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Lack of Power Stymies Amateur Radio Post-Quake Aid in Ecuador

04/20/2016

In the wake of the April 16 earthquake in Ecuador, International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 Vice President Ramón Santoyo, XE1KK, reported on April 20 that he has spoken with Lorenzo Lertora, HC2BP, the president of the Guayaquil Radio Club — Ecuador’s IARU member society. The Amateur Radio community has been asked to keep 7.060 MHz clear for any emergency traffic. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake resulted in dozens of deaths and many more injuries. Most earthquake damage has occurred in the Guayaquil (HC2) and Portoviejo/Manta (HC4) areas of Ecuador.

“He described de situation as very difficult,” Santoyo recounted. “There is no electric power in HC4, the earthquake zone, so the radio amateurs there have not been able to get on the air.” Santoyo said he learned that the president of Manabí Radio Club was among those losing their homes as a result of the earthquake.

Radio amateurs are attempting to make do in a difficult situation, Santoyo said. Electrical power and commercial telecommunication systems have been either destroyed or knocked out in the affected area, and hams in the HC4 district were reported earlier to be operating mobile stations or using battery power.

Lertora reported some “tense moments” between the government responders and the radio amateurs because of the “many inefficiencies” they are finding while trying to help, Santoyo said. “He [Lertora] didn’t comment on this morning’s 6.1 magnitude aftershock,” he added.

Santoyo said he is hoping to hear more as the situation begins to improve in the earthquake zone.

Some structures in Portoviejo and Manta suffered severe damage, leaving many victims buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings and homes. Many roads have been rendered impassable because of earthquake rubble. 

The Cadena HC emergency net was reported operating continuously on 7.060 LSB. Hams in Ecuador have been reported very busy coordinating search-and-rescue activities. — Thanks to Ramón Santoyo, XE1KK, and to Rick Dorsch, NE8Z/HC1MD via The Daily DX 



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