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Losing normal communications over a wide area is unlikely in these days of high technology.  Due to various causes, it can still happen.  When telephones, mobile phones, the internet and radio systems used by the emergency services all cease to function or become overloaded, coordinating disaster relief becomes a problem.

Some of these video clips show how emergency radio organisations have been able to assist the essential services and the community.  Some show that amateur radio stations provide backup communications for NASA space missions.

When a video clip is playing, if you hover your mouse pointer over the video, the icon at the bottom right will switch the video clip to full screen mode.

Emergency Radio by Walter Cronkite

6 minutes 39 seconds

Walter Cronkite was a very famous American TV broadcaster for CBS Evening News.  He died in 2009.  Here, he explains about his amateur radio hobby and how organised groups of emergency communicators can assist at a major incident.

Hurricane Katrina TV Interview

5 minutes 50 seconds

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in the USA, most normal communications were wiped out.

Hurricane Katrina

4 minutes 35 seconds

This starts with scenes before the hurricane struck, then shows an amateur radio station assisting at the disaster.

East Suffolk RAYNET Group - Heritage Coast Walk

3 minutes 52 seconds

Showing a not too serious side to making a video clip, East Suffolk RAYNET provide safety communications at the 2012 Heritage Coast Walk and Half Marathon.  For some RAYNET tasks, they use APRS - Amateur Position Reporting System.  See here for more about APRS.  They use two aspects of APRS.  Firstly as tracker transmitters, so Control sees the location of vehicles on a laptop PC map display.  Secondly as a digital short typed message system.  As runners and walkers reach a check point, their serial numbers and times of arrival are typed into a laptop PC.  The short message appears "instantly" at Control, which transmits an automatic confirmation of receipt a second later

East Yorkshire RAYNET Group - Hull - Run for All

10 minutes 0 seconds

The 2010 Jane Tomlinson 10 km Run for All in Hull had about 3,500 runners.  This video clip is mainly of the runners.  East Yorkshire RAYNET Group provided safety communications.

Staffordshire RAYNET Group - Exercise Mercury VI

0 minutes 56 seconds

This brief video clip is of a 2012 communications exercise involving UK Category 1 Responders - Local Authorities, Police, Fire, Ambulance, National Health Service and Coronary Care Unit.

Exercise Watermark 2010 - Hawley Lake, Hampshire

1 minute 44 seconds

RAYNET groups all over the UK took part in Exercise Watermark, a flooding response exercise.  It was probably the largest exercise which had ever taken place in the UK.  This brief video clip gives a general description.

Exercise Watermark 2010 - Bala, Wales

1 minute 17 seconds

This shows a flood rescue exercise at Bala in North Wales.

Exercise Geo Challenge

2 minutes 23 seconds

This 2011 exercise involved the 4x4 Club and RAYNET driving off-road in Northamptonshire.

International Space Station

20 minutes 28 seconds

The ISS has the amateur radio callsign NA1SS.  It uses amateur radio VHF and UHF bands as well as normal NASA radio channels.  This video clip has a brief tour of the space station and then shows astronaut Doug Wheelock operating the ISS amateur radio station.  The ISS has quite a large radio range as it is about 415 km (260 miles) above earth with no hills or buildings to block the radio signals coming from the ground.

Amateur Radio Backup for NASA Communications

6 minutes 39 seconds

This video clip shows an Australian radio amateur who provides a backup to normal NASA communications and who also telephones relatives of astronauts to provide updated news of their space mission.

USA 911 Lines Overloaded - Who Can Assist?

4 minutes 0 seconds

This video clip starts by asking teenagers for their ideas of what to do if they can't contact the USA emergency services by dialling 911.  It then explains how an emergency radio group assisted in real life in that situation.

What is Amateur Radio?

14 minutes 21 seconds

A promotional video by the Radio Society of Great Britain.  Part of it shows school children speaking to the International Space Station.

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Page updated on 11 September 2018

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