Amateur Radio volunteers from the St. Croix Amateur Radio Club are supporting the Hurricane Irma response at the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), utilizing 60-meter band channel 2 (5.346.5 MHz USB) to coordinate emergency communications. The net is continuously monitored and has scheduled situation reports (SITREPS) at 1200 and 2200 UTC.
The club’s NP2VI is the net control station at the St. Croix Emergency Operations Center (EOC), with the tactical call sign “St. Croix EOC.” Participants in the net calls include the Virgin Islands National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, National Guard Task Forces, and VITEMA EOCs on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Three Puerto Rico Army MARS members are participating in the updates.
FEMA has personnel on two Navy vessels — the USS Kearsarge and USS Iwo Jima. They have been working directly with USVI amateurs via 60-meter interoperability channels.
The impact of Hurricane Irma on the USVI has prompted Amateur Radio operators on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John to spring into action. Ham radio volunteers have been instrumental in passing critical safety-of-life communications in the days immediately following Hurricane Irma, using 2 meters from the VITEMA EOC.
Operators have quickly disseminated important relief information (curfew hours, points of distribution information, weather bulletins, seaport status, shelters, etc.) and served as the relay between EOCs and emergency support functions, and St. John Rescue on St. John and St. Croix using the 2-meter repeater.
Operators also have provided assistance in coordinating private and military rotary wing landing for supplies and medical evacuations at the St. John Medical Center. — Thanks to Garry Green, VITEMA