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Slovenian Radio Amateurs Support Dispatch Communication Following Storm Damage

Radio amateurs in central Slovenia activated on December 9 after heavy snowfall caused damage in the Zasavje region, affecting some 20,000 residents, Slovenian national EmComm Coordinator Tilen Cestnik, S56CT, reported this week. Power lines were down along with internet and telephone service. A lot of roads were also blocked due to fallen trees.

A large part of the region's major town, Trbovlje, lost electrical power, including the 112 emergency call system (Slovenia's 911 system). Calls had to be transferred from the Zasavje region to the call/dispatch center in Ljubljana, and this increased the workload of the dispatchers on duty.

A few hours after the breakdown, operators from the regional Emergency Communications group S50ATR (Trbovlje) organized to offer provide backup communication support between the call/dispatch centers in Trbovlje and Ljubljana, Cestnik said. "The centre in Trbovlje was very happy to accept the help, so Matjaz, S57MK, and Roman, S56HVF, immediately went to Trbovlje with enough charged radios, and they provided Winlink through a connection to a local radio club which had a satellite internet connection and reliable electricity," Cestnik said.

Tilen Cestnik, S56CT.

Communication via the local FM/DMR repeater system was established and served as a link between Trbovlje and Ljubljana. In Ljubljana the S50ALJ regional team also was activated to assist the 112 center there using the S55DHF FM/DMR wide-coverage repeater.

"The Zasavje region is known for its mountainous terrain and difficult radio coverage," Cestnik said. "Amateur Radio provides three repeater locations in that region along with a packet radio node on a TV tower, satellite Internet at the radio club S59DOR in Trbovlje and, of course, HF with PACTOR, WINMOR, etc. for Winlink."

Cestnik serves as the S5-region repeater manager at the national ham radio organization, ZRS. -- Thanks to Greg Mossop, G0DUB/IARU Region 1

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