“What I think amateur radio people have going for them is their ability to contact people outside the threatened area when there’s no contact inside the threatened area and pass on messages of a health and welfare nature,” Mr Falla said.
“You have a radio in your car or your home, you can run it off batteries, you can run it off solar power — it doesn’t require any connection to the internet or the electricity grid.”
Considered ‘old fashioned’
Mr Falla believes amateur radio skills could become more useful with the increased likelihood of extreme weather events leading to power outages.
“Amateur radio is considered old fashioned; why would you want a radio when you’ve got the internet?” he said.
“We have proved this year that the situations in place right now aren’t adequate in the extreme.”
Mr Morley said there were some within emergency services in Victoria who were unaware of the skills amateur radio enthusiasts could provide.
“You have a lot of different staff coming in during emergencies, and while some people know what WICEN can do, probably many don’t,” he said.
Mr Gibson said the small size of WICEN NSW limited their ability to assist, but the work they had been doing was excellent.
“Since November 9, the WICEN group has completed 2,900 hours of radio communications, and that was only done by 30 members,” Mr Gibson said.
“WICEN, as a communications network, you won’t get any better.”