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Amateur radio emergency network during 1953 flood

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It is well known that a considerable part of the land territory of The Netherlands is below sea level, and this territory has been, in point of fact, taken back from the powerful waters of the sea. It is usually kept dry by a system of dikes, canals, and pumping stations. The height of the dikes protecting the land from the North Sea has been based upon observations of the maximum sea level heights recorded over many years, and this system has successfully kept the country relatively dry now for several centuries. But there have been some unusual but serious problems over the years with this innovative land reclamation scheme and one of the most serious events took place just a little more than a half-century ago. On the night of 1 February 1953, an extremely rare situation developed - a combination of spring tides and a north-westerly gale that reached speeds of up to 82 kn. This disaster illustrates a memorable example of the importance of communications technology and how it can be rapidly unitized by knowledgeable radio amateurs with much innovation, primarily on an ad hoc basis, in order to help save human life.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:92 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 2004

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