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Nepal Grants Operating Permission, Call Signs to Visiting Hams, as Earthquake Recovery Continues. Post #422.

Nepal Grants Operating Permission, Call Signs to Visiting Hams, as Earthquake Recovery Continues:

TAGS: Amateur Radio HF, amateur radio society, cell phones, ham radio, ham radio operation, hams, Jayu Bhide, Nepal, recovery effort, rescue teams, telecommunication infrastructure
In the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake, hams in Nepal, already in limited supply, have been turning out to help in the ongoing recovery. The Nepalese government also is reported to be cutting some of the red tape that has prevented hams from outside the country from operating within Nepal. Several hams from India are among those who have arrived in Nepal to help facilitate communication. Word earlier this week via Amateur Radio Society of India President Gopal Madhavan, VU2GMN, was that visiting hams would not be permitted to operate in Nepal, unless they were part of a government team.On the other hand, getting needed Amateur Radio equipment into Nepal has been problematic.

“ARRL is working closely with amateurs in Nepal to identify equipment needed for the relief effort,” said ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, NI1U. “We are preparing a shipment from the Ham Aid inventory, but like other NGOs, we are facing transportation challenges. We hope to have transportation arrangements in place soon.” Unconfirmed reports said another group was having problems getting a repeater into Nepal.

While parts of the telecommunication infrastructure remain in operation, power is out, preventing users from re-charging their cell phones. Ham radio remains a reliable link at this stage of the recovery effort. A major focus of rescue teams has been attempting to locate the missing, as well as to recover quake victims buried beneath debris. More than 5000 people now are reported dead as a result of the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. The disaster also has stranded many people, as roads were cut off by landslides and damage.

“In spite of the conditions, ham radio operation is in progress, and the Nepal government has started issuing licenses to visiting hams, with 9N7 prefixes,” said Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU. Bhide, who is the Amateur Radio Society of India’s National Coordinator for Disaster Communication, said these stations have been asked to help provide communication to more of the devastated region. Ham radio groups are being asked to spread out in terms of operating frequencies as well. Bhide said a lot of the Amateur Radio traffic has consisted of health-and-welfare inquiries.

At least two groups of hams from Gujarat, India, were planning to travel to Nepal and set up stations “at critical places,” Bhide said, adding that he, Ananda Majumdar, VU2AGJ, and Sandip Baruah, VU2MUE, were planning to set up HF and VHF stations at Gorakhpur, on the India-Nepal border.

Amateur Radio HF nets have been one link between Nepal and the outside world, as Internet service continues to be spotty. Nepalese hams also are active locally on VHF/UHF.

“It was raining overnight, and the rescue parties again faced problems, as there was no power,” Bhide said. “Everything in the dark night came to a standstill.”

The earthquake — said to be the worst in Nepal in 80 years — hit an area between the capital city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara.


Due to the great human tragedy in Nepal, I felt it necessary to update you on current rescue and recovery efforts in Nepal following the devastating earthquake that has killed at least 5,000 people. Indian and Nepalese amateur radio operators are doing what they can to re-establish communications systems in that mountainous nation.  Jayu Bhide (VU2JAU) of the Amateur Radio Society of India is coordinating emergency net traffic.  If you wish more information on the recovery efforts in Nepal and what Amateur Radio is doing to facilitate rescue efforts, please visit these news sites:

Our prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the amateur radio operators striving to find the lost and dead.

Thanks for joining us today!

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).


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