Ongoing global effort to restore Dominica’s amateur radio capabilities

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13/10/2017

the Yasme Foundation, United Statesthe Foundation for the International Amateur Radio Service (FAIRS), and individual GoFundMe donors joined forces to restore nationwide amateur radio communication on Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Private pilots Brian Machesney, K1LI, and Dave Bridgham, N1AHF, are scheduled to take off Oct. 14 from Vermont with a plane loaded with amateur radio equipment, emergency equipment and supplies to better prepare the small Caribbean island nation for disasters. . Bridgham volunteers for Dominica »Angels in Eden” airlift led by round-the-world pilot Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN.

“Almost a month after Hurricane Maria, there are still families waiting to hear if their loved ones are alive or dead or in serious need of medical attention,” said Michelle Guenard, wife of Machesney and spokesperson. of joint effort. Guenard pointed out that in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica and its telecommunications infrastructure, “the only news of their families and friends was gleaned through local transmissions”. [Amateur Radio] operators.” She noted that many were able to listen to live streams of amateur radio traffic via Facebook and YouTube live streams.

Guenard explained that many Dominica expats now want to equip their home villages with amateur radio stations, and she started a GoFundMe campaign to do so. “Once this equipment arrives and is installed across the island, we will have achieved our goal, ‘to give every human being on the island of Dominica the ability to call for help’.”

Working with a network of contacts developed over decades of visits to Dominica, Machesney and Guenard established a partnership that brought together more than $30,000 worth of radio equipment and solar-powered battery charging stations. “Once fully deployed, Dominica will be part of a strong local, regional and global network of amateur radio stations,” Machesney said.

“Many of our members lost everything in the hurricane,” said Joseph Raymond, J73RJ, president of Dominica Amateur Radio Club Inc. (DARCI). “The donated equipment will greatly improve our near-term ability to connect towns and villages across Dominica and stay connected long into the future.”

Yasme President Ward Silver, N0AX, said his organization began working with the Dominica Amateur Radio Club and Dominica’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) last year to recruit and equip new operators. amateur radio for such an emergency. “We are grateful to Yaesu, FAIRS and individual donors for joining us in this effort,” Silver said.

Mikio Maruya, WA6F, executive vice president of engineering for the Yaesu USA Amateur Division, said Yaesu “welcomes this opportunity to help Dominica recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.”

FAIRS President Dave Larsen, KK4WW, pointed out that access to reliable power sources for amateur radio equipment is often overlooked when preparing for emergencies. “These off-grid portable systems will help extend Dominica’s surviving repeater coverage, enable 24/7 field operations by recharging the batteries of portable radios, and supply base stations in susceptible villages. to be without commercial power for some time to come,” Larsen said.

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