Posted by: GW7AAV | July 22, 2010

Emergency Communications a Challenge

On Tuesday night at the Mold radio club I heard one of our members ask another who is also a member of Flinshire Raynet group why he did it and what did he get out of it. My answer would have been because it is fun and it makes you feel good when you help somebody and put something back in to your community. I always enjoy seeing other people enjoying themselves, even if a lot of the time I think that maybe those involved with marathons and long distance cycle rides are somewhat masochistic.  This person’s reply was a little different. He said because it is a different radio challenge. He went on to say that when you normally set up a radio station you are not usually worried about who you speak to, just as long as there is someone to speak to, then in general we are quite happy. We call CQ and we get who we get and then we will if we can try to tweak things to see if we can improve our range. With emergency communications the how does not matter as much as the reliability of the links we establish. The message must always get through. This is the challenge and is what my friend was talking about. Later he said that in the past he has been involved with reconnoitering prior to events and has enjoyed working out where to establish stations to make sure check points could get back to base, either directly or via either a manual QSP or the use of a cross-band repeater. The events Flintshire Raynet has been involved with have in the main been repeats from previous years and we know the terrain well enough to deal with minor route changes, but I remember in the dim and distant past pawing over OS maps looking at topography and trying to work out were to place stations and later driving out to test our theories. It was usually fun. These days with GPS, mobile telephones and no B licensees stuck on VHF only it can be much easier to sort things out. As an aside during the last few events we have found the much maligned Google Street View an invaluable tool in making sure our operators were in the right place. We have been able to show them their station at our pre-event monthly meetings on a laptop with mobile broadband. We still expect everyone to have an OS map and know how to use it, but ain’t technology great?   
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