Itinerant Ham

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Are You Ready?

We met a nice couple from a sailing boat called Moya Mareea a few weeks ago. He holds a Canadian Ham Callsign. They were off to cruise the coast of Cuba on their way back to Canada.

The weather here has been pretty windy over the last week and we have been monitoring it closely so we can get back on the air without the antenna being bent over too far. This morning we were listening before the SSB weather net here in the Bahamas and we heard Moya Mareea call “MAYDAY” on the frequency. They were stuck on a reef off the Cuban coast and were barely readable.

Another boat picked up the call and notified the US coastguard who passed it over to the Cuban authorities.

So why am I telling you this? Well simply that while we’re all chasing DX or chewing the rag we might hear that call. We have the ability to communicate across the world and answer that call for help. So the question is, what do we do next?

Every nation will have different telephone numbers to contact the authorities. Do you know who to call and what the numbers are? Do you have a list of the details that you need to record so that any rescue services can get to the location and provide the right assistance?

As I sit here, over 3 hours after the initial call, I am listening to the radio traffic, coordinated by hams. There have been many stations taking part, relaying part of the details where they could hear and another station coordinating. One operator walked down to the coastguard station in Cuba and gave them all the details and impressed upon them the urgency of the situation.

The coastguard vessel arrived a few minutes ago so the couple will be safe.

Are you ready to act as a coordinator or as a relay? It’s great to listen to hams working together to aid another ham in distress.

I don’t have all the answers as to what you would do in your location if you heard a call but I think it’s would be good to know a few appropriate telephone numbers in your country and have a checklist of details to write down should you hear the call.

I’ll update the blog as the situation unfolds – in the mean time… Are you ready?


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