Here are examples from all six continents to give you an idea of what you find in the encyclopedia. Remember; Behind every callsign is an interesting person!
Forest fires in Australia
…When the fires started on January 5, our position as Radio Amateurs was to pass messages over our local 2 Meter repeater between the local Bush Fire Brigade headquarters and the helicopter base. However, as the emergency escalated and the lack of trained air band radio operators became apparent, it did not take the authorities long to ask Ian, VK2XB if he could help, which he did with no previous experience in air band communications at all, and this he did for two days by himself. He then asked for help as more helicopters were being used and this required operators to be constantly at the radios. Ian spelled it out that he wanted me to assist him. So I volunteered, not knowing what I was getting myself into. So on January 9, when I started, I got my “training”, for 10 minutes, after that the job started! ….
…. On January 12, we were informed that the Army was going to take over our job! The Chief Pilot told them that he was satisfied by our work and asked why we were to be replaced. He got no reply, he was only told that the Army should take over at 06:00 AM the following day and that Ian and I should not come back. Anyone can imagine how Ian and I reacted!
The Chief Pilot regretted and told us to get another two hours sleep and be back at 08:00 AM for the briefing. As we got there, only the security crew could be seen, all the others were at a meeting.
The pilots and their chief came out at 8:30 and told Ian and me to come to the meeting. They told us that so far the meeting had been violent. After one hour of negotiations, the pilots made it clear they would not fly again if Ian and I were not in charge of communication!
At 9 AM the work started again and that with a nice feeling for Ian and me! ....
Amateur Radio services in Southern California
….Both repeaters are operated by the Los Angeles County Disaster Communications Service (a part of RACES). The importance of this system to the general public´s welfare is considered so essential by both the populace and the local governments, that one of these Amateur Radio repeaters is totally financed by Los Angeles County government. It´s maintained by the Sheriff Department and operated by Amateur Radio volunteers. …..
…. Within scant seconds of the first major shock of the quake, Carolyn Bogdan, N6YKU, came on the K6CPT repeater, closing the facilities to all but Disaster Communications Service related earthquake activities. (Carolyn is the trustee of the license for Disaster Communications Service.) Her first efforts included a request for damage reports (only). In this manner, even before the seismologists at CalTech or USGS in Golden, Colorado were able to pinpoint where the quake had struck, Carolyn was documenting for the Sheriff Department Information Center, where the major problems were.
Within an hour, the whole DCS system was activated and manned. Radio Amateurs were out in the field, at preassigned locations, passing messages to a command center, comprised of all agencies of government and such organizations as the Salvation Army and American Red Cross. Telephone and power lines were down; in some instances microwave antennas were toppled and no longer useful.
Amateur Radio was the only communication medium for Los Angeles county for many hours. …..
The end of a DXpedition to Haiti
….. As I stood there on my knees with a rifle in the back of my head, I had never seen the stars so bright. Hands above your head. - Body search. Then the baggage was searched. Money and everything what seemed to be able to sell was kept. One IC706 apparently was considered a Radio. After one hour the ordeal was over. Despite everything, in some way we were happy, we had survived. ….
How hams behind the Iron Curtain lost their licenses
…. In 1981, I wanted to establish a DIG section in OK, but the state-police in Czechoslovakia, as well as in the one in the GDR don't sleep. And because of the work for DIG I spent 13 hours with the Police in May, 1983 without any food or drink.They told me that I propagated for DIG with its base in West-Germany. And if I supported DIG, I also supported West-Germany, and capitalism, and that way I could not have a license in a socialistic state! I was not allowed to say anything at all about it because I might also lose my work with the fire brigade. Only after the change in December 1989, I got back my license again…
With the UN during the war in East Timor
… The militia and the Indonesian police/military surrounded the HQ building with the UN staff inside and fired their automatic weapons into the building at waist level. It was estimated that 4000 rounds were fired in about one hour – I lost my high frequency hearing after this barrage – the message was clear – leave and don´t come back – the tense moment in such situations is always when the shooting stops – I expected them to come inside and execute all of us one by one, but that did not happen although there was nothing to stop them from doing just that. ….
Losing the left arm in helicopter crash in Greenland
…. the helicopter was converted for lifting concrete up the hill where a ski lift was under construction. Concrete supports should be molded. The load for each trip was 3,000 kilos and 24 trips were needed that day. The first 21 trips were OK, but at 8:20 PM, when I was ready to release the load at the summit, 100 meters above the valley, a terrifying noise was heard as the High Speed Unit Gear box exploded!
My colleague and I tried to maneuver the helicopter, but it was impossible. The tail hit the wall of the mountain and the helicopter tumbled down alongside the mountain until it stopped.
The landing was rough but the two rotor blades, each six meters long and 50 kilos heavy continued spinning and stripped the helicopter body once we hit the ground. I slid down to the bottom of the cockpit, while holding on to the seat with my right arm and to the top of the roof with my left arm. I closed my eyes to protect them against debris flying around. I could feel the rotor blades spinning above my head. The sound of metal being squeezed together was followed by complete silence. I opened my eyes and everything was gone. The instrument panel. The wind shield. Everything!
My colleague was motionless and he didn´t respond. He had been hit in the head and then thrown violently back into the seat. He was immediately brain dead and later passed away in the rescue helicopter.
I noticed everything was red in front of me. I looked at my left arm and noticed how the blood was pumping out from it. My artery was broken. My left hand was gone and the situation critical. I grabbed the artery which was protruding and pulled it until my chest hurt. Then I used my right hand to tie a nut and covered it with the skin. ….
Repairing a 240 foot broadcast tower in Haiti
… We repaired the base of a 240 foot tower, by jacking up the tower. It was a lot of work with only hand tools, and rather dangerous project, But it was wonderful to experience success in such an ‘impossible” project. I will remember Haiti always, and already I am anxious to go back. ….
Fire fighting in Africa
If you love your job and you´re a ham, a natural combination is to use your station to talk to other fire fighters to become friends and talk about your job. One day in 1982, our conversation on the firefighters´ net was overheard by Claude, 6W7FZ, a Swiss born hotel owner in Senegal. Claude broke in and told us how two days before; a fire in his area had revealed that nobody was familiar with the old fashioned fire fighting equipment. I thought about this for a few days, then changed the time for my vacation, waved goodbye to my family and went to Senegal. …
(Malawi)….. When I wake up, my wife is shaking me violently. "Klaus, Klaus, they are shooting outside!" - "Can´t be!" - "Listen for yourself!" She opens the window and immediately starts to cry. Teargas enters the room and to my shock, I hear a sound I recognize all too well; automatic rifles firing complete rounds.
What´s next? ….
…. I have had several personal unforgettable experiences.
Which normal citizen can tell about how he almost stepped on the nose of a crocodile or how he got away from a hippopotamus, one of the most dangerous animals in Africa?
I remember how I went to a camp fire in open sandals and when I looked down, I saw a scorpion which was just about to attack. My jump would have given me a sports medal! ….
Earthquake in Ecuador
….After an hour, a truck with soldiers arrived to inspect the damage. Their radio equipment had been destroyed and my Amateur Radio transceiver was the only link to the outside world! During the night, I was in contact with several Radio Amateurs in Ecuador and Colombia and they passed the information on to local radio stations. ….
Saving the lives of the soldiers
…. I encounter a group of Danish soldiers, who are trying to contact another group, a few kilometers away. They tell me, the frequency is 7.8 MHz. I run back to my station to monitor their communication. After a while, the conversation is getting dramatic! ANNA-BETTY has received the information that they shall come to Henne Strand. What they have not heard is that they are told: they must not cross the moorland. The moor is still a mine-field, which since the clearing of it started, has killed two of the soldiers, clearing it. ANNA-ANNA desperately tries to stop them, but to no avail. I decide to try to break in, but can the Variable Frequency Oscillator of my transmitter be used on 7.8 MHz? I manage to stop the group before it is too late. They all thank me and the last remark from ANNA-BETTY before they start their long detour along the road is "There we could have ended as chopped fish!" ….
Helping children in Ghana
…. If we want to prevent these children from becoming beggars, we must help them now. The start help we give them now will help the children to become able to care for themselves. Father Pablo has several examples that need our help urgently. To assure you that every donation gets where it is needed, everyone is invited to contact the Boys´ Home or to personally visit Father Pablo. ….
Emergency Communication service by Indian Hams
…. As the Emergency Coordinator, hams at the National Institute of Amateur Radio, NIAR provide communications for Search & Rescue operations.
handle health and welfare messages, organize channel and frequency assignment for operational activities, command and control channels for mutual-aid and support functions....
… The devastation unleashed by cyclone “Aila” deprived millions of people of their homes, leaving them with a narrow stretch of land on high grounds or on an elevated concrete road to survive.
The Government of West Bengal sought assistance from Ham volunteers in the region to bridge the communication gap and for backup communications at remote locations.
NIAR, well known for its preparedness and its committed team of volunteers immediately rushed its members to Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal by train and flight to further reach Barasat, …. As a member in the ‘Aila’ cyclone -2009 relief communications, I operated the amateur radio station at Block Headquarters office at Hingalgunj around the clock. ….