Hams worldwide attempting EmComms in Haiti — one team fired upon

This from the IARU-R1 site:

Haiti Earthquake – Update No. 4. PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 January 2010 12:59
The eight amateurs from Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) who were operating under the callsign HI8RCD/HH have had to abort their operations after the convoy they were travelling in was fired on. News is also being received of two new stations which it is hoped will become active soon.

EB9GF, who is integrated in the Spanish Red Cross contingent, was able to contact the colleagues from the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD). The RCD has currently two VHF repeaters in use for operations:

– 146.970 (-600), CTCSS 100 Hz. Placed in the Dominican Republic. Please note that the old frequency 147.970 seems to be wrong.
– 145.350 (-600), CTCSS 100 Hz. New repeater active near the border with Haiti.

RCD initially reported that their team crossed the Haitian border at 10:50 hours Haitian time arriving at the Dominican Embassy in Haiti at 14:29 hours when they started installing and testing their equipment.

Within a few hours though, reports via the RCD Facebook page confirmed by a long telephone conversation between Hugo Ramón HI8VRS and Ramon Sanyoyo V, XE1KK reported that the HI8RCD team of eight amateurs, were back in the border town of Jimani (Dominican Republic). Their convoy, which included other non related Dominicans, was assaulted and one person reported dead.

The Radio Amateurs were uninjured but decided to leave the capital for safety and return to the border unescorted. They report the situation as extremely unsafe and scary.

The repeaters they have installed remain in service linking the Haitian and Dominican capitals,  and are being used by the Red Cross and Civil Defense since there is no other way to communicate. The station at the Embassy in Haiti could not be activated though.

To confirm, all members of the HCD team are safe and have returned to Jimanji in the Dominican Republic.

In other reports, John Henault HH6JH who is engaged in Missionary work with homeless children in Port au Prince continues to make contacts on 20m using power from a neighbour’s generator and very pleased that amateur radio enabled him to let his friends in the USA know he was alive.

Another radio amateur in the country, Pierre Petry HH2/HB9AMO who works for the UN food program is also safe. However nothing is known at this stage of about another ten hams in Haiti.

HK3L is due to start operating on 7.085MHz as part of a Colombian relief effort. This frequency has been chosen because of the QRM which continues to operations on 7.045MHz.

It is also believed that S57CQ/ST2T Dane Novrlic of the UN-WFP is in Haiti but there is no information about whether he is active.

Thanks to Ismael EA4FSI, Cesar HR2P, Magdi ST2M and Jim VK3PC for their reports.

Source: http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=508:haiti-earthquake-update-no-4&catid=48:emcom&Itemid=99 (accessed 1/17/2010)

Haiti becoming dangerous for amateur radio

I have been blogging what I observe about the possibility of amateur radio (ham) backup communication support in light of the earthquake disaster in Haiti. The worldwide ham community has been standing by ready to receive message traffic from Haiti, only to sadly learn that not only are there few hams there, but the disaster is so pervasive that the few there have not been able to be on the air much. And now it gets worse.

A ham radio club group from the Dominican Republic was attempting to get repeater stations into Haiti to support the communication needs when their convoy carrying the equipment was attacked by thugs, driving them back to the DR, and killing one of the porters helping to transport the equipment. All of the amateur radio operators were reported to be safe, but they have apparently retreated to the DR.

The amateur radio repeater system was to be an essential communication tool for both officials and the NGO’s in carrying out the recovery and relief effort.  I heard this report just now on the Echolink(1) conference conducted by the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC) relaying a report that was shortly to be published by the International Amateur Radio Union, Region 1 (IARU).

It is a sad commentary indeed when in the face of one of the worst natural disasters of all time, volunteers are attacked and their lives are put at risk. Of course, it happens in every disaster that thugs loot and pillage. It’s just worse, in my perception, when a simple public service hobby turns deadly.


(1) Echolink is a system that connects radio amateurs worldwide through a network of radios and the internet. From the Echolink home page we learn:

EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology.  The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities.  There are more than 200,000 validated users worldwide — in 162 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 4,000 online at any given time.

Interesting web links to natural disaster, ham radio news, weather

Lifted from the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition pages:


Reuters AlertNet Alerting humanitarians to emergencies http://www.alertnet.org/
Reuters AlertNet Interactive Map http://www.alertnet.org/map/index.htm
ReliefWeb Information for Humanitarian Relief http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc100?OpenForm
Disaster Map World Disasters News Atlas http://www.mapreport.com/disasters.html
The Disaster Center Information for the USA http://www.disastercenter.com/
USGS Natural Hazards Support System http://nhss.cr.usgs.gov/#
GDACS Global Disaster Alert & Coordination http://www.gdacs.org/
Emergency Management UK Emergency Management http://www.emergencymanagement.org.uk/
IFRC International Federation Red Cross http://www.ifrc.org/


ARRL News Amateur Radio Relay League (USA) http://www.arrl.org/
RSGB News Radio Society of Great Britain (UK) http://www.rsgb.org/news/
CQ News CQ News Service http://newsvc.cq-amateur-radio.com/
QRZ New News Service from QRZ.COM http://www.qrz.com/
eHam News News service from eHam.net http://www.eham.net/articles/?type=news
Google News Google News search for amateur (ham) radio emergency http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=amateur+ham+radio+emergency
Raynet News Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network news
EmComm Emergency Communications Forum http://www.emcommforum.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=2


Stormpulse Current Atlantic activity http://www.stormpulse.com/
Flooding FFWC Bangladesh http://www.ffwc.gov.bd/
Earthquake Iris Seismic Monitor http://www.iris.edu/seismon/
Earthquake ASL DCC Telemetry http://aslwww.cr.usgs.gov/Seismic_Data/telemetry_data/map_sta_eq.shtml
Earthquake Global Report http://tsunami.geo.ed.ac.uk/local-bin/quakes/mapscript/demo_run.pl
Hurricane National Hurricane Center advisories http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Hurricane NOAA Floaters http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/floaters.html
Hurricane Mid-Atlantic Weather Station http://home.comcast.net/~herbwx/hurrican.html
Typhoon Tropical Storm Risk http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/
Typhoon Tropical Cyclones summary http://tropicalcyclones.blogspot.com/
Warnings World WMO http://severe.worldweather.org/
Warnings Europe MeteoAlarm http://www.meteoalarm.eu/


vTuner Radio & TV stations on the Internet http://www.vtuner.com/vtunerweb/static/staticTalk-Weatheroverall1.html
Global Tuners Online ham radio receivers http://www.globaltuners.com/home

Haiti: A sampling of the real news from humanity

Caution — some of this is explicit and sad. These are excerpts of actual pleas from help gleaned from an amateur radio database (cleaned up for privacy), all since 6pm CDT Jan 15.  Some of these calls came via facebook pages.  This will tell you how grave it really is. It’ll make you want to click and donate.

Just spoke with ***** by phone. There are now 100 people at his location. Approx. 50 injured personel. They are requesting Food,water, blankets and firstaid supplies.

I have just got a DIRECT_satellite rapport from the Swedish TV-team at TV-News. The reporter said that the help-work is near to collapse. Almost NOTHING is done for the common poor people. The rescue stuff seems to prior the work in the rich areas

There is a 60-bed medical hospital there and they have treated many patients so far but are running out of supplies, especially medical supplies.



few people actually are still at ****** School
under rubble need help ASAP …..he just called from cell


vocational school close to ****** that has had about 200 students trapped. They are getting some aid, but need more

my uncle is still at ******  School under rubble need tractor ASAP

somebody from ***** just confirm that there are people still alive and trap under
the rubble and theres nobody to help them out… people are crying and
screaming day and night for someone to help them out….. please pass
this on so ******* could receive some help

EmComms – some reality from the Haiti experience

If you have a disaster in an area where there are few hams and those can’t operate (themselves victims, no generators or no gas for generators, batteries dying), then it doesn’t matter how many well-intended hams there are across the rest of the world. Ham radio is usually the first responder communications mode when the commercial means have failed in the initial stages of the disaster. Now, well into day three, there are many commercial facilities getting in place including mass media with satellite stations.

It may turn out that ham radio emergency communications don’t have much to do for Haiti after all, but you would think that the welfare inquiries are still yet to come. With a capitol city of 2 million in ruins with many foreigners there, the inquiries are bound to flow.

Haiti earthquake related links

International interest in the earthquake in Haiti is great. Information is coming from many sources. Here are some web links to places I’ve found including some live coverage. Comments with additional links are welcome.  This page will be updated as I find more sites …

Health & welfare inquiry sites

Salvation Army health & welfare request form — fill out to make an inquiry

International Red Cross “Family Links” page — also use to find people

U.S. Dept. of State Haiti website

News and information

A WordPress blog with many good links

Salvation Army in Haiti — includes a donation link

Fox News “How to Help” story — links to many organizations

Milcom Monitoring Post — an interesting blog that includes military news info on the Haiti situation

Twitter search for Haiti related Twits or Another search on Twitter Here is a combo search of those two

Satellite Photos of Haiti Before and After Earthquake: Google and GeoEye have released new satellite photos of Haiti

Live info and listening

Internet streaming broadcast from Haiti

Live amateur radio emergency net monitoring — listen to the SATERN EmComm frequency that is active at the moment (frequencies vary with propagation changes during the day/night and over time).

Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network — includes many links

International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) — Emergency communications page with situation reports

International Radio Emergency Support Coalition — sometimes has streaming on the web of live communications.

Texas Department of Emergency Management “SitRep” page — includes Haiti-related reports

(for hams only) Echolink home page

EmComms – early lessons from the Haiti event

Emergency Communications via amateur radio to/from Haiti have been interestingly a non-event.  This is due to the lack of operable ham stations in Haiti in the first days of the disaster.  The first ham heard from was Father John Henault (note 1), amateur callsign HH6JH and he was on battery power!  When hams can’t get on the air (and there aren’t many in Haiti anyway), that tells you the extent of the disaster.

My interest in following this situation is, in addition to wanting to be ready to help where I can, that I recently became the Burnet County Emergency Coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) of the ARRL(note 2).  There are lessons to be learned by observing what happens with the Haiti disaster and amateur radio.

What early lessons are learned?  Many nets both on various HF frequencies and on Echolink have been activated with 24/7 operations. Net control stations are making periodic announcements just waiting to hear signals coming out of Haiti. The amount of health and welfare reports to come OUT of Haiti are bound to be many, in time. But right now it’s time to listen and, unfortunately, many well-meaning operators are attempting to check into those nets when check-ins are not asked for.  That zeal is, nevertheless, a tribute to the selflessness of hams worldwide who are standing by to help and ready at a moment’s notice.  While a huge majority of the stations heard are from the U.S., there are many from the Caribbean and South America. I’ve also heard French Canadians and one Israeli. The international ham radio community is an amazing group.



(1) Rev John Henault OMI, is from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and works in Haiti helping to provide care for homeless and orphaned children.

(2) ARRL, the national association for amateur radio a/k/a the American Radio Relay League.

When all else fails … amateur radio works

Amateur “ham” radio — it’s a great hobby.

Have You Always Been Interested in Ham Radio but didn’t Want to Learn Morse Code or Spend Weeks in a Classroom…?

Want to enjoy a hobby blending world-wide communications with the modern digital computer age? Interested in a hobby enjoyed by all ages in which you can also perform a public service? Like to build or tinker with “stuff?” Then ham radio is for you. (More info at http://www.hello-radio.org/)

Get your amateur radio license in one weekend for $15!

March 26, 27, and 28, 2010

The Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club (HLARC) is Holding a Ham Radio Class in a Time-Compressed Format.  Full details in the flyer. Click on the following link:

Ham radio class March 26, 2010 — the “Ham Slam”

The only cost is the FCC exam fee of $15 plus the book (info in the flyer) if you buy one, and the club has books available for a voluntary donation.

Ham radio mania

Those who know me know I don’t do anything half-heartedly.  Having gotten back into amateur (ham) radio I discovered a whole new world from 25 years ago when I was last active. The equipment is, of course, solid state and compact, and much is integrated with computers and the digital world. An old love was mobile work, and that bug is alive and well in my system and I’ve set up the Chevy Avalanche for a mobile contest later this month. Take a look. It’s only a “little bit” insane.  🙂

Actually, the mobile rig itself is pretty insane.