Archive for the ‘RAYNET’ Category


November 29, 2008

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was a member of RAYNET. I realise that some of you may not of heard of this organisation, and so I would like to give you an insight into who we are and what we do.

Black UK outline - Yellow background - Thumbnail size

RAYNET is a group of radio amateurs in the UK who are provide emergency communication services for certain agencies during an emergency. In the UK, radio amateurs are not permitted to pass third party messages except in an emergency. RAYNET evolved after the devastating east coast floods of 1953. During these floods, radio amateurs broke the terms of their licence and became heavily involved in message passing for the emergency services. Following this, the licence was changed to allow these messages, and RAYNET was formed to co-ordinate radio amateurs’ efforts.

Originally it was called RAEN (Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) until it was pointed out that these letters were actually the call sign of a Russian ship! So the name was change to RAYNET.

So what do we do. Our primary purpose is to supply emergency radio communications to agencies such as the Police, Fire Service, NHS Trusts, Voluntary Aid Societies (Red Cross, St John Ambulance etc) and local councils. However we also assist with training exercises for these organisations. And we also hold our own internal training exercises. We assist with things such as floods, air shows, plane crashes and general communication equipment failures. We also assist with more routine events such as marathons, horse rides and long distance hikes.

We are all volunteers, and do not receive and do not get paid for providing these services. Sometimes the organisations we have been working with make donations to the local RAYNET groups, and this can be used to either reimburse expenses or purchase equipment for use by the members. Generally, all equipment used is provided at the members expense.

So that’s a brief introduction to RAYNET.

Insurance Madness

November 26, 2008

I belong to an organisation called RAYNET. We are radio amateurs who provide emergency communication services to agencies such as the police, fire brigade, councils and other similar emergency services. I group I belong to is South Sussex RAYNET, which is local to where I live.

We have just purchased a vehicle to be used as an Emergency Control Unit (ECU) which will make life easier for us, and also make us more visible to the public. But we have encountered a problem, we need to insure it.

We have been open and honest, and told the insurance companies and brokers exactly what it will be used for and so far have only found two companies prepared to provide a quote.

But one of the responses we received seems to some up how daft the insurance business is. This particular company said they would insure it provided it was never parked near an “at risk” location such as airports, railway stations, offices or petrol stations. Now apart from the fact that these are probably places where it would be needed in the event of an emergency, there are not many places left where we could park it! So it would be a case of the vehicle being insured, but we wouldn’t be able top use it. Hmm, clever that.

Even the company that insured it for the previous owner have refused to insure it. It’s still performing the same function, so there’s no change there; the problem is that it was on a fleet policy, and we want it on a single vehicle policy.

Luckily one company does appear to have given us a reasonable quote. Although when we asked if we could voluntarily increase the excess from £100 to higher figure and so lower the premium, we were told “no”

Madness. Utter madness.