RAYNET-UK is a national body of Radio Amateurs who are pledged to provide communications in times of emergency.
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 hundreds of events each year.
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.