The provision of emergency communications is one of the fastest growing areas of amateur radio around the world.
Amateur radio is so useful to emergency communications because it does not depend on any infrastructure.
That means amateur radio does not rely on the electrical power grid or any cabled network.
Although mobile phones and the internet have wireless capability, they are still dependent on fixed masts and cabling which can be severely disrupted by a natural or man-made disaster; so while very useful in an emergency, mobiles and the internet cannot be relied upon completely.
When the phone lines are down and the electricity is off, it is still possible to communicate worldwide with amateur radio using only battery power.
This versatility has saved many lives over decades of amateur radio emergency service.
Amateur radio still gets through when everything else has failed.
RAYNET was formed in 1953 following the East Coast floods, when radio amateurs provided emergency communications, and was administered by the RSGB.
In the early 90s for various reasons a split occurred in RAYNET with some groups remaining with the RSGB, some forming a new organisation, the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network, known as the Network or RAEN, and some operating independently.
Attempts have been made in the past to bring all the groups back into one organisation. Since 2013 the RSGB’s Emergency Communications Committee has been working towards bringing the Raynet groups back under one organisation.
A RSGB/RAEN joint working group was formed to consider the requirements for a unified Raynet. They produced their first statement in October 2014 and started a consultation process with the membership of both organisations. This consultation continued for almost two years as new proposals were developed based on the consultation input. A joint statement on the detail and how amalgamation will be achieved was drawn up by the RSGB and the RAEN and released on 1 Sept 2015. This can be viewed here The Future of RAYNET . This was further refined leading to the signing a memorandum of agreement between the RSGB and the unified RAYNET which sets out their new, complimentary roles and co-operative relationship. This can be viewed here RSGB RAYNET-UK Agreement 2016.
In essence, the new unified organisation will become an affiliated Special Interest Group of the Society. In turn, only the unified RAYNET will have the task of providing the special support which groups need, such as specific insurance and photo ID. Only groups in the unified organisation will be able to use the title RAYNET.
The Network has already agreed to changes to their Articles of Association and to changing the company name to RAYNET-UK which will become the reunified Raynet. The RSGB Board have formally approved reunification. The process of setting up RAYNET-UK is ongoing and this page will be updated regularly with progress reports.
RSGB groups will be invited to transfer to the unified Raynet during 2017. It’s important to note that the unified RAYNET will be a membership organisation. So not only will the group transfer, its members will become members of RAYNET-UK.
For more information please see the FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions on the re-unification of RAYNET
How to join RAYNET-UK
When the Change of name has been approved by Companies House the forms required to process an application to join RAYNET-UK will be available here.
Last edit to this page: 07 Dec 2016