top of page

Amateur radio club organises drive to restore life-saving radios to flood-affected communities

When natural disasters hit, amateur radio operators can be the first to transmit calls for help to the rest of the world.

But in recent weeks, radio amateurs in flood-affected areas have watched helplessly as all their vital gear has been washed away.

However, a club on the New South Wales-Victoria border has stepped up to help.

"We saw a need," North East Victoria Amateur Radio Club secretary Frank Scott said.

"So we've created a fund to try and assist these operators who may have lost all their equipment and in some way try and replace it."

First to tell the world

Sometimes, radio amateurs provide the only communications in the wake of natural disasters.

That was the case in 1974 when Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin.

"A radio amateur hooked up a transceiver to a car battery and let the world know that Darwin needed help," Mr Scott said.

He said it was the same during the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 and the Newcastle earthquake in 1989.

Many who operate radios during disasters are members of the Wireless Institute of Australia's Civil Emergency Network.

"In areas like Lismore and south-east Queensland where floods and fires are quite common, a lot of amateur operators … provide emergency communications during these disasters," Mr Scott said.

Floods strip clubs of vital gear

But in the wake of the floods, it's estimated about 12 clubs have been stripped bare of gear.

Much of it wasn't covered under flood damage insurance.

"The problem is, yes you can insure your home, you can insure your car," Mr Scott said.

"But it's very difficult to insure things like amateur radio equipment or communication towers.

"That's where we've come in."

Gathering gear for clubs in need

The Albury club has raised more than $3,000 already and is calling for equipment from the estimated 15,000 amateur radio enthusiasts across Australia.

"We've already had some equipment offered from as far away as Darwin," Mr Scott said.

The club is also asking retailers to donate.

"We think this is just our small way of being able to pay back some of the guys up north who have done such a sterling job in the past," Mr Scott said.

"The response from around the country shows there certainly is a need, and people are standing up to help."


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page