Thursday, August 18, 2022

Partnership to improve backcountry communications

In the backcountry and wilderness environments that Oxford SAR teams operate in, effective and reliable communications are essential. The satellite equipment, services and expertise provided by Woi, and powered by Kacific, has provided Oxford SAR with the ability to effectively manage our SARTrack management systems and communications at the location of each search, regardless of where this happens to be.

Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) is a national volunteer organisation which provides search and rescue assistance to the lost, missing and injured across New Zealand. LandSAR volunteers operate in suburban, urban, wilderness and rural areas, including regional and forest parks, shorelines and caves. There are over 3500 trained search and rescue volunteers who are members of 62 local groups covering the length and breadth of NZ. These unpaid professionals offer their specialist search and rescue skills free to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week via NZ Police and the Rescue Coordination Centre.

volunteer

Over the course of any year, LandSAR Oxford volunteers are involved in dozens of emergency callouts from the Rural Canterbury plains, through the foothills and forest parks, to the mountains and valleys of Arthurs Pass National Park. In the backcountry and wilderness environments that Oxford SAR teams operate in, effective and reliable communications are essential. The satellite equipment, services and expertise provided by Woi, and powered by Kacific, has provided Oxford SAR with the ability to effectively manage our SARTrack management systems and communications at the location of each search, regardless of where this happens to be. Woi’s broadband, powered by Kacific’s high-throughput Kacific1 satellite, is able to deliver internet bandwidth at high speeds. And because the signal from Kacific1 covers the entire country, LandSAR Oxford volunteers can get online no matter how deep in the wilderness the rescue operations go, or how remote the backcountry is. 

volunteers

When search operations stretch beyond the initial response period, Woi’s equipment allows Oxford SAR to contact and deploy new staff via their Volunteer Rescue system. The partnership with Woi has provided Oxford SAR with the ability to communicate via WiFi and by satellite phone when in an area that has no physical cellphone coverage. 

Most importantly, the Woi system also links with Oxford SAR existing tracking systems, so that they are able to know exactly where their teams are at all times when they are in the field. This not only improves the safety of the team members significantly, but also provides team members the opportunity to communicate with their families, which has traditionally been very difficult on longer duration operations..

LandSAR Oxford is incredibly thankful to Woi for donating a fully portable satellite communications base station and field equipment to the Oxford group.

“The ability to have internet anywhere is very important to us in Land Search & Rescue. We can be setting up our base in any location and the ability to not be restricted to where an internet connection exists gives us flexibility to do our job how we need to. The main Incident Management Team is usually located in the Christchurch Police Station but to enable them to communicate information, plans and taskings to us at the forward base is critical,” LANDSAR spokesperson Bill Dowle said.

“When there is an outage we get notified, which is great as it is frustrating if the internet drops out and you don’t know why. Fortunately, this has never occurred when we have been using it, but to know this is reassuring. 

“Whenever we have had an issue Woi is always at the end of the phone so problem-solving is dealt with quickly – the more we use it the less we have to get the help, but as we move position every time different issues can be encountered.” 

If you would like to enjoy the fast and reliable internet that LandSAR is using, the team at Woi installs nationwide. Woi now offers Kiwis the new lightweight MDM2010 modem, coupled with an unobtrusive 75cm disk and upfront installation starts from just $495. That’s an excellent price for a Ka band satellite service that achieves speeds of up to 40Mbps – without breaking the bank. 

Their website is able to accept orders and payment. Woi can also be reached on 0800 438 964 or by emailing sales@woi.co.nz

More: From now till December 31, quote <Woiconnectsfarmers> when you purchase any satellite plans from Woi and get a 5% off the upfront cost. For Farmers Weekly customers only.

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