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31 October 2011

HAMNET BULLETIN: 30 August 2011

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.


The Hamnet Bulletin is distributed once a month to all HAMNET members and is also available in text format as well as an audio clip on the SARL web site. News updates are read on the Amateur Radio Today Sunday transmissions and posted on the SARL web site as well as our Facebook site. All Bulletin audio clips are also available as a Podcast.  Follow the links on the SARL web site.

HAMNET is a voluntary group of amateurs who make their unique communication skills available to assist and help others in distress during and after disasters.  HAMNET is represented on the sub-committee of the South African Search & Rescue Organisation. Training Modules are available either from your Provincial Director or from the National Director via e-mail and is also available on the SARL HAMNET Welcome CD.

HAMNET forms part of the Constitution of the South African Radio League which means that you have to be a member of the SARL to be a member of HAMNET.  All information on SARL HAMNET is available on the web site of the SARL at - follow the links! 
You can also follow us on Facebook     and Twitter


The recent 'Albatros Incident' was a bit of a blessing in disguise so to speak.

There were one or two items that came out of this incident that should be borne in mind by not only the various Provincial Directors but also by any member of Hamnet in any capacity!

The role of the Provincial Director is ultimate - what we mean by that is that he makes the decision if his Province (team) is a 'first responder' or will wait until called upon for assistance. 

In many cases, some Provinces are first responders for various reasons taken on past experiences.  Where a close link between Hamnet and the other volunteer groups already exists, when a call is made to respond, the command structure will respond according to set protocols!

In some cases, Hamnet may decide to wait until called upon for assistance.  Nothing wrong with that - it simply depends on the severity of the situation and also the Province in which such an incident took place.

It is also possible for any member of any Province who hears of an incident, to contact his PD for guidance as to how they should respond.  This is important when an incident occurs in another Province.  The onus then rests on the various respondents to liaise with one another (or Provinces) if their assistance is required or who will be 'first responders'.

The National Director may be the first to be contacted in some cases.  Again, the ND will then contact the PD within the jurisdiction of the incident who will put together a team to be on stand by or to be deployed if called upon to do so.

A point was made that due to lack of coordination, one specific volunteer group (like ORRU) may be called out for assistance and Hamnet not contacted.

The decision to activate or to deploy Hamnet still rests with the people or organisation to which an incident was reported.  The decision to activate Hamnet still rests with the first responders or ARCC as an example!  In saying that, nothing prevents us to prepare for a possible call-out!

Let me again underline that Hamnet is purely an alternative means of 'communication' in times of emergency.  We are there to help assist and expand communication links when established links are either overloaded, dysfunctional or extra or alternative means (like digital means etc.) becomes necessary to ensure messages are sent and received.

Should the authorities feel they can cope - no reason for us to feel 'unwanted' or not necessary!

As of this Bulletin, a list of the Provincial Directors is listed lower down with their contact details for future reference!  This list was also made available to ARCC and SASAR!


In this day and age, it is inconceivable to consider that in one moment, all communications systems can fail - all at once!  The recent Blackberry systems failure is the thin edge of the wedge and could lead to more serious failures!

Have we ever considered this!  What would we do when all systems fail?

This problem was once posed to me by a senior Telkom official and I must admit I did not have a contingency plan should something like this occur!

So what sort of a contingency plan can one formulate?  I do not have the answer right now but this is something we need to look at and possibly consider some plan of action should this situation ever arise!

I would like to set the ball rolling with some wild, weird and possible solutions, and would like comment from others so we can put together a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should this ever happen.

Scenario: - No phones. No Cell phones, No electricity. No Satellite Phones.  But let's assume that radio waves are not affected - which can also happen after a major sun flare!

Point One.  Do we immediately or as soon as possible fire up the generator and or connect the battery and come up on HF?

Point Two.  What frequencies to migrate to?  The Hamnet emergency frequencies on HF are an obvious choice!  Alternatively on VHF and UHF - on which simplex frequencies will be gather?

Point Three.  Assuming we were able to make contact with one another, who do we approach or contact next?  What is our next strategy plan?  Who may need radio assistance?

Point Four.  Do we set up a local and national network to communicate between ourselves via HF and or VHF/UHF.

Point Five Taking all this into account - do we establish if our local authority's radio or communications networks are functional!  Do we set up 'field stations' at local authorities and other institutions?

These are just some ideas - but I am sure with some 'brain storming' you will come up with many more ideas and suggestions. 

Please let me have your comments so we can put together a 'reasonable workable SOP' so we can include this in the HAMNET Welcome Pack under Training modules.

John Williscroft - ZS6EF after watching a Hamnet presentation recently made the comment - "what still is missing from your planning is a MacGyver module". 

This could be the start of our own MacGyver Training Module!


We wish to advise that Martin Harper, ZS6MSG (ZS5VO) is not well after a heart attack and we wish him well and a speedy recovery.  Martin has a long history of Hamnet activities in KZN.

John Smith - ZS4S, has asked to be relieved of his duties as Provincial Director of the Free State due to pressure of his daily office duties.  Although John indicated he will always be available for emergencies, we wish to thank John for his duties over the past few years.

However - we need a volunteer to take over from John in the Free State and we also need a volunteer to handle a long vacant Limpopo Province.

The last Teleconference Minutes are now available on the web site of the SARL - click on Hamnet and when page opens, last item on left side of opening Hamnet page.

We are now also looking at developing a regular Regional Provincial Director conference but either by Echolink or Skype to save on telephone costs.  We will keep you updated but please come up some ideas!

Finally to all who want some international action - check this and participate....


The following frequencies are purely calling frequencies-
'Eightynet' 3.695 MHz 'Fortynet' 7.095 MHz 'Thirynet' 10.135 MHz
'Twentynet' 14.295 MHz Subject to correction/confirmation!


WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE Paul van Spronsen ZS1PVS 083 302-3366
NORTHWEST CAPE PROV. Daniel Swart ZS3DS 082 884-1200
EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE Serge Smetryns ZS2SJE 084 515-1077
KWAZULU-NATAL PROV. Keith Lowes ZS5WFD 082 685-6666
NORTH WEST PROVINCE Chris Viljoen ZS6BYQ 082 587-8641
GAUTENG SOUTH Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG 083 543-5668
GAUTENG NORTH Johan de Bruyn ZS6JHB 082 492-3689
MPUMALANGA PROVINCE Gert Botha ZS6GC 082 771-0663
NATIONAL DIRECTOR Francois Botha ZS6BUU 083 585-3847

For weather information -
To send weather information - 076 251 3482 - Text Messages Only!!
Alternatively -

The following numbers are useful in emergencies:-
1. AMBULANCE - 10177
2. ER24 - 084 124 
3. Werner Vermaak Direct ER24 real emergencies only (Gauteng) 082 907.4557
4. TRAFFIC - 112
6. JAMLINE - 084 5265463
7. CRIME LINE - 32211 alternatively 08600 10111.  HAMNET actively supports the SAPS and CPF to fight crime!
8. N3 Toll Concession Help Line - 0800 N3 HELP or 080063 4357
9. Graham - Maritime Mobile Net 046 648-1071 (Maritime Emergency Only)
10. Sam Maree - Maritime Mobile Net 021 782-2840 (Maritime Emergency Only)
11. MRCC - 021 938-3300 (Only in dire Maritime emergencies)

Comments and suggestions to: or or at 011 679-5260 or 083 585-3847. Fax 086-580.6110.
Bulletin ends.