-One Ham and His Dog-“In the brutal aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, Jean-Robert Gaillard turned to his low-tech radio for solace and for a lifeline.”
This is the opening line from a CNN report by John D. Sutter released on Wed 20/01/2010. I think low-tech radio is not the expression that should have been used for this report, in truth, it's my opinion, speaking as Short Wave Listener or (SWL) and somebody who has had awareness in Amateur Radio since 1997, that this phrase is an insult to the amateur radio enthusiasts and SWL's alike. When earthquake hit Haiti on the 12th, the first people to hear about the disaster were the amateur radio enthusiasts. When the 911 disaster was brought upon us, the first people to hear about it were the amateur radio enthusiasts. Is anyone seeing a pattern here?
During my limited time speaking to Jean Robert (HH2JR), he explained to me in graphic and bone chilling detail, so detailed in fact you do not need to close your eyes to see the events unfold; of Jean Robert’s accounts with the Haiti Quake which shook his home town to shreds. He later went on to explain to me about his, what was called by some people “Low-Tech-Radio” which I might add was an Icom 706, and how he got connected to power and to the emergency net frequency.
Jean Robert used his air time to get in touch with someone, . . Anyone who was monitoring the net frequency to get help. Jean Robert, with the help from Fred W3ZU in Florida, managed to get a call to his first cousin Ariel, via a phone-patch set up by Fred. Jean Robert knew his cousin Ariel would be able to contact his friends and family to let them know he was in good health. He also used his air time to explain and give as much information as he could to anyone who was listening on frequency.
I am pleased to let everyone know that Jean Robert is in good health, and he said to me the medal should go to his pet German Shepard (Blackie). “Blackie was amazing Brendan, He was the one helping everyone, he done so much for me and the people around me” he said. “I don’t want publicity Brendan, I don’t need a thank you, I just done what I knew how to do . . . help people. I am sure any Ham or anyone would have done the same given the circumstances” Jean Robert, I would like to thank you for speaking to me again.
I stuck my head out to make this contact, and many would have told me where to go, and what started out as an interview for a radio club and my daughter’s school who were also following the Haiti Quake; it turned into a casual conversation between two friends… When we were in QSO over the video link, I expressed my thanks to Jean Robert for the chat and he said to me that just the conversation we were having was emotionally stimulating for him, just speaking Jean Robert, helped him deal with the tension he was under. Now I don’t feel awkward for making this contact, it makes me feel good to know that that man is feeling better now since I spoke to him, even if it’s only a small bit better, it means a lot others.
Please take some time to look at the videos. I am unable to show the whole conversation as it’s over an hour long, so I have done a bit of editing in the form of three videos less than ten minutes long each. Many thanks and Best 73’s de Brendan Nutley (EI1429)