RAYNET - An introduction
Who are we?
RAYNET (The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) is the UK’s national
voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed
The organisation was formed in 1953 following the East Coast floods,
when radio amateurs provided emergency communications.
What do we do?
We can provide a flexible communications service for major civil
emergencies or related exercises and local community events.
What have we done?
RAYNET has provided additional communications at major incidents
involving aircraft, trains, flooding, evacuations, telephone exchange
failures, missing persons searches, adverse weather, oil/chemical
pollution etc. Examples include:
- Lockerbie air crash
- Severn Tunnel incident
- Towyn flooding, North Wales
- Portland WWII bomb evacuation
- Sea Empress oil pollution disaster
We have also provided safety communications for large-scale community
events, such as:
- London Marathon
- Mildenhall Air Fete
- Great North Run/Great South Run
- Many charity cycle rides
- Long-distance walks and orienteering
- Endurance horse rides
How do we do it?
RAYNET volunteers normally use their own equipment to provide communications.
Voice transmissions are the norm, but typed messages in the form of
data transmissions are being increasingly used, allowing 100% accurate
messages to be passed over both long and short distances.
In some areas, experimentation is also under way with the use of
vehicle-tracking systems and amateur television.
Whom do we do it for?
RAYNET, under the terms of the amateur radio licence, is permitted
to pass messages on behalf of
- Any UK Police force, Fire & Rescue service or Ambulance trust.
- HM Coastguard
- Local Authority Emergency Planning Officers
- Any health authority
- Any government department
- British Red Cross
- St John Ambulance
- St Andrew’s Ambulance Association
- Salvation Army
- Any utility service
How are we organised?
RAYNET comprises a national network of local groups, who liaise with
emergency services, local authorities and other voluntary agencies
who could be involved in the integrated management response to major
Groups are supported by a County/Regional, Zonal and National structure.
All registered members of The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network whilst
on duty are covered by "Public Liability" & "Employers
Liability" insurance, together with Personal Accident Insurance
under policies held nationally by The Network.
How do we train?
Groups work with the emergency services and local authority emergency
planning units on both live exercises and table-top simulations. It
is, of course, important to have “hands on” experience regularly and
throughout the year and to carry out training to nationally agreed
RAYNET personnel provide additional safety communications for local
fun runs, marathons, car rallies and a wide variety of events, whereby
message passing, engineering skills and operational procedures can
be tried and tested.
What can we offer?
In times of major civil emergency, existing communications can become
RAYNET can offer:
- Additional flexible communication links to complement established
- Members who come from a variety of backgrounds and can bring with
them a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise
- Established local contacts
- A national 24hr emergency contact telephone number (0303 040 1080)
How do you contact us?
Full contact details can be found on this page.
document as a PDF file (19K), suitable for distributing to user services
as a 3-fold leaflet.