We promised that there might be a hurricane at the July meeting. There was! Well, of sorts. Bobby Graves KB5HAV has been a leader in the development of both the Hurricane Watch Net (hwn.org) and the Maritime Mobile Service Net (mmsn.org). Some hams are active in this segment of emergency communications while others are fairly oblivious to them.
The Hurricane Watch Net was founded in 1965 during Hurrican Betsy. An informal group of amateur operators saw a need to provide communications into and out of the impact zone. The HWN has operated since during every hurricane that is projected to reach landfall in the Atlantic, Carribean Basin, and the Gulf of Mexico. It developed and maintains a direct formal communication partnership with the National Hurrican Center in Miami. The Net activates on 20M at 14.325mhz and 50M on 7.268mhz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or is a serious threat to a populated area. There are about 40 amateurs located in strategic locations around North America who officially support the HWN’s activities.
KB5HAV gave a mesmerizing presentation on the origins, development, and current operation of these Nets. Anyone who ventures into the deep waters knows how volatile life can be when storms seem to pop out of the sky.
Bobby’s work has been a lifesaver to many, many maritime vessels and the lives aboard them. KB5HAV says the HWN lives by the motto shown at left: “Never Let Your Guard Down”!
The Maritime Mobile Service Network (MMSN) was launched in early 1968. The original purpose of the MMSN was to “Serve Those Who Serve” in the United States military during the Vietnam crisis. As posted on their website, the network has grown considerably in hours of operation and services provided and consist of a dedicated group of Radio Amateurs who unselfishly volunteer their time, equipment, and efforts to serve and assist those in need of communications from foreign countries and the high seas.
The Net’s primary purpose now is handling legal third party traffic from maritime mobiles, both pleasure and commercial and overseas-deployed military personnel. We also help missionaries in foreign countries, and volunteer net control stations from throughout North America and the Caribbean maintain the network. Furthermore, these stations are assisted by relay stations to ensure total coverage of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean & Caribbean Seas, and the eastern Pacific Ocean. The network, in particular, has been formally recognized for it’s work with emergency traffic by the Dept. of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard, and the National Weather Service, to mention a few. The Maritime Mobile Service Net is operational every day from 12:00pm until 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time, and from 12:00pm until 10:00pm Eastern Daylight Time, on the 20M Global Emergency Center Of Activity frequency of 14.300mhz as outlined by the International Radio Union.