Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

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Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby m0lsx » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:49 pm

http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/10961393.Lifeboat_launched_after_intercepted_mayday_call/

A LIFEBOAT crew was sent on a rescue mission after a mayday call was intercepted by an amateur radio enthusiast.

The radio buff heard a transmission on a non-maritime frequency mentioning the area of Alresford Creek and saying “mayday”.

He informed coastguards, who sent Clacton’s lifeboat to the area.

The volunteer crew checked the creek and searched along the river using white illumination flares and night vision equipment.

But nothing was found and the call was considered to be a false alarm.

The crew left the station just after 6.30pm on Thursday.

They called off the search and returned to the station at 8.10pm.


The interesting part is....
The radio buff heard a transmission on a non-maritime frequency mentioning the area of Alresford Creek and saying “mayday”.

I wonder what band it was on?? And if the individual involved will receive a visit from plod to see how intelligent the emergency callout was given it was not on marine band..
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby thelad » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:25 pm

m0lsx wrote:http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/10961393.Lifeboat_launched_after_intercepted_mayday_call/

A LIFEBOAT crew was sent on a rescue mission after a mayday call was intercepted by an amateur radio enthusiast.

The radio buff heard a transmission on a non-maritime frequency mentioning the area of Alresford Creek and saying “mayday”.

He informed coastguards, who sent Clacton’s lifeboat to the area.

The volunteer crew checked the creek and searched along the river using white illumination flares and night vision equipment.

But nothing was found and the call was considered to be a false alarm.

The crew left the station just after 6.30pm on Thursday.

They called off the search and returned to the station at 8.10pm.


The interesting part is....
The radio buff heard a transmission on a non-maritime frequency mentioning the area of Alresford Creek and saying “mayday”.

I wonder what band it was on?? And if the individual involved will receive a visit from plod to see how intelligent the emergency callout was given it was not on marine band..
PMR446? haha hope he gets a visit if it was,what a tool!
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby Zulu Charlie » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:29 pm

I disagree.

Providing the 'Enthusiast' was legally listening to the channel (unlikely..), and information was given to the coastguard stating I have heard XXX on Channel XXX (rather than 'someone is in distress at this location') then I see nothing wrong with it. If the coastguard chose to respond then that is their call, probably a good exercise for RNLI anyhow.


Alternatively it was a hoax call intend to give the informant some traffic on Channel 0!
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby Allan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:09 am

Many years ago about 1984 time I was on 20 meters having a chat to a guy in Sweden,He went QRT,Then a local guy to me who is now a silent key gave me a call and so we had a long qso,A short time later we herd a Guy calling us without a call sign so we just ignored him and carried on chatting as you do,Then he started to sound desperate we asked what he was doing on our ham freq and his answer was,,He was attempting to row from USA to UK he was now lost after sever storms knocked out his navigation out ,most of his radio gear was socking wet etc etc.Remember this was 30 years ago.......I said to the guy I was chatting to what should we do to help this guy out Fred..He said I will phone the police which he did,They advised him to call the cost guard which he did .Then with freq exchanged to the cost guard and radio calls to and fro.We went back to monitoring the radio transmissions.They guy had been swept way off corse and had gone past the south of England.Somehow this was all published in one of the then local newspapers around that time etc.Then a few weeks later we received letters thanking us from the lone rower. :smiles: This was a shortened down scale of events.
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby m0lsx » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:30 am

Congratulations on that Allan, there is a 20 meter mariners net...
n my initial, I did say.....

I wonder what band it was on?? And if the individual involved will receive a visit from plod to see how intelligent the emergency callout was given it was not on marine band.


I have heard of several such instances & some have made perfect sense & have been passed on intelligently...Others have been heard by idiots & thus passed on in a less than intelligent manner...I also do wonder if the coastguards could learn from the experience by asking themselves if they responded appropriately...
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby M3ZZN » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:25 pm

it was in fact it was on the colchester repeater and we are all licensed as we were talking on the repeater at the time it was 5 of us talking at the time when we heard it and it was perfectly legal as we thought it may of been genuine so thats why the person in question phoned the coastguard as he was unsure at the time the coastguard lauched the lifeboat after taking the details we got from the person over the air

i was unsure it was a real call or not but if you only have a uhf radio with you at the time and its a genuine situation then i think its fair game
but it was in fact just some local idiot who has had all details passed on and no the amateur who called the coastguard has not been visited from the police and wont because he was concerned if it was a genuine mayday call and passed everything on so was in the right

just thought i would make sure its all clarigied and i think he did the right thing
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Re: Lifeboat launched after intercepted mayday call

Postby roadwarriorjon » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:24 pm

Hi guys. I was told about this thread by someone else and as I am the radio amateur who actually handled this mayday call, I thought I would provide some clarification.

I am a licenced M6 station based in Colchester. I was monitoring our local 70cm repeater station GB3CE at the time and heard the caller cutting across those already using the repeater. The caller originally asked if anyone could hear him and that he needed urgent assistance. He appeared to be transmitting “in” on the “output” of the repeater, and so was disturbing the signal from the repeater. I am not 100% on this, but he was not causing the repeater to activate.

I asked the other operators if they had heard the call and they had. Normal conversation on the repeater resumed. After a few minutes, the call came again for urgent assistance and the caller said he was drifting towards the “mouth of the river”. He then proceeded to issue the three MAYDAY calls in succession and repeated that he required urgent assistance. At this point the other operators had gone silent. I raised the caller on the repeater and asked him what the nature of the emergency was. He indicated that he was a small pleasure boat which had suffered engine failure in Arlesford Creek and was drifting. I requested the name of vessel, description and size, any reference points for location, number of passengers, name of skipper etc. He did give me these details, and when I queried his use of the frequency he said he had no marine vhf set as he had bought the boat the day before. (The location he gave was 4 miles south of colchester, and any handheld would easily be able to raise GB3CE from that distance if there were no obstructions.) I attempted to get a mobile number but none was forthcoming, he just began repeating the call for urgent assistance and that his battery was getting low.

When asking the caller questions, he hesitated when asked for his name. I noted this. He declined to give a mobile number. He indicated that there was a woman and two children on board.

The other radio amateurs who were also listening to this unfold all stated that they thought this was likely to be a hoax, and that his signal characteristics were not consistent with where he said he was.

So, at this point, contact appeared to have been lost and everyone thought it was a hoax. However, I did not feel this was a decision I wanted to have on my conscience, so I 999'd to Thames Coastguard. I relayed all the information received to them, and gave them specific details of the frequency the call was received on, and drew their attention to the fact that the signal strength didn't seem to tally and that it just didn't feel right. I told them we all thought it was a hoax.

They then took things from there and searched the Creek, and phoned me regulary to keep me updated . They phoned me to specifically clarify the frequency and repeater configuration. So yes, they do have all my details. As reported, they couldn't find anything.

So yes, I am licenced to use the 430mhz band and this was where this call occurred. If I was in trouble in a boat and found it didn't have marine radio and couldn't get to a phone, yes I would call for GB3CE because I know people monitor it. (I would have more sense than to go on the boat!!) And a MAYDAY distress call is an internationally recognised protocol and in a life or death emergency, you may have to use whatever still works on whatever frequency you can. Many people take boats out without marine VHF, stupid though it may be. But if you call through to the hub of Colchester Radio Amateurs in desperation and everyone just ignores you and takes the piss and does nothing to help, then what good are we? And if it had been a real emergency and four people had drowned or frozen to death out in a little boat stuck in the reeds somewhere, I for one would feel bad for days. :smiles:
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