Sunday, April 29, 2018

Calling the MAYDAYl

It's the OFFICIAL emergency call ... "MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY this is YOURCALL YOURCALL YOURCALL OVER" or on CW "SOS SOS SOS de yourcall yourcall yourcall K"

That's not taught much anymore but it should be.  Another blog discussed it.

First, receiving the call is easy (and difficult).  Acknowledge the caller and inquire of the nature of the emergency.  If it's a local emergency, call 911 on the phone.  One should also know the local number for emergency services apart from 911.  Can you reach your fire department, police department, emergency medical services, public works without calling 911?  It's important you do so.

The hard part of the receiving part is in listening.  A recent Amateur Radio Newsline Report noted an amateur radio operator answering the MAYDAY but the report also noted caller had to  call on a half-dozen repeaters before he got an answer.

If folk insist on putting up devices, one would expect them to also insist on monitoring them.

Next, stay on channel.  Assure the caller that help is on the way.  Be prepared to offer first aid tips and other information, ex. weather conditions that may change the way the emergency will play out.

If you are on High Frequency and have requested Federal Assistance, ex. Coast Guard, Military, FEMA, give them the frequency of the emergency.  Coast Guard and other Department of Defense resources have frequency-agile radios capable of tuning to ham radio frequencies.  Once they are on your net, listen in case they lose contact with the station.

If you are not going to monitor 24x7, use the Wilderness protocal.  Listen at the top and bottom of the hour for five minutes.  Proposed by K0NR, the protocol is simple and takes the guesswork out of 24x7 monitoring.

At night, it would be easy to sleep with a radio tuned to 146.52 for that important MAYDAY call.

Finally, you have done the MAYDAY.  Folks are rescued.  The fire is out.  The medics have started the line.  Call your section manager to let him know the story for QST and other ham radio media.  Help others learn.  

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