Air Ambulance Week 2018 Review

In support of the annual International Air Ambulance Week 2018, the Essex Ham team spent three days operating from the Earls Colne Airfield, the home of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.

The team operated using the callsign GB4EAA on Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 16th of September. On Wednesday the 12th of September, the group was active under the prestigious callsign of GB1NHS, as we were joined by Paul Devlin from the NHS Improvements team, as part of an ongoing initiative to bring together the NHS and amateur radio.

Day One of the GB4EAA 2018 activation
Day One of the GB4EAA 2018 activation

Three stations were active on a variety of bands over the three days (HF Voice & CW, 2m Voice, and a short spell on DMR). 2m was surprisingly busy, with locals keen to work the unique callsigns and support their local air ambulance service.

Dorothy M0LMR, on 2m in support of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance
Dorothy M0LMR, on 2m in support of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance

Operating from an active airfield presents several challenges, including additional precautions regarding interference and antenna height, plus noise from local aircraft taking off and landing. The crew from the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance were deployed to incidents on numerous occasions during the activation, resulting in stations going QRT to watch the sight of the helicopter in flight.

The MD902 Explorer, callsign Helimed 07, off on a mission
The MD902 Explorer, off on a mission during our activation

Essex Ham was fortunate that the crew had a short pause between callouts to allow us to have a chat about the service (which is totally funded by public donations), and to check out the equipment onboard the MD902 Explorer, callsign Helimed 07.

 
Paul Devlin, holder of GB1NHS
Paul Devlin, holder of GB1NHS

GB1HNS callsign holder Paul Devlin is keen to create closer links between the NHS and amateur radio, and this event was an ideal way of helping to raise awareness of amateur radio within the NHS, and of GB1NHS within the amateur radio community. 

Paul Devlin GB1NHS said of the event:

“We’re embarking on an exciting adventure to use amateur radio to help promote activities that can improve the health of the communities that the NHS serves nationally. We have plans in motion to do more to link the NHS and amateur radio, including new initiatives to promote amateur radio as a public health means to tackle things such as isolation and loneliness.”

A series of interviews with the crew and with the amateur radio team were recorded during the event, which will be circulated to hospital radio stations, to raise awareness for the air ambulance service and for hospital radio.

Pete Sipple M0PSX from Essex Ham said:

“International Air Ambulance Week 2018 is in its fifth year, and we’re proud to be able to support the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance once again from the helicopter’s airbase. As with previous years, we were able to not only make contact with other Air Ambulance Special Event Stations in the UK, but to use amateur radio to promote the vital service offered by the air ambulances. Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the event, or who took time to work us on-air.”

Some of the team operating GB1NHS from the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Airbase
Some of the team operating GB1NHS from the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Airbase

 

It was great to be one of the groups around the UK who were supporting the event, from such a great location. During setup on our final day, it was good to hear a mention for our event on the GB2RS (on 2m from Bedfordshire, with G4OXY reading the news). Hopefully everyone who visited enjoyed the event to help keep up awareness for the air ambulance service in Essex and beyond. Remember – they can’t fly without public donations.

Andrew 2E0ONH, operating as GB4EAA for International Air Ambulance Week
Andrew 2E0ONH, operating as GB4EAA for International Air Ambulance Week

Essex Ham would like to express its thanks to the Essex & Air Herts Air Ambulance, and also to Anglian Flight Centres for the hospitality, and to Paul from GB1NHS for allowing us to be one of the first groups to take part in a GB1NHS event.

You can find more information, and make a donation at www.ehaat.org

Event Photo Collection

2 Comments

  1. Paul Devlin 21 September 2018 Reply
  2. M0LMR M0LMR 23 September 2018 Reply

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