One Friday evening, May, her family and some friends were relaxing on a campsite in the Exmoor National Park in Somerset.
May, who is aged 12, has a history of epilepsy and suddenly slipped into a fit. Her friends and family were quick to react to the situation and grabbed their mobile phones to call 999, but network coverage from the various operators was non-existent and calls could not be placed.
Fortunately one of May’s friends is a licensed radio amateur.
Jon G6ASK, like all good radio hams, had his radio with him. Jon tried several local repeaters on VHF and UHF to no avail until he tried GB3WR. The repeater is sited about 40 miles from the campsite and there is some higher ground between the campsite and the repeater; never the less Jon managed to get a signal through from his handheld. He quickly switched to his mobile radio which with higher power and a better antenna than the handheld improved the quality of the signals to and from the repeater.
Jon called through the repeater for emergency assistance and was answered by Mike M6MGE who was very calm and professional and quickly rang the Emergency Services. Mike, with a very cool and experienced head, took control of the situation and coordinated the response between the emergency operator and Jon on Exmoor. Within 3 minutes of Jon contacting Mike the Ambulance Service was on its way to help May.
First on the scene was the Gary the Fire Co-Responder. Gary had been dispatched from nearby Williston Fire Station and, using “blues and twos”, was quickly on the scene. The Ambulance crew took a little longer as the nearest resource at that time was southbound on the M5 heading back to Tiverton when the call came in.
As a direct result of the efforts of Mike M6MGE, Jon G6ASK, Gary and the Paramedics a potentially dangerous incident was safely and successfully resolved.
The story of May shows the importance of radio in our modem age. When all else fails Amateur Radio will still be there to help.
We wish May well for a full and speedy recovery.
Jon and May’s family would like to thank:
- Gary from Williston Fire Station;
- the Ambulance crew, who along with Gary were wonderful with May and the family, a credit to their professions.
- Mike M6MGE, Jon and May’s family were incredibly impressed with Mike’s professionalism and competence.
By Way of Background
Mike M6MGE was first licensed in 2012 having undertaken his Amateur Radio Training with South Bristol Amateur Radio Club
Jon G6ASK has been licensed since 1981 and so he is a bit of an old hand at this. He has been involved with Raynet in the past and with the Ambulance Service as a First Responder. Coupled with his Amateur Radio abilities, you couldn’t wish to have a better person around when things go wrong.