomorrow Thursday 21st of September. If you are visiting the show, pop over and say hi at Stand W16.
The 2017 RAYNET-UK Annual General Meeting will be held, starting at 0930 (local) on Saturday, 21st of October 2017 in Bristol at the following venue:
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