RAYNET is an Emergency Communications service provided for the community voluntarily by Radio Amateurs. It is intended as a back-up facility in an emergency and is not designed to assume the mantle of responsibility from the statutory Emergency Services. Radio Amateurs are permitted within their licence to operate in an emergency or properly constituted exercise for the following organisations (“User Services”): Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, Coastguard, WRVS, Salvation Army, Emergency Planning Officers, Health Authority, Government Department or Public Utility. RAYNET is a national organisation and has full coverage over the South West of England on a Regional, County and Local District basis.


RAYNET will provide a flexible communications facility to meet the requirements of our “User Services” when called upon to be operational. The response and systems provided will be tailored to suit the demands of the occasion.




The RAYNET Incident Controller is the RAYNET person who receives the activation call from a “User Service”, this could be any member but in practice is most likely to be the relevant Group or County/Area Controller or the Zone Co-ordinator.


When activated the Incident Controller will immediately contact his Group Controller/County Co-ordinator or Deputy and will remain as Control until relieved of that duty. He will then initiate an established call-out procedure which ensures that every member is contacted and advised of the details of the incident. The Incident Controller will nominate a Net Controller who will be responsible for sending and receiving all messages and for maintaining a log. The Group Controller/County Co-ordinator will assess the situation and arrange for appropriate support, both personnel and equipment, to be made available wherever it may be necessary.


The Group Controller/County Co-ordinator will monitor progress and will arrange for relief operators to be available or shift working if the incident is extended. Further members may be put on standby if appropriate. Should the incident be a major one then the Zone Co-ordinator can liaise with colleagues from other regions to provide additional manpower.
County Co-ordinators in particular maintain regular contact with their colleagues in adjoining Counties and Groups so that cross-border support can be more readily available when required; this can be in the form of more operators and /or more equipment.


RAYNET is always keen to participate in as many exercises as possible with any User Service, the more varied the better; this means that at an incident other organisations, procedures and personnel are known and therefore the learning curve at such a critical time is minimal. However in practice few exercises take place to which RAYNET are invited. To ensure members participate in regular training, many different community events are attended such as marathons, bike rides, horse events etc. where communications is often provided for First Aid and Public Safety on behalf of a “User Service”. Other internal exercises take place to practice message handling and call-out procedures. Local meetings are held at which demonstration and instruction is given on new techniques and equipment. Occasionally representatives of “User Services” are invited to present and discuss their emergency arrangements and how best RAYNET can be of benefit to them at any incident.


South West Region (Zone 7) includes the following areas: Avon Area, Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly), Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the Channel Islands. Local Groups are based upon a Local Authority district, Unitary Authority or geographical area and come under the co-ordination of their appropriate county.

In the first instance initial contact for regional issues should be made with the following senior personnel:-

Mike Whitehead or Gill Whitehead


Mike Whitehead - Chairperson/Zone Co-ordinator
Tel: 01275 834491 Mobile 07815 125031

Gill Whitehead - Deputy Chairperson/Deputy Zone Co-ordinator
Tel: 01275 834491 Mobile 07940 355751

Local Group and County contacts can be advised as necessary

National 24 hour contact no. 0303 040 1080
(if no other contact is available)