ARRL

ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX004 (2001)

SB SPCL @ ARL $ARLX004
ARLX004 Indian Hams Working Around the Clock in Quake Relief

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Special Bulletin 4  ARLX004
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 1, 2001
To all radio amateurs 

SB SPCL ARL ARLX004
ARLX004 Indian Hams Working Around the Clock in Quake Relief

Nearly one week after a devastating earthquake struck the State of
Gujarat in Western India, Amateur Radio continues to play a major
role in the relief effort. Amateurs have established HF and VHF nets
throughout Gujarat to aid in supplying food, clothing, medicine and
shelter to the earthquake victims. More than 20,000 have perished,
and the death count is expected to go much higher.

The US and India do not have a third-party traffic agreement, and no
plans have been announced at this point to seek a suspension of that
arrangement to permit international third-party message traffic via
Amateur Radio. Raj Kumar, VU2ZAP, in Bangalore has agreed to accept
earthquake-related inquiries via e-mail from the US to
vu2zap@yahoo.com. VU2ZAP says he is in touch with Amateur Radio
teams and Amateur Radio Society of India officials and will do his
best to assist those seeking information. He requests that all
inquiries include all possible information, in particular telephone
numbers. There's no guarantee of a reply, however.

Amateurs from ARSI, the IARU member-society, and from the National
Institute of Amateur Radio have been on the scene since January 27
providing communications support and information on victims.
D.V.R.K. Murthy, VU2DVO, reports that amateurs are ''working round
the clock.'' Most telephone service in the earthquake zone remains
out.

Traffic is being handled on 40 and 20-meter frequencies as well as
on VHF. Indian amateurs have asked for cooperation in maintaining
clear frequencies in the vicinity of 14.155 and 14.160 MHz as well
as on various net frequencies between 14.250 and 14.270 MHz.

B.L. Manohar, VU2UR, in Bangalore, says media reports about ham
radio's presence in the quake zone has led to a flurry of calls from
all over India requesting hams to radio the affected region for
information on friends and loved ones. ''Most of the Amateur Radio
operators manning the stations in Gujarat do not know the local
language or the streets and areas of the city where they have
stations established,'' he said. ''With no help in the form of local
people to run about, all such messages are getting piled up.''
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