The Radio Amateur's Emergency Network, RAYNET, was established in 1953 to provide communications for the emergency services in times of disaster. This role has expanded over the years to providing communications for many public events such as marathons and charity walks.The terms of the Amateur Radio Licence permit radio amateurs to handle "third party" messages for User Services during emergencies and at public events.
What can RAYNET do?
RAYNET is there to pass messages by radio. We cannot, for example, act as marshalls at a checkpoint. We can provide radio operators at fixed positions, such as checkpoints or a rest centre, in vehicles, typically ambulances and pick-up minibuses, or on foot, say with the sweep team for a walk or as a shadow for a particular person.
If you wish to use RAYNET for an event or exercise and you are not a User Service, then you will need to be working with such a Service thus allowing us to work for them.
Why, in this Hi-Tech age?
Most User Services have their own communications networks that are more than adequate for most occasions. However, telephones and the electricity system do fail; neither are available in remote areas.
RAYNET can work over difficult terrain and without a mains supply.
We can provide communications beyond the normal range of CB or licence-free radios.
Our operators are trained to prioritise messages and follow message handling procedures to avoid chaos.
We are able to set up an independent communications network in an unfamiliar area in a matter of hours.
Equally, we can provide a pre-planned temporary network to suit a one-off event.
What does it cost?
RAYNET is a voluntary organisation. Groups do not charge for their time or the use of their equipment. However, User Services and many event organisers are pleased to make donations for the service they receive.
What is a User Service?
RAYNET can only operate on behalf of a User Service and not directly for an event organiser. These Services are defined in the Amateur Radio Licence Terms and Conditions issued by Ofcom.
"User Service" means:
The British Red Cross Society
The St John Ambulance
The St Andrew's Ambulance Association
The Royal Voluntary Service
The Salvation Army
Any government department
Any Category 1 or 2 Responder as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.