Please find below an update from the Northants Raynet, including information on how Raynet are supporting the COVID-19 effort and notes for users of GB3NP/NH
Northants RAYNET COVID-19 Update April 2020 Version 1.4
Welcome to the 1st update from Northants RAYNET to our fellow amateur radio enthusiasts on what the team have been doing to support the Covid-19 crisis and how you can help.
The team were deployed in the middle of March 2020 with a tasking to provide a county-wide back up radio network for use by the professional volunteer teams (NSAR, NEAT, 4×4 Response etc.) with the ability to extend this to the Emergency services as required. This was fully operational by the 23rd March 2020.
Some of you know M7LTM Lilley, who from 2nd April has been working full time as an unpaid volunteer in the Operations Cell, with the first duty of the day being radio checks to ensure the infrastructure is fully operational. As of today, she is now rostered to run the Operations Cell ensuring the Emergency cases that are received by the Cell are dealt with within the 5 hour deadline they have been set. The team are very proud of her achievements and ability to learn and adapt in such a short space of time.
Our engineering team have also been busy and after a very kind donation by Bedford Battery we have been able to install battery backup systems on the repeater sites to ensure there is power resilience. In addition, upgrades have been made to local repeater infrastructure including a full antenna and coax replacement at one site.
How can you help?
The team are using both GB3NP and GB3NH repeaters as our engineering net, if you hear the team utilising these repeaters please do not interrupt them.
You may ask why we are doing this? RAYNET UK have access to very few frequencies and due to the extensive coverage the teams repeater sites offer, if we were to use these, we would interfere with other neighbouring county RAYNET teams who do not have access to such a great amateur repeater infrastructure that we all enjoy.
You may be surprised that when carrying out checks in the early stages of the deployment at a repeater site to learn that one of the repeaters in use dates back to the 1970’s and wasn’t new to the team then. Another issue is like many others we had not foreseen being deployed for an extended period and more pressing as technology moves on, many of our user services are wanting us to provide more channels and especially encryption due to the nature of information being passed.
As you can appreciate all this costs money. Typically we raise funds to invest in repeaters and equipment by supporting local events. However as all events have been cancelled and our expenditure on new kit to fulfil our tasking is rising, our coffers are sadly running low. We really need your help.
We are working hard to demonstrate the power of the Amateur Radio community in times of emergency. If you are able to help with even a small donation to support our efforts it is hugely appreciated. We have set up a go fund me page where you can securely and safely donate.
Likewise, if you have spare kit that you feel would we could utilise and would like to donate please do not hesitate to use the following contact form on the website:
Lastly and most importantly, please heed the Governments advice on the Covid-19 crisis. The threat is real and we all want all of you to stay safe.
Thank You, Northants RAYNET