Caribbean and Mexico Disasters Update

Two updates have been received about the use of Amateur radio in response to Hurricane Maria and the Earthquake which hit Mexico.

XE2O of FMRE in Mexico reports that they are maintaining an Emergency Network on 7060 kHz with the support of many Mexican radio amateurs. They have also deployed two mobile emergency communication units. One of them to the south of Mexico City and the other goes to the communities near the city where communication problems have been reported.

They have permanent contact on HF between the Command and Control centre in Mexico co-ordinatiing the emergency response and the Emergency Network of the FMRE.

9Y4J reports that Health and welfare traffic in and out of Dominica continues to be passed via amateur radio, on frequencies 7188 kHz, and 3815 kHz.

However, the airports remain closed, and an assessment of the seaports is underway. This will determine how soon relief goods, and substantial human resources can access the island.

As always, please listen carefully in the area of the frequencies given above and try to avoid QRM.

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Emergency Net for Earthquake in Central Mexico

Emergency Net for Earthquake in Central Mexico

Following the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Tuesday the IARU member society, Federacion Mexicana de Radio Experimentadores or FMRE, had its National Emergency Net activated.

This is on 7.060 MHz, 3.690 MHz and 14.120 MHz as well as IRLP reflector 9200, channel 08. The epicenter in the central Mexico state of Puebla at 1814 UTC on Tuesday was southeast of Mexico City, which felt it.

Early reports had more than 120 people killed as the ‘quake toppled buildings and rescuers are searched the rubble for survivors.

FMRE President Al Tomez XE2O reports the National Emergency Net has been handling traffic to make up for the loss of some mobile phone networks.

He noted that the latest earthquake was on the anniversary of the 1985 magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck the Mexico City, killing some 9,500 people.

Since then Mexico has prepared for seismic events. A week ago, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off Mexico’s southern coast. It killed more than 60 people and caused considerable damage.

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

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Hurricane Maria affecting the Carribean

Hurricane Maria is moving through areas still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma just weeks ago and has been reassessed as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane.

Amateur Radio groups are preparing for this next storm and the Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN), was activated this morning 18th/September 2017 at 1030 UTC on the frequency 3815 kHz, and will subsequently qsy to 7188 kHz at 1100 UTC.

Coverage continues on the frequency 7188 kHz until 1030 UTC when it again will qsy to 3815 kHz .

The frequency will change between the two as propagation dictates.

It is intended to maintain 24 hour coverage during the passage of the system, and immediately after, in case there is the need to pass health and welfare traffic.

This follows earlier notices from the Puerto Rican and the Dominican Republic who advised they would be using the following frequencies;

Puerto Rico – 7.188 MHz and 7.192 MHz.

Dominican Republic 7,065 LSB but depending on propagation may also use 3.780 MHz

With the potential to suffer QRM from a wider area, the normal operation of the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325MHz has also started.

Please look at the frequencies used in Hurricane Irma, watch the news and if islands are affected again please try to avoid QRM to emergency activities in the Carribean.

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Carribean Emergency Response – Update

Hurricane Irma is currently progressing through the USA state of Florida and Hurricane Jose is still threatening the Carribean. At the same time Mexico is still dealing with the after effects of the Earthquake which affected that country earlier this week and the remains of Hurricane Katia. To add to the problems, an X8.2 solar flare  is causing a major HF blackout in the Americas which will potentially affect communications until Monday (UTC).

As Hurricane Irma progresses through Florida there will be more HF frequencies in use by local ARES groups but these will lie mostly outside the IARU Region 1 band allocations ( West Central Florida planning to use 3940, 3950 and 7247 kHz for example ). More information on this should come from the ARRL .

Updates to frequencies in use are;

Mexico;

7060 and 7080 kHz to deal with the Earthquake and Hurricane Katia

St. Maarten

14290 and 7190 kHz ( Voice or PACTOR )

US Wide Area traffic handling

14115, 7115 and if necessary 10115 kHz ( all CW )

Carribean Emergency and Weather Net ( CEWN )

3815, 7188 and possibly 7162 kHz

FNRASEC in France are reaching out to French speaking areas in the Carribean on 14132kHz.

As Irma moves away from the Carribean islands, Radio Amateurs are entering the area to help. The Red Cross asked for assistance on Sint Maarten where communications had been badly affected. Tom Braam PJ2DD volunteered for this task and left September 8th on one of the first relief flights to Sint Maarten with a Pactor HF station and 9 VHF/UHF handheld radios to start providing communications. Frequencies in use are as above.

As always, please listen carefully and avoid causing QRM to frequencies in use for distress and emergency traffic. The operators in the affected areas already have a difficult job, please give them as much room as possible to work.

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