SATERN International Amateur Radio Network Activated For Hurricane Willa

October 25, 2018
William Feist | bill.feist@uss.salvationarmy.org | (601) 421-1496

NHQ, Alexandria, VA (10/23/2018) – The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) activated its International SATERN SSB (Voice) and Digital Nets for Hurricane Willa all day on Tuesday, 23 October and briefly on Thursday, 24 October.

During their activation the International SATERN Nets had 174 check-ins from 108 individual amateur radio stations located in 35 different states. 

The primary missions of the SATERN Network were:

  • Receipt and delivery of Emergency, Priority or Health & Welfare messages outbound from the impacted areas of west-central Mexico for delivery to people outside of the impacted area in the United States.
  • Support of The Salvation Army if needed or requested.
  • Support of our partners, including emergency communications partners, if needed or requested.

Because Hurricane Willa was forecast to make landfall on the west-central Pacific coast of Mexico as a major category 4 hurricane, the Net was activated per SATERN’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Hurricanes.  The SATERN Hurricane Activation Protocol calls for activation whenever a major (category 3 4 or 5) hurricane is about to make landfall within SATERN’s coverage area. 

Willa brought hurricane force winds of 130 mph with higher gusts to west-central Mexico along with strong storm surge, heavy surf and torrential rain that was likely to cause life-threatening floods and landslides. 

Hurricane Willa rapidly diminished in intensity as it moved inland.  It was a Tropical Depression by the time it reached the Mexican border with southwestern Texas.  Areas in southern Texas and the southern parts of the states along the Gulf of Mexico all the way into southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle have been impacted by various amounts of rain in areas already impacted by heavy rain, flooding, severe weather and Hurricane Michael over the last several weeks.

The national amateur radio organization for Mexico, Federación Mexicana de Radioexperimentadores or FMRE was also on the air.  It put out a request for other amateur radio operators to keep their emergency frequencies of 7.060, 7.130, and 14.120 MHz clear for emergency communications.

National SATERN Liaison Bill Feist (WB8BZH) expressed his gratitude to all of the SATERN operators who participated in this activation.  He especially appreciated the hard work and dedication of International SATERN SSB Net Manager Ken Gilliland (AG6SV), International SATERN Digital Net Manager Ken Standard (AD5XJ) for organizing their Nets’ responses and to Phil Fleming (N9HWO) who made frequent announcements for the SSB Net in both English and Spanish.

SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) is an international group of Salvation Army Emergency Disaster (EDS) volunteers who are licensed amateur radio operators that support The Salvation Army EDS ministry with auxiliary and emergency communications.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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