Monday, May 18, 2015

Hams Play Key Role in Nepal Quake Response

Despite the fact that Nepal has only about two dozen licensed amateurs and only one active repeater, amateur radio quickly became a critical link in re-establishing communications after the April 25th earthquake that caused massive damage in the Himalayan country and killed thousands of people.
Volunteer hams from India assisted in the Nepal
earthquake aftermath, including VU2JOS (right, with
HT) and 9N3AA (left, with cap) in the Gorkha
District. [Photo courtesy India's National Institute of
Amateur Radio (NIAR)]

Hams from India and other countries came to help (see photo), after overcoming bureaucratic hurdles; the ARRL Letter reports a repeater donated by an American group - the Computer Association of Nepal-USA (CANAM) - was cleared through customs after the personal intervention of the country's Minister of Information and Communication, and nets on HF and VHF provided links both within Nepal and to the outside world. We will have complete coverage in July CQ's "CQ World Wide" column.

[Editor's note: At the time of this posting, Nepal had been hit with a magnitude 7.3 aftershock, which resulted in additional deaths, injuries and property damage. There was no word yet as to whether ham radio activity, which had been winding down, was ramped back up.]