A ‘Save’ for Amateur Radio

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    Layne AE1N
    Layne AE1N

    Ham radio operators help answer a boat’s Mayday call

    When I was an Air Traffic Controller and we were able to talk a pilot in trouble to a safe touchdown, we called it a “Save”. Following could probably be counted as a Save by the Ham Radio Fraternity – Layne AE1N

    JIM/ANCHOR: The real strength of radio isn’t its signal but its potential to save lives. Just ask hams who participate in the Maritime Mobile Service Network, as Amateur Radio Newsline’s Kent Peterson, KC0DGY did.

    KENT’s REPORT: May 12th started as a typical day for the net control operators of the Maritime Mobile Service Network until around 1825 UTC.

    KEN: I monitor all the time, I leave my radio on 14.300 and I heard faintly a voice saying May Day May Day emergency traffic.

    KENT: That Mayday call was heard by net control operator Ken Porter AC0ML.  Porter thinks he’s handled about 20 emergency calls during his 10 years as net control operator.

    KEN: I took charge of the net and told everyone to focus only on the emergency traffic.

    KENT: Meanwhile control operator Scott Roberts KK4ECR was reaching out to other control operators.

    KEN: Scott was calling several of the other net controls and getting as many sets of ears on frequency as possible for us to offer assistance.

    KENT: The captain of the sailing vessel Ubiquity is ham operator Brian Stipak KF7QCX who was in VHF marine radio contact with the Free Spirit and relayed their location to the Maritime Net using his shipboard SSB ham radio.

    KEN: The captain of Ubiquity reported the Free Spirit was taking on water and the engine would not start and they were taking on water and they were preparing to abandon ship. The Ubiquity had lost contact with the Free Spirit. There was a lot of concern at that time.

    KENT: Meanwhile the 20 meter band had closed as well.

    KEN: I had lost contract with the Ubiquity I made several calls over the course of an hour; no one was able to reach him. And I also asked other net control stations but no one was able to reach him either

    KENT: Porter was able to reach the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego who also came on frequency in an attempt to reach the vessel Ubiquity, but band conditions had changed and they too were unable to reach the boat. The U.S. Coast Guard relayed the information provided by Porter to the Mexican Navy who located the ship in distress and towed the ship and passengers to the Port of San Carlos in Mexico.

    KEN: We didn’t find out the disposition of that event until the following morning.

    KEN: I’ve had a number of different vessels in life-threatening situations calling frantically for help and just to know that you can give that help is really rewarding. It is one of the best types of service work I’ve ever found, I’m a member of my ARES group in this area and that’s nice to be part of. But this is something on an entirely different level.

    KENT: For Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Kent Peterson KC0DGY

    Source: Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2065 for Friday, May 26, 2017

    Layne AE1N

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