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Radio Amateurs in India Were Prepared, But Expected Cyclone Fizzled


A team of nearly 2 dozen Amateur Radio volunteers established an emergency communication net as Cyclone (hurricane) Nilofar approached the west coast of India from the Arabian Sea last week. The late October activation came right on the heels of the Amateur Radio response to powerful Cyclone Hudhud, which caused widespread flooding and property damage and claimed several lives. Especially hard hit was the capital city of Visakhapatnam.

As things turned out, however, Nilofar weakened, generating only moderate rain and wind along some coastal areas of Gujarat, which had been bracing for more severe weather. Winds approaching 40 MPH were reported in the coastal area of Kacchha, and some areas reported light rain, but there was no damage. Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI) National Coordinator for Disaster Communication Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU, said some important coastal areas had been evacuated as a precautionary measure.

For the Cyclone Nilofar activation, Bhide said radio amateurs responded to a request from Gujarat authorities to set up HF/VHF stations at Dwarika, Rajkot, Porbandar, Gandhidham, and Naliya. A net control center was set up in Gandhinagar. Some operators supported the activation from their home stations, he said. All teams were withdrawn late on November 1 or early on November 2.

“It was wonderful teamwork and well supported by the various hams from Gujarat as well as other part of India,” Bhide said. “This type of emergency is proves the capacity and readiness for helping mankind and government by the way of ham radio.” — Thanks to Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU, and Jim Linton, VK3PC, Chairman, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee





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