On 1st May 2008, Northern Johor MARTS organised an RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) Emergency Communication Drill attended by hams from Segamat, Muar, Melaka, representatives from NESRAC and JASRA.
Hams were given an exposure on how important it is for hams to know how to set up a portable station. Elmers, 9M2WT, 9M2DA, 9M2FX and 9M2KMA were at hand to give hams some pointers. Hams present were given a basic description emergency communication protocol... dos and don'ts
Teams of hams were then sent to various parts of Bukit Kepong and from their locations, they sent messages back to base and to each other. By the end of the day, some teams were asking for more. So more will come in future.
18 days later... May 19th, 2008..12:00 hrs...our RACES practise were put to use.... Northern Johor MARTS received a call from Moi Adventure (Moi Adventure is a Gunung Ledang mountain guide/trekker group). Moi Adventure and Northern Johor have been planning an SAR Emergency Communication Exercise on the mountains for hams. 40 trekkers have shown interests to be hams. This call told us that 6 hikers were lost since May 18th.
Within 2 hours, we were at Sagil police station which was made the operation office. As we arrived... the police offficer in-charge requested our help to provide communication for the rescuers. Immediately we set up a communication centre at the Sagil police station with 9M2DA acting as Emergency Coordinator (EC) and activated our RACES protocol with fellow hams from Segamat, Muar and Melaka rushing in with their equipments and 4-wheel jalopies. Rescuers involved in the SAR were Bomba, JPA3 and Moi Adventure trekkers.
By 16:00 hrs rescue teams accompanied by hams moved up to scan the mountains. We set up 3 more portable stations forming a parameter to monitor the rescuers. Hams stayed up as long as there were still rescuers in the mountains and the rescuers were up in the mountains until dawn!
At 04:00 hrs, May 20th, a ham with one of the rescue team manage to spot a fire on one of the peaks. They contacted the climbers and confirmed it was their signal. Finally, the climbers were found at 9:20 hrs.
Many were impressed with our communication methods. Climbers' parents who monitored the rescue at our station were thankful so were the rescuers.
Moi Adventure and Northern Johor MARTS will still continue with our plans to hold an SAR Emergency Communication Exercise. It would probably take 2 days but it will is nothing compared to real live situations.
Sorry, we were too busy with the communications.... we forgot to bring along our cameras...
CK Choy, 9W2PCK
Northern Johor District Manager, MARTS
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