With the Meteorological Institute of Cuba forecasting that Hurricane Matthew will affect eastern Cuba on Monday and Tuesday, all Amateur Radio emergency operators in the affected Cuban provinces are ready to activate. The category 4 storm, forecasters describe as “dangerous,” already is affecting Haiti and Jamaica, and hurricane warnings have been issued for the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.
The Cuban National Emergency Net operates on 7.110 and 7.120 MHz as well as on 3.720 and 3.740 MHz. In addition, hams in the eastern provinces — with prefixes CO7, CM7, CL7; CO8, CM8, CL8, and CO9) may use other frequencies, such as 7.045, 7.080 and 7.115 MHz.
Cuban Federacion of Radio Amateurs (FRC) National Emergency Coordinator Carlos Santamaría, CO2JC, has asked stations not involved in the emergency nets to avoid those frequencies. The main emergency station is CO9DCN at the Cuban National Civil Defense Headquarters, in Havana. “We expect to activate the station on Monday, in accordance with Civil Defense guidance,” Santamaría said.
As of 1200 UTC, Hurricane Matthew was some 220 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and 280 miles southwest of Port au Prince, Haiti, with maximum sustained winds of 130 MPH. The storm is moving north at 6 MPH. Hurricane force winds extend 30 miles from the storm’s center, while tropical storm force winds extend 195 miles.
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) remains on a Level 4 alert activation on 14.325 MHz (days) 7.268 MHz (nights), and the net may operate both frequencies at the same time, if propagation dictates. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, has advised that the net will remain in continuous operation until further notice to gather real-time weather data from the affected zones. The HWN will provide backup communication to responding agencies, including emergency operations centers and the Red Cross.
National Hurricane Center (NHC) station WX4NHC has activated and will be participating in the HWN operation as well as on 3.815 MHz. The VoIP Hurricane Net, supporting the NHC will activate at 1100Z Monday (0700 EDT) on the WX-Talk Conference, Node #7203 on Echolink and IRLP Reflector 9219. IRLP Reflector 9553 is the backup. This net will also be analyzing social media from the impacted areas and Internet website data from sites such as the Caribbean Hurricane Network.
“Weather and damage reports are vital to refining the forecast and developing situation reports for the National Hurricane Center and other government agencies that can provide support,” said Assistant VoIP Hurricane Net Director of Operators Dennis Dura, K2DCD. “Please use these communications means as necessary to pass information from your county.”
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) will activate to at least a DELTA II (extended monitoring) status immediately after the conclusion of the International SATERN SSB Net on October 3. This will include continuous monitoring of 14.265 MHz while propagation lasts. SATERN operators also will monitor the HWN as well as the Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) on 14.300 MHz while propagation lasts.
Forecasters have not ruled out the possibility that Hurricane Matthew could affect US Eastern Seaboard states.