RAYNET-UK is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community in times of emergency by licensed radio amateurs.
RAYNET was formed in 1953 following the severe East coast flooding, to provide a way of organising the valuable resource that Amateur Radio is able to provide to the community. Since then, it has grown into a very active organisation with around 2000 members, providing communication assistance on many hundreds of events each year.
Amateur Radio operators have access to a wide range of radio bands, operating modes and equipment which allows RAYNET to offer a unique range of emergency communication services to our user services. This is vital in a region such as North Wales with its mountain ranges and rugged coastline, radio can still be used for communications where other means of communications cannot function.
Coupled with our members endless resourcefulness, RAYNET is regarded as a professional support organisation by both the statutory and volunteer emergency service organisations.
The primary aim of the organisation is to provide communications in times of emergency and disaster. The list of ‘User Services’ (i.e. people who we are allowed under the terms of the Amateur transmitting licence to pass messages on behalf of) who may call on our help include:
- Any UK Police force, Fire & Rescue service or Ambulance trust.
- HM Coastguard
- Local Authority Emergency Planning Officers
- Any health authority
- Any government department
- British Red Cross
- St John Ambulance
- St Andrew’s Ambulance Association
- Salvation Army
- Any ‘Public Utility’. This can include BT, Gas and Water suppliers etc.
This support is achieved by providing a trained team of RAYNET members, together with a clearly identified set of resources at its disposal.
As well as planned events, RAYNET is available to the user services on short notice callout, with teams mobilised typically within one hour. In many cases the use of RAYNET is written into the user services’ major incident plans, so that they may alert the organisation at an early stage.
If you think that all RAYNET members do is to sit around waiting for something to happen, you would be very wrong! To ensure that our approach to an incident is professional and that the members have a good idea what is expected of them, the organisation is involved with may hundreds of events which, as well as providing help for the User Services (most often St. John Ambulance and Red Cross), provide a valuable training ground for our members.
During the summer months, many groups are out on events nearly every weekend. During the winter, there are regular training evenings to introduce, discuss and learn new skills.
One of the rewards members of the organisation get is a strong sense of providing worthwhile service to the community in return for the privilege of the transmitting licence, as RAYNET is the only really public face of Amateur radio.
The North Gwynedd and Anglesey RAYNET group can offer:
- Additional flexible communication links to complement established systems.
- Members who come from a variety of backgrounds and can bring with them a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise
- Established local contacts
- A national 24hr emergency contact telephone number (0303 040 1080)
Although RAYNET can provide event organisers with communication links, its primary aim is in assisting with the safety provisions for the event and, to this end, must be formally asked by either one of the statutory services or St. John Ambulance Brigade (St. Andrew Ambulance Association in Scotland) or the British Red Cross Society. If one of these organisations is not in attendance, RAYNET will probably not be able to assist as the operation would be outside the terms of the Amateur Radio transmitting licence.
RAYNET is a registered charity and does not charge for its services, however as with any charitable organisation, it needs funds to support its’ members. Most pre-planned events provide a donation to the group(s) which have assisted. It should be remembered that RAYNET is often amongst the first people to attend and is usually there well past the natural end of the event.
RAYNET is a communication service. It should not be regarded as extra marshalling help etc. The RAYNET insurance does not cover members for carrying out tasks other than those related to setting up and operating communication networks.
Visit the Raynet Website by clicking HERE