What is RAYNET-UK?
RAYNET-UK is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community 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 communications assistance on many hundreds of events each year.
Amateur Radio operators have access to a wide range of radio frequencies, transmission modes and equipment which allows RAYNET to offer a unique range of emergency communication (“emcomm”) capabilities to User Services. These include the British Red Cross Society, the St. John Ambulance Brigade, the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association, Chief Emergency Planning Officer, or any UK police force, fire or ambulance service, health authority, government department or public utility. Coupled with our members endless resourcefulness, RAYNET is regarded as a professional support organisation by both the statutory and volunteer emergency service organisations.
RAYNET has provided communications at disasters such as Zeebrugge and Lockerbie, as well as at many local emergencies when storms, flooding, telephone equipment failures, search and rescue missions and oil spills have all necessitated additional emergency communications. Overseas work is also undertaken, with RAYNET providing disaster relief communications, usually for the Red Cross.
Who are North Wiltshire RAYNET?
The North Wiltshire RAYNET Group is a member of RAYNET-UK and has been in operation since 1980, covering an area within the county boundaries north of Salisbury Plain. We train on a regular basis to maintain professional standards in radio communication procedures and message handling, usually by providing communications services to charity and community events. The group has considerable expertise and resources at its disposal. In addition to fixed, portable and mobile radio stations, we operate a specialist radio communications control centre vehicle which includes pneumatic masts, flood lighting, solar power and generators to enable prolonged operation in the field under all conditions. We are able to offer our users completely self-supported, independent and reliable communication systems when all else fails. Communication services of virtually unlimited range can provided be in the form of voice, data or GPS tracking.
Our members come from all walks of life and usually have an agreement with their employer that they will be released for duty if required in much the same way as volunteer fire fighters and lifeboat crew members. All members carry photographic identity cards which are issued centrally by RAYNET-UK and are insured for third party claims and personal accidents. As with all emergency situations, it is better to work with known faces, and meetings between the User Services and RAYNET are therefore helpful. RAYNET members are invited to attend disaster exercises either as participants or observers, so that all will know what is expected of them should the need arise for emergency communications arise at short notice. Additional controlled staffing can easily be provided by RAYNET groups calling in members from adjacent groups and regions.
Requesting our Services
It is important for the group to maintain operational experience, so throughout the year RAYNET volunteers give their time and use their own equipment to provide communications support at local fun runs, marathons, car rallies, yacht races and similar events when message passing and technical skills can be tried and tested.
Relying on mobile phones or low-powered ‘walkie-talkies’ for running large events can be unreliable, expensive and sometimes dangerous. North Wiltshire RAYNET can provide your event with expert communications capability. We are a non-profit charity and do not charge for our services, however clients will usually make an appropriate donation to help cover our operating costs. If you are planning a community event such as those listed above and are interested in obtaining the support of North Wiltshire RAYNET, please feel free to get in contact with us.
Volunteering with North Wiltshire RAYNET
We are always keen to hear from people interested in volunteering with us. Please see the Join Us page for more information.
Radio nets are held on the first Monday of each month to keep members up to date with developments within the group on 144.625MHz at 20:15 local time.
The Ofcom issued callsign for the North Wiltshire RAYNET Group is G7NWR. Normal working frequencies are 144.625 Mhz, 433.775 Mhz & 70.400 Mhz.
Our group constitution can be viewed here.
Charity information can be viewed here.