On Monday, September 06, the first of two public holidays given instead of Vincy Mas 2021, two radio operators from the Youlou Radio Movement (YRM) journeyed to the furthest village on the Windward side of the island, to effect repairs to a communications antenna, damaged by the passage of Hurricane Ida, which when it passed SVG was a tropical storm before it developed into a Category 3 hurricane, that wreaked havoc in Louisiana a month ago.
The repair work was conducted by J88EA – Ronald Haynes and YRM Director, J88CD – Donald De Riggs, who repaired, reinstalled and tested a damaged HF antenna operated by the lone female licensed radio operator J88NEK – Elna Michael. The radio equipment used in Fancy was donated by Barrett Communications from Australia and has been used reliably to provide emergency communications services from that remote village, which at the time of repair was the only form of communications from that village, as the storm damaged some of the main communications lines into that village. That situation has been remedied as of the date of writing.
Following the reinstallation of the antenna, the radio was tested with excellent reception reports received from stations in Barbados, St. Lucia and from a portable HF station in Fancy. From Fancy and linked via a VHF repeater in the South of St. Lucia which is also linked to a repeater in Grenada, J88EA was able to make contact with stations in Trinidad and Barbados, using a handheld VHF radio recently donated by the SVG Embassy in Taiwan.
“Operation RF” stands for “Repair Fancy” and also gave the YRM the opportunity to test our portable radio equipment, which was also used in Dominica in 2017, following the devastation of that island by Hurricane Maria. On that occasion the YRM was part of a joint medical and emergency communications response team, spending three weeks on that island and in the Wesley community in particular.
The work conducted in Dominica included the repair of the generator at the Wesley clinic, the clearing of over a mile of road leading to the airport, brought back ‘on air’ the lone community FM station, coordinated the delivery of water via Canadian helicopter, food and medical supplies, as well the arrival of a team of over thirty medical doctors who came to do an assessment of the island’s medical situation and needs.