Global Emergency Communication Network

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Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Mon May 02, 2011 6:32 pm

this is from QRZ.com


New Global Emergency Communications Network launches

For the past year or so, there has been a lot of activity going on behind the scenes to establish an alternative international amateur radio emergency communications network that will serve various communities and authorities during and after disasters.

The team comprises a network of seasoned and experienced operators who have put together a totally new concept in emergency communication!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Global Emergency Communications Network – or GEM for short, which has come into operation.

The group will operate on the normal international emergency frequencies as stipulated during various Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) network conferences and will also be available on the Echolink Conference *KA1AAA* for passing messages!

The Charter which formulates the activities of the group is available on our website for perusal. A new protocol we have introduced is the appointment or acceptance of members. Initially any person who would like to join the network will be accepted as a Supporter.

Once the Supporter has been ‘interviewed’ via e-mail and other means he/she will be evaluated and then possibly accepted as a member. We wish to make it very clear that although we acknowledge your interest in joining GEM there are certain criteria that have to be met.

These include the following: - Your availability at any time to be called up, the equipment available to you for emergency communication, your specific interest in emergency communication, your very specific qualifications as to how we can fit you into the organisation and how often you can log in on a daily basis to cover all eventualities on our various means of presence!

Passing messages is one thing but being able to get the message through – whatever the circumstances, is the critical factor! We would also like to establish what other means are at your disposal!

GEM has no outright head or leader – yet the responsibility of leadership at any given time is shared by either the founding members or any person accepting a call at any time prior to establishing a network from where we will establish a formal network to handle any emergency emerging from that initial call!

It is GEM’s intention to appoint various sub teams and leaders placed strategically around the Globe so we can monitor our various sites on a 24/7 basis. We are also developing a bulk SMS system whereby initiation of an emergency or call to respond, can happen a lot quicker than under normal circumstances!

We tried this after the Japanese March 11 quake/tsunami. After one bulk SMS around the Globe, we had a net going within 15 minutes of the call going out!

If ever professionalism in amateur radio was an underlying statement, GEM endeavours to meet that challenge. GEM is a young organisation but once you have evaluated our operating procedures, you will be sure that you are joining a group that has the best interest of amateur radio and the community at the forefront. We are making use of tried and trusted means of communication which is available to serve the international community.

GEM will coordinate and work with any similar organisations around the globe that have the same enthusiasm for emergency communications at heart.

Please visit us at http://www.gem-int.org for more information.

Francois Botha – ZS6BUU

i think it is a good idea
i have registered but no PC fundi yet to do all setups etc
waiting on more information then i will add it to the list

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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Wed May 04, 2011 2:03 pm

ok there are a few software packages that can be downloaded for free on above mentioned link

one is a chat forum where information can be send, questions be asked, etc in case of an emergency

the second one is VOIP telephone that can operate on a pc as well as android or iphone4
this you can use to make actual phone calls to emergency centre operated by Hams

echolink is the link to connect to a radio network as this sytem is for Hams only which make it more controlled for not letting non users use it

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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Mon May 16, 2011 2:14 pm

how ready are we as Hams when disaster struck

this weekend a slight tremor was felt in the southern cape - epicenter between leeugamka and knysna

the authorities - local - are not geared at all - we might say it used to be - but yes unpreparedness is no excuse

we as namibian Hams are spread over a wide distance
we might say yes it will not happen at our qth but what if it happens at somebody elses qth

how are we prepared for any situation

what are our expertise
how can we get involved or help

just some frequencys that are important

80m 3760
40m 7110
20m 14.300
15m 21.350

these are the region 1 international hf emergency frequencies

so the easiest is to make sure that your radio does tune to these freq's and that the antenna or extra antenna does operate on these frequencies

at least it is a start in the right direction

echolink is another way of getting to the outside world if the internet is available
vhf and uhf is another way for local communication links - so yes if you have a vhf or uhf handy make sure it is in working condition as batteries only have a life span until the day you need it and the guarantee is always one day over the expiry date

what type of format will we use for disaster communication - of course it will be low traffic reports or you might be the main control point where all goes via radio - hf

for email there is of course Airmail or Winlink 2000
but we must remember these days emails have a lot of nonsense data that go with it that eats up unnecessary airtime on the radios

satelites are available but availability is only for about 10 to 20 minutes or even less. it need practice as well

how are we as hams involved with our local authority or fire department or disaster management of the area we stay

so yes as Hams we have all in place but if all is in place do we have the people that can do it or that is available to do it

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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Thu May 19, 2011 5:40 pm

After many discussions and looking at various software solutions I have come across the following

here is a write up by the authors of the system we promote
anything else or extra information - maybe newer technology will be appreciated

de V51PJ
following extracted from the SARL forum

"NBEMS ( Narrow-Band Emergency Message System ) is perhaps the best solution available for moving eMail and other text-based information over amateur radio frequencies, to handle emergency communications. Here I will outline the reasons that I have come to this conclusion after reviewing the available amateur radio messaging systems.

Mission Parameters:

Our mission is simple. - To provide an alternate means of moving messages into and out of a disaster area where regular internet access has become compromised, is limited or nonexistent. For this purpose, it is seldom necessary to transport messages or eMail via amateur radio any farther than 100 miles or so, or to move any great volume of data. It is important however that the messages get through with 100% accuracy, and in a timely manner. In most cases, this service will be needed for anywhere from a few hours up to several days.

Considerations for Amateur Radio Operators:

For amateur radio operators, the best method is to utilize the radios, software and equipment that we use every day for ham radio, and so are already familiar and comfortable with. The system should be inexpensive and easy to use so that all amateurs may participate, and are not faced with a steep learning curve in order to be ready to act in an emergency. Extensive training and drilling should not be required in order for hams to function well when needed. There also should be some flexibility to handle different needs of unexpected situations that may be encountered. The system should work independently of existing infrastructure, and require no costly and complicated infrastructure of its own.


I have reviewed the amateur radio eMail and messaging systems in current use, and have found that NBEMS best covers the mission parameters and the considerations for amateur radio operators outlined above.

NBEMS was developed as a collaborative effort between Dave Freese W1HKJ and Skip Teller KH6TY, the developer of the popular DIGIPAN PSK31 software. It consists of a suite of programs that send text, images and eMail files error-free. The two main programs, FLDIGI and FLARQ are designed to run under Linux, Free-BSD, Windows XP, Win2000, Vista and Windows7.

The NBEMS system is designed to operate on all amateur bands, but is optimized for short to medium range communications such as SSB VHF, or HF with an NVIS antenna can provide. It can however be utilized on VHF FM, and even operated through a FM voice repeater at need.

Digital modes currently recommended for HF NBEMS operations are: DominoEx11, DominoEx22, MFSK-16, MFSK32, BPSK-125 and BPSK-250. For VHF use on simplex or through a repeater, MT63 2k is recommended and can be used to good effect without a soundcard interface. The free FLDIGI multimode soundcard software offers many digital modes, but these are the modes associated with NBEMS. Amateurs who use FLDIGI for everyday QSOs in PSK31, Hell, Olivia, MT63 etc. will be familiar with the software when occasion calls for the NBEMS system to be called up.

The second major part of NBEMS is the FLARQ software, which provides the interface to your eMail program, and which also provides the ARQ feature for NBEMS which gives you 100% accurate transmissions of the messages and images you transmit. In addition to email, you can send comma delimited spread sheets/data bases, text, and many ICS form-based messages.

The FLWRAP add-on program allows you to transmit a bulletin to an unlimited number of stations simultaneously. Each recipient can confirm individually whether they have received the data with 100% accuracy, as FLWRAP generates a checksum for each message.

The FLMSG program makes authoring, sending and receiving text, ICS-205, ICS-206, ICS-213, ICS-214, and ICS-216 forms in addition to ARRL Radiograms a simple point and click proposition.

NBEMS Features:

Inexpensive ( free soundcard software )
Simple to use, reducing training requirements
Effective, perfectly tailored to the EMS mission
Narrowband modes conserve spectrum
A live operator on each end, eliminating interference potential
Flexible enough for use with most equipment under most conditions
The software is great for everyday use, again reducing training requirements
Specialized add-on software for net control, rig control, callbook data, logging etc. are available

To learn more about NBEMS and to download the software:

Basic information and software download:


NBEMS info and a downloadable PowerPoint presentation:


ARRL articles about NBEMS:

http://www.wpaares.org/ecom.html br /

Informative Weblog article about NBEMS:


More information:

Having realized the shortcomings of current emergency messaging systems, including those that utilize voice, CW, or email robots, a ham operator, Skip Teller, KH6TY, saw the need for fast, reliable, emergency message transfer that would not be subject to any errors in translation from the spoken word to the written word, or from Morse Code to the written word, or wind up in an email inbox that nobody notices until it may be too late. The primary critera that needed to be satified is that any message that was sent must be without any errors. If a single number within a phone number to be called is in error, the entire message is undeliverable. So, more than anything else, the delivered message must be an exact duplicate of the original. To accomplish this, a verification approach, called “ARQ” for Automatic ReQest, must be utilized, and the system needed to be staffed with live amateur operators, who can verify message delivery to the intended recipient, and not depend upon any email “robots” which cannot obtain such verification in a timely manner. In addition, the system had to be capable of using very little of the radio spectrum so that there was more space left for other emergency communications activities, along with other ham radio hobby activities. The “Narrow Band” part of NBEMS refers to the NBEMS spectrum-conservative approach.

KH6TY then contacted a radio amateur friend in the Netherlands who had developed a spectrum-conservative email message system and they worked together to try an adapt that system, but in the end, it wound up being too complicated for the average radio amateur operator to operate. It was at this point that Dave, W1HKJ, a greatly experienced computer programmer as well as a radio amateur, offered to work with KH6TY and create a program that would send and receive messages without any errors. KH6TY and W1HKJ then worked together full time for the next year to bring NBEMS to fruition.

We all know what happens when there is a widescale disaster like Katrina. Phones don’t work, cell phones don’t work, the Internet is not accessible, and electric power may be out also.

We huddle together in a shelter, wondering how to tell our friends and family that we are OK, but with no traditional communications available, what are we going to do?

Well, in such situations, individual radio amateurs provide a way to connect to the outside world to request medical help or let friends and family know you are OK.

Radio amateurs often have radios in their cars or homes that can run off batteries, or the car electrical system, and are portable or mobile enough to come to that shelter and send messages to the outside world – even up to 100 miles away.

A new system to do that has recently been developed that utilizes no centralized communications points, but lets every available radio amateur send emergency messages from a disaster area, or receive them outside the disaster area, and deliver them by phone, cell phone, SMS, or Internet email.

That system is called NBEMS, for NarrowBand Emergency Messaging System, and is a set of software programs that allows the ham operator to take your message and send it, perfectly error-free, to another station outside the disaster area.

****************** How it Works ***********************

The radio amateur operator will have with him, a personal computer, NBEMS software, a communications radio, and an antenna. He can operate from his car if necessary, or inside a shelter, using battery power or electricity from a generator. Persons needing to send messages to friends and family, or request medical attention, or perhaps request supplies such as water or food for the shelter occupants give the message to the radio amateur, who then types it into his computer. When a quantity of such messages have been received, the radio amateur will broadcast a “CQ Emergency NBEMS”, which is a general call for anyone hearing him that has the NBEMS software to contact his station. The two then link together and the messages are transferred to the computer of the radio amateur that is outside the disaster area and has Internet, telephone, cell phone or text-messaging capability.

The radio amateur outside then forwards the messages on the Internet, if they are emails, or delivers the messages by telephone, cell-phone or text-messaging, confirming that the message is given to the intended recipient. If the message is delivered by email, he advises the recipient by telephone, cell phone, or text-messaging that an email is waiting. When the confirmation is by text messaging, he requests a short confirmation by return text-messaging that the message was received.

****************** Why it was Developed ***********************

The system was developed to solve a several problems:

1. Current emergency messaging systems require that outgoing messages be delivered to one of a few radio amateurs located at some central point in a disaster area.

Solution: NBEMS utilizes any NBEMS-equipped radio amateur, who might happen to be on the spot or available, to transmit messages to the outside of the disaster zone.

2. Current emergency messaging systems have only a few, unattended, email robots (similar to telephone answering machines) that can receive messages, and can be easily overloaded in a real emergency with radio amateur operators trying to contact them andthen having to wait in line to send messages.

Solution: NBEMS is able to use as many radio amateurs as are available at the time to forward messages by Internet, phone, cell phone, or text-messaging. There is no need to wait in line to send a message. The “NarrowBand” aspect and non-reliance on a handful of email robots makes this possible.

3. Because current emergency messaging systems utilize email robots to forward messages, emails can lie unnoticed for minutes, or hours, before the recipient checks his inbox.

Solution: NBEMS uses no email robots, but live radio amateur operators who can personally contact the recipient and be sure he gets the message. He can also immediately accept any return message for sending back to the station in the disaster zone the next time he contacts that station. NBEMS messaging is two-way.

*************************** Usage*************************************

The NBEMS is currently undergoing rigorous testing to be sure it is easy to operate and reliable in order to be ready for use in the coming 2008 hurricane system. Various radio amateur emergency communications groups are already evaluating the system for organized emergency communications needs, such as connecting Emergency Operation Centers with units in the field, or providing backup communications with hospitals in the event that normal communications are disrupted.

The NBEMS system is free for radio amateur use and is available on the Web for every radio amateur to download and use. The system is also usable for daily casual communications by radio, providing a continuing test of the readiness of the system for actual emergency use.

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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby V51Q » Thu May 19, 2011 8:51 pm


Shoo... a lot to read. But as I said, there is still a lot to do.
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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby zs2cx » Sat May 21, 2011 4:14 pm

Shoo.. a lot to read, ;)

The issue of any global comms system have always been the need to be able to move the station in a short period of time,
or as simple as :the powergrid is out or are out over a wider area, what now?
100% comms will be a difficult task, looking to satelites might help to get the message out with low power simple sat setup.
i feel that the more operators such a global comm system have is a definite + especially in a remote area.
The need arrives for 2 or more operators to understand there specific centre, if the boss is gone u might end up with Eishkom!
Now lately all has moved too cellphone computerized stuuf, did u notice in the latest disasters how easily that networks failed, (ok ...they did get the message out)
The correctness of the mesage are important, but more so a alert to evacuate than a rather large explanatory file.

I am following this thread with eyes open.
My station consists of all bands QRO with mains power off or on,
that beieng said; beieng able to hear is more important that having qro at your disposal, it only remedies the fact that u will be heard!
i incorporate a pc to rig setup making voice over ip easy to hf,vhf patching with clear understandible not to sharp off freq audio!
i also use mumble and teamspeak at times as it uses less bandwith( meant for gaming but a excellent voip)

I would like to see more regional emergency comms stations around RSA and neigboring countries, and tested on a weekly basis.
Lists of NSRI and police stations hospitals, firestations etc, for around our africa continent.
It is frustrating to try and get hold of a reaction team in namib with a caller from RSA in need of assistance, in the bundus(simple example)
The need to train radio operators as we have been trained in the 1970, 80 years arrives yet again, simple propper radio skill with radio silence and speak when spoken too as a number ONE.

With all the neew tecnology we have, we need to create it in a small package, (one fits all)
Exras should be considered with a view of a hinderence, yet for some operators might be a plus as they actualyy would know how it works.
In my experience i have found thet remote areas have been better trained and equipt than cities.

( NB:when a large bang goes off in the 2am early mornings, did u notice not even a single soles light will go on to investigate?)
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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Sun May 22, 2011 8:46 am

"( NB:when a large bang goes off in the 2am early mornings, did u notice not even a single soles light will go on to investigate?)"

yep can only think why -
dont want to get involved hi!!

yes Johan you are correct in saying that we need to be prepared and do testing at various times

Hamnet is in RSA but as you pointed - telephone numbers etc in case of an emergency - cant blame anybody but yes we need to be able to get the proper information somewhere on the net or book or whatever - comms to zs6 and zs1 is not always favourable to get to a monitoring station
let us take a boat that sinks
who must i contact as theh authorities must be made aware

an accident next to a road - yes call the cellphone emergency number - but even they can put you to the wrong number or town or city - different countries has different numbers for emergency
asked one day for kuilsriver fire station and got through to touwsriver
possible solution
what i like about this software package - yes i think it can be adapted to some other standard if needed - different forms etc - is that it uses any digital mode - all the digi modes we use every day - all it has extra is that it utilize this digital mode to be able to send a file or predefined message while comms via keyboard to keyboard is still available

now imagine you sit at your qth and you get a call for help from somewhere via voice - if the predefined form is available you can ask certain questions and forward it via email or via radio if email is not available to somewhere where it is available and the right info is there in place
no third or fourth party adding to the story or leaving important information out
if regular practice is done we can learn to ask the right questions or start thinking in a logic way and not in a panic way

in the richtersveld we have regular standbys on 80m and 40m when a vehicle need to be rescued that broken down
first we must tell the forum that people must listen out for the response vehicles, etc etc
unnecessary time is wasted
we are going to install a 2m repeater for local comms that will add an extra line of communication but if there is no way to get this information to the authorities as well it is a disaster waiting to happen

yes we must get organized and ready and it is also fun doing it and learning in the process
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Re: Global Emergency Communication Network

Postby v51pj » Sat May 28, 2011 8:14 am

from the ISS Comander

"It was last July 31, only hours after a pre-arranged contact with K2BSA at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in Virginia that things got challenging.

"I had just shut down the tread mill and about 10 minutes later the alarms went off," Wheelock recalls. "I looked and I kept silencing the alarms, silencing the alarm. I picked up the mic and said 'Houston are you there?'

"And, they weren't answering and so then I looked and all my crewmates were there and they said: 'What did you do?' I said: 'I just turned off the tread mill, I promise you.'

"Anyway, we had a pump module that failed, we ended up having to go outside and do three space walks."

And, Wheelock says, it was great to know there were people - other than his crewmates and NASA engineers - who he could talk to and decompress as they battled to fix the problem...

"As we came back in from those spacewalks. I got on the ham radio and we talked about it and everything," Wheelock says. "Using that radio and having you guys as an emergency contact for us around the globe was a warm, warm feeling for me as a commander aboard that space station."

And, Wheelock says, he looked at ham radio aboard the ISS as a critical back-up, should all else fail..."

and something more to earth


Ham radio operators are a part of severe weather spotting as well as being involved in relief efforts as tornadoes continue to ravage the South. We have the latest in this report:


Actually, four days after the severe weather struck, very little is known about the role being played by radio amateurs in the South, especially in and around Joplin, Missouri. That’s because they are far too busy saving lives and reporting damage to stop to make reports to the press.

We do know come from published news reports that quote Ron Kittleman, K0ADI. He says that hams have been stationed at the Springfield Missouri office of the National Weather Service. Also, that amateurs from ARES have been providing communication between hospitals and assessment teams following the tornado that hit Joplin at approximately 6 pm local time on Sunday, May 22nd."

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