International Amateur Radio Union E-Letter, January 2010

In this issue:

  • A Message From IARU President Tim Ellam
  • Haiti Earthquake Report

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A Message From Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA

Secretary Stafford requested that I provide an update on IARU activities for the IARU E-Letter. I am pleased to do so.

Some recent activities:

  • IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD and IARU Coordinator for Emergency Communications, Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS have attended meetings of the ITU Development Sector and are preparing for the World Telecommunications Development Conference to be held in Hyderābād, India in May.
  • IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad,LA2RR and I presented our credentials to ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT. We were fortunate to have a lengthy discussion with Dr. Touré where we outlined the goals for IARU within ITU. Dr. Touré expressed his appreciation of the activities of the IARU and the Amateur Service in general.
  • Prepare for the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in Veracruz, Mexico in October. Items on the agenda for this important meeting include the election of ITU officials and the consideration of changes to the ITU Convention and Constitution that may impact the role of observers such as the IARU. Region 2 Secretary Ramon Santoyo V, XE1KK is working with the Mexican society, FMRE, to arrange an amateur station for this event.
  • Vice President Garpestad and I attended meetings of ITU-Working Party 5A. In particular, we took part in Working Group 1 headed, for the first time, by new Chairman Ken Pulfer VE3PU. This gave us a chance to meet in person with a number of the members of the WRC-12 team. Both Ole and I were very pleased with the efforts that are being made in Working Group 1 and Working Party 5.
  • At our recent meeting in Christchurch, the AC established a common position with respect to the WRC-12 agenda items that are of interest to the Amateur Services.
  • Amateur Radio Administrative Courses (ARACs) are in the process of being planned in both Laos and Oman for later this year.
  • Developed a plan to have the IARU better represented before some Regional Telecommunication Organizations.
  • Put in place a proposal to have more than one AC meeting a year with the additional meeting to be held on a “virtual” basis either through radio conferencing or teleconferencing.
  • Communication amongst the AC members and the team preparing for WRC-12 has been assisted by the establishment of two email reflectors. This, I think, went a long way in enhancing our discussions during the AC meeting which was held in Christchurch, New Zealand last October.

I am very pleased with the cooperative approach of the AC members and our WRC-12 team and I think it bodes well for our future activities.

When I was first elected to this position, I provided the AC members with my view of our goals for 2009-2014. It is my hope that we should strive to make the IARU the global voice of the Amateur Radio Services and the world’s leading organization of Amateur Radio Member Societies. I believe we are well along in that process.

One of our other goals is to provide more effective communication to Regions and Member Societies. Hopefully we are improving in that respect through some of the mechanisms we now have in place, such as this E-Letter. We also wanted interact with our Member Societies more frequently than we have in the past. Ole, Rod and I have been able to do that in the past few months by our attendance at various Hamfests or in meeting with Societies directly. We both plan to have similar meetings throughout 2010.

Finally, I would like thank each of you for your continued support of the IARU and its activities. Our work together will continue to enhance the position of the Amateur Radio Services.

Please feel free to contact me or any member of the officer team if you have any questions or issues that you would like to raise. I can be reached by email at ve6sh@iaru.org.

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Haiti Earthquake
Note: The following account of the activities related to the response to the earthquake in Haiti that took place on January 12, 2010 is taken from the ARRL web site and provides information that is available as of January 14, 2010.

On Tuesday, January 12 at 4:53 PM Haiti time (2153 UTC), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince, the island nation’s capital. Communications in and out of Haiti have been disrupted. The ARRL encourages US amateurs to be aware of the emergency operations on the following frequencies: 7.045 and 3.720 MHz (IARU Region 2 nets), 14.265, 7.265 and 3.977 MHz (SATERN nets), and 14.300 MHz (Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net); the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC) is also active on EchoLink node 278173.

There was no firm estimate on how many people were killed by Tuesday’s quake. Haitian President Rene Preval said the toll could be in the thousands: “Let’s say that it’s too early to give a number.”

Tuesday’s quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and in Eastern Cuba, but no major damage was reported in either place. The January 13 edition of The Daily DX reported that the Rev John Henault, HH6JH, made contact late Wednesday morning with the Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net (IATN) on 14.300 MHz; this is the IARU Global Center of Activity frequency for emergency communications. He said that he was safe, but had no power and no phone service. He was operating on battery power and hoping to get a generator running later in the day. The edition also noted that Pierre Petry, HH2/HB9AMO — who was in Cap Haitien (about 140 km north of Port-au-Prince) is safe; Petry is in Haiti working for the United Nations World Food Program.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fred Moore, W3ZU, assisted Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, with a phone patch to his friend Ariel in Miami. “It’s bad, it literally is bad,” Gaillard told Ariel. “We don’t know how many people are dead. We do not know what to expect. It’s chaos, I’m telling you — it’s real chaos. We are really in a disaster area. It’s really a war zone. Many, many buildings in the downtown area are stripped from the ground with many people buried underneath them – you name it, it’s bad.” Gaillard, who lives in Port-au-Prince, was using his neighbor’s generator to make the contact. “It’s really chaotic. I’ve never been in a war, but this is what a war zone would be like. Dead bodies all over the place, dead bodies buried. All I can tell you is that I’m okay, my house is okay. We’ve had 30 aftershocks, the main one yesterday. We are expecting some more shocks, so I’m a bit nervous to be inside the house.”

According to IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, members of the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) — the Dominican Republic’s IARU Member-Society — and Union Dominicana de Radio Aficionados (UDRA) are preparing to go to Port au Prince on the morning of Friday, January 15, where they will install HI8RCD/HH, an emergency radio communications station and a mobile station.

FEMA (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) Administrator Craig Fugate advised that US assets should not self-deploy to affected areas. “Initial reports from Haiti in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake are concerning and troubling,” he said. “During times like these, the emergency response community always stands ready to assist those in need. The United States Department of State has the lead for foreign disaster assistance, and US assets should deploy only if tasked to do so by the State Department. The most urgent need that the response community can fulfill at this time is supporting ongoing disaster relief fund-raising efforts.”

On Thursday, January 14th, planes carrying teams from China and France, Spain and the United States landed at Port-au-Prince’s airport with searchers and tons of water, food, medicine and other supplies — with more promised from around the globe. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “tens of thousands, we fear, are dead” and said United States and the world must do everything possible to help Haiti surmount its “cycle of hope and despair.” The US Army said a detachment of more than 100 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division was heading out from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, looking for locations to set up tents and other essentials in preparation for the arrival of another 800 personnel on Friday. That’s in addition to some 2200 Marines to be sent, as the military prepares to help with security, search and rescue missions and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. More than a half-dozen US military ships also are expected to help, with the largest, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, arriving later Thursday.

Calls to emergency services weren’t getting through because systems that connect different phone networks were still not working, said officials from a telecommunications provider in Haiti. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is deploying 40 satellite terminals and 60 units with broadband facility to re-establish basic communication links, along with experts to operate them. The ITU will also set up “a reliable, responsive and complete cellular system designed to enable vital wireless communications aimed at strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone,” said ITU Emergency Communications Division Chief Cosmas Zavazava. The ITU has allocated a budget of more than $1 million US dollars to strengthen the disaster response effort in Haiti.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT, expressed his solidarity with the people of Haiti and offered his condolences to the bereaved victims of the disaster. “The whole world is in shock following the devastation and untold misery caused by the earthquake in Haiti,” Dr Touré said. “ITU will do everything possible to provide assistance to the people of Haiti by re-establishing telecommunication links which will be vital in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the days ahead.”

“The scope of the disaster clearly shows that the response to this is going to be a long term effort,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. “The ARRL has been in contact with communications leaders of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as other key Amateur Radio operators throughout the region. As teams from the hundreds of responding agencies worldwide are formed for deployment, many will have Amateur Radio components. ARRL is committed to providing communications aid to our served agencies and working with the international community in this time of crisis. At this time there are no known requests from agencies for amateurs to travel to Haiti, but this can change. If it develops that there are ARES® assignments for a deployment in Haiti, these will be vetted and processed through each Section’s Section Emergency Coordinators.”

The situation in Haiti is still chaotic. More information will be posted on the ARRL web site (www.arrl.org) as soon as possible. Information is being validated and shared between many amateur groups and news sources as it unfolds.

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If you have any information that would be appropriate to publish in this electronic newsletter, please contact me at w6rod@iaru.org.

Rod Stafford W6ROD
IARU Secretary

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The IARU E-Letter is published on behalf on the Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union by the IARU International Secretariat. Editor: David Sumner, K1ZZ, IARU Secretary.

Material from The IARU E-Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The IARU E-Letter and The International Amateur Radio Union.

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