YRM stages Pre-Hurricane Season Communications Readiness Exercise
A communications drill involving seven Caribbean countries took place last Sunday, May 31 to ensure that radio operators and their respective local Disaster Management (DM) are in a state of readiness for the 2020 storm season which officially began on June 1.
The participating countries were Anguilla, Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Grenada and host country St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), while three official disaster management agencies and a communications support group took part in the seven-hour exercise.
The session began at 06:00 and which ran until 14:43, way past the 13:00 cut off point, so interesting was the evaluation session via a Zoom conference. The disaster management agencies that took part were NADMA – Grenada, CDEMA – Barbados, NEMO – SVG and REACT Trinidad and Tobago.
The training exercise used several modes of communication including HF, VHF/UHF radio, with Internet reliant modes like ECHOLINK and PEANUT as redundant communications modes.
The main objective of the exercise was to ensure that radio operators could establish and maintain contact with their respective disaster management agencies while at the same time sharpening their emergency message handling skills.
The activity also gave radio operators the opportunity to test their emergency back power units that use renewable energy devices. The use of renewable energy devices like solar power enables reliable communications when the domestic power grid is damaged.
Besides local and regional participation, the Zoom conference was also attended by Anthony Benn KC2ADI from West Palm Beach, Florida, and Paul Lowman J88DF – AD6DF now residing in the United Arab Emirates.
Both Vincentians have pledged and provided tangible support to the development of Amateur radio in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Senior Program officer for Telecoms Officer with CDEMA, Courtney King 8P6JK, also intimated that this training activity be broadened to include more Caribbean territories, different internet modes and gateways in future activities, and hailed the activity as a success.
The training exercise is an initiative of the Youlou Radio Movement – YRM in conjunction with Radio Amateurs from Grenada, with support from DM agencies including NADMA, NEMO, CDEMA and REACT (T&T).
The YRM thanked Sylvan Mc Intyre Director of Nadma and Michelle Forbes Director of NEMO for allowing their respective EOCs to be operational for the duration of the exercise. Thanks must also be expressed to the most important facet of the exercise, the radio operators, some of whom were already ‘on air’ way before the 6 am start time.
Radio operators who played major roles during the exercise include but are not limited to the following: J39JX-Floyd, J39JZ- Leslie, J38HA-Dexter, j69DS –Frans, 9Z4JAG-Bramie, 9Z4RG- Robbie, VP2EIH- Ira, 8P6JK-Courtney, 8P6GW-Wesley, J73WA-Wayne, j73HMJ Hilkiah, J88CU- Sean, J88DT-Sylvester, J88NEL-Vulon, J88NKC- Karyn and organizer of the event J88CD Donald De Riggs.
Report submitted by: Donald De Riggs