Hurricane Keith

Major Patrick McPherson activated the SATERN net at 0030Z on October 2, 2000 on 14265 KHz.  Purpose is to handle Health and Welfare traffic to and from Belize and the surrounding area.  The Hurricane Watch Net requested that the SATERN net be activated and they would refer Health and Welfare traffic to 14265 KHz.

SATERN Net Control stations were contacted by phone and stations started appearing on
14265 KHz.  Charlie K4VUD in Orlando, Florida came on with a strong signal and good coverage.  He was designated as Net Control and proceeded to run a very efficient net in an emergency mode.  Only check-ins with traffic to or from the affected area were accepted.

Contact was made with two stations in Belize.  V31EM in Cay Caulker and Rubin V31OJ outside the city of Belize.  V31OJ had a telephone at another location with Internet e-mail access.  His e-mail address was given for later use.

Initial reports from Cay Caulker and Ambergris Cay told of lots of damage with 1 to 4 feet of water over the islands.

At 0145 XE1/VE3MXO checked in from Guadalajara, Mexico.  He reported that he had been in telephone contact with his daughter in Belize.  She reported that power was out in most of the city but the telephone lines were still operational.  At that time the storm appeared to be decreasing in intensity in the Belize area.

Health and Welfare traffic was directed to an Internet address "" which provides a fill-in format for a message.  When complete the message in automatically sent to WA4BZY for handling.   By Tuesday evening (October 3, 2000)  major McPherson reported that 120 Health and Welfare messages had been handled.  This included two messages originated in Belize, one to Norway and the other to Germany.  These were forwarded to June G4DGX,  SATERN UK/Europe Coordinator in London, via ICQ.  She in turn called the addressees on the telephone and delivered the messages.  Both recipients very very happy to learn that their friends were OK.  Delivery of the messages was reported back to Belize promptly.

At 1545Z on October 3, 2000 Net Control Jerry N5OKQ received 8 Health and Welfare messages from V31MX on Cay Caulker  who said he had only 45 minutes of battery power remaining with no means to recharge the battery.  Messages either had e-mail addresses or telephone numbers.  Jerry promptly delivered those messages as soon as he was relieved at 1600Z.

From ARRL Amateur Radio News - October 3, 2000

SATERN--the Salvation Army Team Emergency Net--on 14.265 MHz has been running an
emergency and emergency health and welfare net since Sunday. Reports handled by SATERN indicated severe to heavy damage on Ambergris Cay, and that Cay Caulker was in desperate need of food. In addition, SATERN reported that the Sittee River was expected to flood due to the heavy rains Keith has generated.

"The SATERN operation has been assisted greatly by amateurs operating on battery power from the affected area and a host of other amateurs and amateur organizations in support of it," said a dispatch from SATERN Director Pat McPherson, WW9E. "It is a privilege to view the resilient and ready assistance from the world's radio operators and the volunteers of our network who respond to the call when needed."

SATERN also was handling health and welfare traffic via the Web. The information received was being automatically forwarded to a SATERN team headed by Quent Nelson, WA4BZY, in Georgia, for processing via the Internet and via HF Amateur Radio contact with the affected area.

A bulletin board handling health and welfare inquiries on Ambergris Cay and San Pedro is available.  Click on the "Hurricane Information" link. Dozens of anxious relatives and friends had posted inquiries as of Monday afternoon, including those seeking information on members of a Fox television crew filming in Belize.

Ripoll said the Hurricane Watch Net was a primary source of storm information in Mexico. He said an AM broadcast station in the Yucatan Peninsula was airing information gathered via Net participant Edelio, XE3AFC.

The Hurricane Watch Net collects real-time storm reports via Amateur Radio for the National Hurricane Center. Operators at the center gather the reports via W4EHW at the Center.