ARRL General Bulletin ARLB076 (1997)

ARLB076 Hams help in wake of Guam typhoon

ARRL Bulletin 76  ARLB076
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  December 18, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLB076 Hams help in wake of Guam typhoon

Ham radio is helping to keep open lines of communication between
Guam and the Pacific islands of Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas in
the wake of Typhoon Paka.  The storm Tuesday caused heavy damage on
Guam, but telephone service remains intact, according to Jim Kehler,
KH2D, president of the Mariana Islands DX Association.  Kehler says
the islanders are taking the situation in stride for the most part.
''Typhoons in this part of the Pacific are something that everyone
knows about and has a respect for, since we have all seen the
results previously.''

While damage estimates are in the $200 million range, no one was
killed or seriously injured when the storm passed over Guam,
''Everybody is just happy to be alive, and nobody is sitting on the
curb crying cuz the house got flooded and the car got crushed,''
Kehler relates.  ''That's Guam.'' Kehler says there's a great sense
of community on the island, with everyone pitching in to help others
get their lives and homes back together in the disaster's wake.

Kehler said 7.085 MHz is being used for inter-island communication,
but HF conditions have not permitted reliable communication with the
mainland.  He said that during the storm's approach, hams on Guam
also used 7.085 while tracking its path.  During the storm, Kehler's
and five other MIDXA stations were operational on 40 meters.  The
others included WH0AAV on Saipan, KH0CE, on Tinian, and N4UQM/KH2,
KH2JU, and K9AW/KH2 on Guam.  Kehler says he has not heard other
club members on the air since the storm passed, but notes that power
is down and several suffered equipment damage in the storm.  The
only VHF repeater on Guam survived the storm, but Kehler says it's
not being used for emergency communication at this point.

Kehler said the MIDXA was formed in November after Typhoon Keith
struck the Northern Marianas.  ''One of the reasons was that Rota
lost all commercial communications in that storm, and the ham
community here was totally unprepared to help,'' he explained.

MIDXA members continue to monitor 7.085, ''at least those with a
radio, antenna, and a house left,'' Kehler said.  With commercial
power and water out of commission, ''Guam is a mess,'' Kehler says,
and some hams on Guam suffered ''lots of damage.''  Kehler says his
station is OK, but considers his 100 W and a vertical too modest for
regular communication with the mainland, so he's just been
listening.  He's been using a notebook computer powered from a
generator to keep in touch.

In the storm's wake, Red Cross National Headquarters activated
Virginia ARES to coordinate recovery information from ham radio
sources, including Kehler, in the Pacific--primarily Hawaii and
Guam.   Virginia ARES says propagation from the East Coast to the
Marianas is ''too poor for direct monitoring,'' so it's relying
primarily on Internet links.  Information summaries and updates are
being posted on the Virginia ARES Web site,

The American Red Cross National Headquarters is requesting frequency
searches and/or monitoring to identify any Amateur Radio stations
that might be attempting contact from the affected area.  The Red
Cross is attempting to determine food and shelter conditions, power
status and transportation status.  No health-and-welfare traffic is
being accepted at this point.  Hams wishing to participate in the
activation should e-mail name, call sign, e-mail address and home
telephone to  The ARRL has a memorandum of
understanding with the Red Cross to provide disaster-relief