is an acronym for the 'Radio Amateurs' Emergency
Network', formed by the Radio Society of Great
Britain (RSGB) in 1953 following the disastrous UK
East Coast Floods, during which Radio Amateurs
provided emergency communications because of the
severe disruption caused to normal means of
communication, thus contributing to saving lives and
Radio Amateurs (or 'Hams') have to pass exams to show they are competent to operate and understand the extensive modes of transmission and wavebands allocated to them and in the UK are licensed by the DTI's OFCOM agency. Normally they can only speak to other Radio Amateurs, but a special section of their licence permits them to pass messages on behalf of various bodies called 'User Services'. These are any United Kingdom Police force, Fire or Ambulance service, Health Authority or Government Department, Chief Emergency Planning Officers and HM Coastguard, the British Red Cross Society, the St John Ambulance Brigade, the St Andrew's Ambulance Association, the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, the Salvation Army and the Utility Services.
There are nearly 200 organised groups of Radio Amateurs in the UK who provide the Core of Amateur Radio Voluntary Emergency & Public Service Communications, usually under the name 'RAYNET'. Is there one near you Click here to see.