Monday, 4 February 2013

HAMNET Bulletin February 2013


This bulletin was prepared and produced by Francois Botha – ZS6BUU

HAMNET (IARU Region 1) dedicated emergency communication frequencies are:-

80m band – 3,760 MHz, 40m band, 7,110 MHz. 20m band – 14,300 MHz.




HAMNET conforms to and abides by the IARU discipline of engaging in emergency communication locally and worldwide during and after disasters as internationally Amateur Radio is regarded as a National Resource!

HAMNET, as a group of volunteers, supports Disaster Risk Management in South Africa and serves on the sub committee of the South African Search & Rescue Organisation – SASAR!

It is recommended that when becoming a member of HAMNET, you also become an SARL member to abide by and conform to the IARU International and HAMNET rules regarding emergency communication!

All HAMNET information is available on alternatively just follow the link! Weekly updates are supplied to Amateur Radio Today on Sunday’s and a monthly bulletin is supplied to members and available on the SARL website and as a podcast!

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter


Radio Amateur worldwide will be dedicating this year’s World Amateur Radio Day on 18 April to disaster communication with the theme “Amateur Radio – entering its second century of disaster communications”.

“The first record of the use of amateur radio supporting communications during a disaster dates back to 1913 during severe flooding in the mid-west of the USA.

Nobel Laureate, Jack Kirby, who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000 for his development of the integrated circuit, relates the story of how in the late twenties his father who ran a small electric company with customers scattered across the rural western part of Kansas, used amateur radio to communicate.

He said while I was in high school, a huge ice storm knocked down most of the poles that carried the telephone and electric power lines. “My father worked with radio amateurs to communicate with areas where customers had lost their power and phone services.

South African Radio Amateurs also have a proud record of providing disaster communication, disasters such as the Westdene Bus disaster, the Laingsburg floods and Demoina are just a few to mention”, said Rassie Erasmus, President of the South African Radio League (SARL).

More recently radio amateurs were involved in the search of a missing aircraft in Mozambique providing communication links back to South Africa from where the search was coordinated.

The Amateur Radio Maritime Mobile Network daily assist yachts with weather reports along the South African coastline and has on many occasions assisted yachts in trouble and has been involved in rescue operations.

This past Sunday HAMNET Western Cape, the disaster communications division of the SARL, provided communications support for the Lions Ride for Sight and Sound Cycle tour in Fish Hoek in which 800 riders participated. The course was about 50Km long, starting and finishing in Fish Hoek, and was covered by eight radio amateurs monitoring the race and reporting back to main control.

“The SARL will be celebrating its first century of disaster communication support by radio amateurs from 2 February leading up the main event on 18 April 2013. The aim of our campaign is to make South Africans, more aware of the contribution that radio amateurs are making to the country and us as citizens”, Rassie Erasmus said.

The use of Amateur Radio to aid the community is not new to South Africa. The Cape Argus of 6 March 1926 ran a lead story with the heading “Radio finds San Francisco Widow’s kin in Congo –sisters plea flashed to African wilds!”

“Reaching into the heart of darkest Africa, the radio has found for Mrs Lydia Nelson, of San Francisco, a brother lost to her for 25 years.” See sketch bottom of bulletin!

Mrs Nelson had read about the successes of Cape Town Radio Amateur John Streeter, and in a passionate letter asked him to use radio to find her brother. At the time radio was very much in its infancy and mainly practiced by enthusiast who we today call radio amateurs, also referred to as radio hams. John, very much the pioneer at the time, sent a description to three other ‘radio stations” and ask them to transmit the information. Within three days Mrs Nelson’s brother was found in Windhoek, South West Africa. (Now Namibia)

The Cape Argus ended the article with “Incidents such as this bring home to one the wonderful power of the wireless broadcasting station. Imagine it! A man sits in a room in Cape Town in front of a small circular object knows as the microphone and is able to talk directly to the whole of South Africa. He is able to make a direct personal appeal by word of mouth and in fact wields a tremendous power. And yet there are still people who gravely question whether “this wireless” has come to stay or are only a passing fancy!”

“The last item in the Amateur Code says “The Radio Amateur is Patriotic..... Their knowledge and their station are always ready for the service of their country and their community.”

“As the SARL we have lived up to the amateur code as clearly demonstrated through the activity of our disaster communication division “HAMNET” and the many amateurs who freely give of their time and expertise to support it.

“We believe it is fitting that we dedicate the next four months to support the theme and to celebrate a century of disaster communication support to South Africa and its people


As mentioned in the January issue of “The Hamnet Bulletin”, I intend to step down with result a vacancy exists for a person to not only fill this vacancy, but also to serve on the Council of the South African Radio League.

I am willing to hand over my responsibilities over a period of time as this is a very fulfilling position and one cannot ‘just take it over’.

The normal run of administration will continue for a while but anyone who is genuinely interested in my position – preferably in the Gauteng Region is welcome to contact me. A Job Description will be sent to any interested applicants!

You can contact me via any of my e-mail addresses of you can phone me on my landline or cell phone number.

Please give this some serious thought!

Comments suggestions and contributions please contact or send to: or or at 011 679-5260 or 083 585-3847. Fax 086-580.6110.

Bulletin Ends.

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