Dmr | 2019-09-27

Florida SARNET Receives Hytera Donation to Better Prepare for Hurricane Season

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Hytera has donated a second RD982i-S Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) repeater to Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARNET) in Florida ahead of the 2019 hurricane season.

SARNET is a network of linked UHF voice repeaters that serves the State of Florida. The repeaters are operated by their local trustees and the network that connects them together does not interfere with the local use of the repeaters. SARNET facilitates the distribution of critical information and valuable, real-time updates to the community. During any significant crisis, SARNET may be called upon for support through an official state emergency request. During an emergency, radio traffic in an affected area can become very busy and requires careful monitoring to ensure continuous communication for emergency teams. When an official request is made, SARNET operators work with county and state Emergency Operation Centers to assist and manage communications.

The installation of the newly donated Hytera repeater will allow for improved communications between SARNET and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) via hand-held portable radios.

"The amateur community and SARNET is grateful for the support from Hytera in providing this equipment that enabled us to replace failing legacy equipment. Without such support it would have been extremely difficult to provide continued support for the NHC during this hurricane season," said Joe Poersche, an operator at SARNET, call sign "WB4HIS."

During the last Florida hurricane season, Category 5 Hurricane Michael roared ashore on the afternoon of October 10, 2018, devastating several panhandle counties in northwest Florida. By the next morning the Florida SARNET was taking critical calls from Emergency Operation Centers and the Red Cross from the affected areas. Cell phone coverage had been knocked out in most areas as was electricity and the internet. SARNET stayed on the air with amateur radio operators providing communications support for Emergency Management, the Red Cross, a search and rescue task force from Miami, and volunteer organizations needing status reports for the next eleven days. Since that event the SARNET has been expanding to cover additional communities across the state as equipment becomes available.

The donated equipment has already been installed and made ready for use in the event of an emergency.