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.
Towards one RAYNET
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 occured 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. Considerable progress toward this goal has been made by the RSGB/RAEN joint working group over recent months, without much outward fuss. Now we want to share the proposals more widely.
The shape and status of the likely new, unified RAYNET has been defined.
To find out more please read Towards One Raynet
A joint statement on the detail and how amalgamation will be achieved has been drawn up by the RSGB and the RAEN. This can be viewed here The Future of RAYNET
There is a proposed 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 Proposed Agreement . Remember this has not been signed by either party yet.
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. and only groups in the unified organisation will be able to use the title RAYNET.
To put these changes in place decisions have to be made by both the RSGB and the Network, but the processes are different.
If agreement is reached on both sides RSGB groups will be invited to transfer to the unified Raynet on or before their RSGB affiliation comes up for renewal. The proposed agreement mentioned above will also be signed at the start of this process.
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 the unified RAYNET.
Raynet groups will be able to have RSGB affiliation like any other RSGB club, for payment of the club fee.