Friday, January 15, 2010

First HAM Radio Operator Contact from Haiti

Here is a report of the first contact with a HAM radio operator in Haiti as reported in the Amateur Radio Newsline.

RESCUE RADIO: HAM RADIO FIRST RESPONDERS ACTIVATE FOLLOWING HAITI QUAKEA powerful earthquake has struck off the coast of Haiti. The tremor hit on Tuesday, January 12th at 2153 UTC. According to the US Geological Survey the epicenter was about 10 miles south-west of Port-au-Prince and hit a magnitude 7.3 on the Richter Scale. The first tremor was followed by two aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.9 and 5.0. Soon after the first jolt amateur radio first responders were activated in Cuba to listen for any distress calls from is Caribbean neighbor. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the newsroom with more.--HH2JR: " I am able to communicate for the first time. I hope you are copying me OK. The situation is chaotic and I am only alive thanks to god. Over."--That's just part of a conversation captured by Newsline listener Brian Crow, K3VR, on Wednesday, January 13th as hams in quake ravaged Haiti began returning to the airwaves. Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, was one of the first and with Fred Moore, W3ZU, running the patch he described what Haiti was like when he finally was able to get a chance to view the devastation first hand:--HH2JR: "Yesterday was really bad but I managed today to go and visualize -- myself and a couple of friends. We took some pictures and its really chaotic. I've never been through a war but its what a war (signal fade). Dead bodies all over the place and dead bodies (signal fade) to be buried."--HH2JR also described the aftershocks:--HH2JR: "I'm OK and my house is OK and that's all I can tell you. (signal fade) We have had thirty aftershocks, Repeat three zero aftershocks since the big one yesterday at ten (minutes) to five in the afternoon. Over to you."--That contact was among the first of the personal ham radio on scene accounts of living through a killer quake but not the first ham radio response to this disaster. Soon after the quake hit, CQ Magazine editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, put out an e-mail alert that quoted IARU Region 2 Area C Emergency Coordinator, Arnie Coro, CO2KK. Corro said that he was already coordinating a multi-national response by hams with organized nets on 7.045 and 3.720 MHz. The net control stations were identified as CO8WM and CO8RP located in the city of Santiago de Cuba. According to Corro these nets were in direct contact with the National Seismology Center of Cuba located in that city. CO2KK asked hams world-wide to monitor the two net frequencies, but to also keep them clear of non-essential traffic. International Radio Emergency Support Coalition is also active on EchoLink node 278173.On Wednesday the ARRL put out a notice saying that amateur radio operators should also be aware that emergency traffic pertaining to the Haitian earthquake is expected on the Salvation Army SATERN net frequencies. According to SATERN's leader, Major Pat McPherson, those frequencies are 14.265, 7.265 and 3.977 MHz. The Salvation Army is accepting health and welfare traffic requests on its Web site.As to the health and welfare of hams living in Haiti. Part of that was covered in the January 13 edition of The Daily DX newsletter. It reported that the Reverend John Henault, HH6JH, made contact late Wednesday morning with the Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net on 14.300 MHz. This is the IARU Global Center of Activity frequency for emergency communications. HH6JH said that he was safe, but had no power and no phone service. Also that he was operating on battery power and hoping to get a generator running later in the day. The newsletter also noted that Pierre Petry, HH2/HB9AMO who was in Cap Haitien about 140 km north of Port-au-Prince is okay. Petry is in Haiti working for the United Nations World Food Program.Daily DX also reports that members of two ham radio groups from the neighboring Dominican Republic, the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) and Union Dominicana de Radio Aficionados (UDRA) are preparing to go to Port au Prince. Once there the team will be installing an emergency radio communications station operating as HI8RCD/HH and a mobile station. The team of Dominican Republic Amateur Radio operators includes HI8PGG, HI8FLB, HI8CJG, HI8DBF, HI8SAR, HI8JLH, HI8ROD and HI3TEJ. The situation in Haiti is still chaotic and literally changing from moment to moment. The most important thing is to keep 3.720, 7.045, 7.265, 14.265 and 14.300 clear for emergency and priority traffic and quake relief nets on these frequencies. We will post updates in text form on our Newsline Facebook web update page as they become available. To access it just go to and friend Amateur Radio Newsline.

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