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Ham Aid Kits Positioned to Deploy as Typhoon Yutu Ravages Central Pacific Islands


In a little more than one day, the cyclone that became Super Typhoon Yutu grew from tropical storm to a Category 5 monster. Yutu is said to be the strongest storm on record to hit the Northern Mariana Islands, home to about 55,000 people. The storm made landfall on Wednesday evening (October 24), destroying homes, wreaking severe wind and storm-surge damage and flooding, and knocking out water, power, and telecommunications on the islands. Utilities could remain down for an extended period.

Before reaching the islands, Yutu’s sustained winds were reported to be 175 MPH. The storm is now tracking northwest toward the Philippines and Taiwan.

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said that four ARRL HF/VHF Ham Aid kits in Guam are available for use in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a US territory. Another seven kits are positioned in Hawaii. Corey said that radio amateurs in Guam and Hawaii are attempting to get in touch with hams who can assist on Saipan, part of the CNMI. Amateur Radio teams that had planned to operate in the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest from Saipan this weekend have cancelled their trips.

“There is a small group of radio amateurs on Saipan who do VHF work,” Corey said. “We are in process of reaching out to them, as well as to radio amateurs who go to Saipan and Tinian for the CQ WW DX SSB event.”

While Guam is reporting no serious communication issues, public service communication on Saipan is offline. Several stations in Hawaii, including large contest stations, have HF capability to Guam and Saipan, and three stations have agreed to pass traffic to Guam/Saipan if needed, Corey said. These include the five-position contest station station of Lloyd Cabral, KH6LC, on Hawaii’s Big Island; the station of Doug Morgan, KH6U, on Oahu, and the six-position contest stations of Kimo Chung, KH7U, and the Koolau Amateur Radio Club, KH6J, on Oahu.

According to information received by ARRL from the Amateur Radio community in Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan, one station was showing up on DMR, but that would likely be of little use if the internet is down. One PACTOR-4-equipped station is available on Guam, and Winlink (radio email) gateways exist in Hawaii.

“There are no transportation arrangements available to ARRL at this time to move Ham Aid kits from Hawaii to Guam,” Corey said. “We don’t intend to move them unless we have operators in Guam/Saipan to use them.”

The Marianas Amateur Radio Club (AH2G) in Guam has posted photos and updates from Saipan on its website. 



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