What We Do

South West Hampshire Raynet is part of RAYNET-UK, a nationwide voluntary organisation which was established to use best endeavours to protect human life and property using communications. Our purpose is to provide additional communications in times of need and emergency, to the core emergency services, principal local authorities and others.

We are mostly Radio Amateurs, although anyone with an interest in communication is welcome to join.

Under the conditions of the amateur radio licence, only licensed operators can actually use the radio for routine messages.  However, our licence does allow “The use or permit the use of the Radio Equipment by a member of a User Service during any operation conducted by a User Service or during any exercise relating to such an operation in each case for the purpose of sending Messages on behalf of the User Service.”

The two categories of User Services as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Those in Category 1 are organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies –  E.G. Police, Fire & Rescue Service, NHS Trusts, The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Principal Local Authorities, and Public Health England.

Category 2  responders are, for example: Any UK government department, public utility or transport company,.

Our licence also permits us to pass messages on behalf of : British Red Cross Society, St John Ambulance Brigade, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association, Royal Voluntary Service and Salvation Army.


As emergencies are fortunately rare, we practice our skills by carrying out internal exercises and also providing radio cover (on behalf of one of the user services) on all sorts of events: horse rides, marathons, sponsored cycle rides, and long-distance walks for example.

We are always open to discussions on how we can support new events, for further information please see our FAQ page before getting in touch with us if you are an event organiser.

We also take part in training exercises, where voluntary and full-time emergency service groups practice working together in a simulated major incident. One of RAYNET-UK strengths is that the members use radio all the time: it’s what we specialise in, and we generally use our own equipment, either owned by groups or personal kit belonging to members. As part of the national RAYNET-UK organisation, we can call on operators from adjacent groups to swell our numbers, or provide specialist expertise or equipment, when needed: In return, of course, our members are sometimes asked to go and work with them. In each case, we are all gaining valuable experience in working together

So, why do we do it? After all, being a RAYNET-UK member can mean turning out of bed at some horrible hour on Sunday morning, to stand at the side of a road in the pouring rain and watch runners go past; It can mean sitting in the middle of the New Forest at three o’clock in the morning waiting for the last team of night-hiking Scouts to go past; It can even mean spending Christmas sober (yes, really!), when the group is put on standby in case predicted unusually high tides meant coastal villages have to be evacuated (if this is sounding fun already, you’d fit in well with us!).

But it’s also about doing something really useful with your amateur radio licence; It’s about honing your radio skills in situations where you can make a real difference; It’s about getting involved with things that you may have only seen as a spectator before; It’s certainly about meeting people you wouldn’t have met any other way. And most of all, it really IS fun!

Last Updated on 24th February 2021 by Julian