Monday, 27 October 2014

15-year-old helps save the day

Executive Vice-chairman and Director of National Institute of Amateur Radio S. Ram Mohan and Tom K Jose of Hyderabad who played an active role in the relief works of the recent Hudhud Cyclon
Uses his Ham radio skills to gather vital information during Hudhud. One contact talked about trees falling at a Jain temple in Bhimli and resulting in precarious conditions. The young Ham immediately passed on the information to senior officials, who in turn directed their field personnel.
For a week, Tom K. Jose kept his studies aside, travelled to a cyclone-hit city and used his Ham radio skills to contribute to disaster management.
When Hudhud swept through Visakhapatnam disrupting its communication network and a team of amateur radio (Ham) operators from the city were sought, the 15-year-old student of Little Flower Junior College, Uppal, volunteered for the task.
With his call sign, VU3TMO, Tom was stationed in the control room set up at Visakhapatnam Police Commissionerate and spent long hours collecting messages from other team members spread over the cyclone affected areas and passed them on to the administration for relief measures.
The intermediate first year student, who got his Ham licence at the age of 13, along with colleagues, operated under adverse conditions, often skipping meals and spending long hours before the radio, waiting for it to crackle with messages. “For seven days, I was at the Visakhapatnam Police Commissionerate and one day at the District Collector’s office at Srikakulam and made anywhere up to 500 contacts,” says Tom.
One contact talked about trees falling at a Jain temple in Bhimli and resulting in precarious conditions. The young Ham immediately passed on the information to senior officials, who in turn directed their field personnel, and the situation was attended to. Another was a contact from Bangalore who was desperately trying to locate his brother and sister in the Hudhud affected area. “We operated without checking the watch or caring whether it was day or night. We had to just sit in front of the radio and wait for a contact,” he says.

Tom, who got his licence when he was in class 9, explores the Ham world and so far, has contacted more than 150 countries and received appreciations for his operational skills from Ham associations from different parts of the globe, including US, Germany and Japan. He comfortably juggles his hobby with studies and says, “Each night after studies I spend 30 minutes to 45 minutes with the radio apart from a brief tryst in the morning before going to college.”
( An excerpt  from "THE HINDU" published on 26-10-14 )

Friday, 17 October 2014

Ham Radio Emergency Communication

When all communication networks are down, Ham plays a significant role in disseminating information. On the orders of the DGP, a 10-member team of National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), led by its founder and chief advisor S. Suri, arrived here on Wednesday.
A man from Naglonda is desperate to find out the safety of his brother staying at Vijayanagar Palace layout in the Hudhud-battered Visakhapatnam.
A colonel is living at PM Palem and his son in Kerala is frenetic to know how he is.
At Padmanabham near Bhimili that suffered badly in the cyclone there is no power or water.

These are pieces of information tricking in from a few Ham (amateur) radio operators that are working in the cyclone-affected areas of Visakhapatnam and received at the Control Room set up at the Police Commissioner’s Office. Ham has significant role to play when communication networks are down.
On the orders of the DGP, a 10-member team of National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), led by its founder and chief advisor S. Suri, arrived here on Wednesday.

“We came here in five teams with five high frequency sets and six very high frequency and ultra high frequency sets. On contacting DCP M. Srinivas and SP (Communications) Surya Rao, we have been told to go to four places to improve police communications as the load on their devices is heavy,” says Yamini, a celebrity Ham operator and an entrepreneur who took keen interest in amateur radio right from her junior college days. Over the last few years she emerged a leader participating in international conferences. She has to her credit the distinction of representing Asia in a 12-member team from all over the world in an experimental Ham operation on Isla del Coco, an uninhabited island in Costa Rica, braving risks and obstacles.
She has been participating in Ham operations in all the cyclones and floods since 2006, she says.
She has not studied communication engineering but pursued it with intense interest even using earth-moon-earth communication process.

Easy to operate
That Ham radio is easy to operate by even students is illustrated by Tom K Jose from Hyderabad, now in junior intermediate. With his father working in NIAR, he took quite early to the operation and Hudhud is his first operational exposure.
Ten members from National Institute of Amateur Radio arrive
They are equipped with high-frequency sets

(Reproduced from  The Hindu 17-10-2014)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ham Radio communications for "Cyclone Hudhud"

Upon request from the Police Dept., Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, members of the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), Hyderabad are providing emergency communications from the cyclone Hudhud affected areas of Visakhapatnam

Those NIAR members involved are:
1. Mr.S.Suri, VU2MY
2. Mr.S.Ram Mohan, VU2MYH
3. Ms.S.Yamini, VU2YAM
4. Mr.Mukesh Kumar Gola, VU2MCW
5. Mr. K.Leela Krishna, VU2SZG
6. Mr.Tom K. Jose, VU3TMO

Assisted by:
7. Mr. Ramesh Kuthumbaka, SWL
8. Mr.S.V.B.Ramu, SWL

They are also joined by:
9. Mr.Ambarish Naag Biswas, VU2JFA

Assisted by:
10. Mr.Asit Kumar Das, SWL

The ham control room is established at office of Commissioner of Police, Visakhapatnam and they are operating on HF & VHF. More stations are being set up. They also met Mr.Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and appraised him of the Amateur Radio emergency communications.

NIAR HQ Station, Hyderabad , VU2NRO is operated by:
- Ms.M.Bhanumathy, VU2BL
- Mr.Jose Jacob, VU2JOS
- Ms.Lissy Jose, VU3LMS
- Mr.Md.Mujeebuddin, VU3MHI

Frequencies: 7090 kHz LSB, 14160 kHz USB, 145.200 MHz FM

(Excerpt of “Southgate” Amateur Radio News)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

HAM radio operators on standby : Cyclone Hudhud

HYDERABAD: Predicting a complete breakdown in communication networks, the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), Hyderabad, has stationed a few of its operators in Andhra Pradesh for transmission of information to government departments and civilians. 

While the Odisha government has already pressed HAM radio operators into action, AP has kept them on standby for now and is expected to use them in case of an emergency. "As a precautionary measure, we have sent our operators to the districts of AP that have been affected by the cyclone. We also sent four operators from West Bengal to Bhubaneshwar on Saturday itself as the government sought our assistance," said S Ram Mohan, vice-chairman and managing director, NIAR. 

He said in most areas, power lines, cell phone towers and land line cables have collapsed, leaving only HAM radios as an alternative means of communication. "These radios can be used to relay information between government departments and also between the government and the public. And even if the radio collapses, the operators are adept in assembling it to have it running within no time," he added.
Published in "The Times of India Hyderabad" edition on 13-10-2014

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Cyclone Hudhud: Amateur radio to provide vital info

The Odisha government has roped in amateur radio operators in a desperate bid to set up communication bases along the Odisha-Andhra coastline where cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit on Sunday.
The cyclone with wind speeds is expected to snap all terrestrial communication systems.
 In such a scenario, amateur radio, also called ham radio, will become the only medium for the government to coordinate relief operations and exchange critical messages between government bodies, the two states and also with New Delhi.
Eight people will go to Odisha and four to Andhra Pradesh. The control rooms will be set up in Sodepur (Bengal), Vizag and Bhubaneswar. A three-member team from the National Institute of Amateur Radio will be posted in Visakhapatnam.
Amateur radio participants use radio communication equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs through airwaves for public services, recreation and self-training. Ham operators have worked in disasters like cyclone Aila and the Bhuj earthquake. Emails can also be sent through in areas with no other active communication systems.
In a letter to West Bengal Radio Club and director of the National Institute of Amateur Radio, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority acknowledged that the ham systems were successfully used during cyclone Phailin by erecting “failproof” communication systems.
“We’ve put together an eight-member team from Bengal to handle the assignment. We will set up mobile bases at key areas,” said Amabarish Nag Biswas, a licenced amateur radio operator.

News published in Hindustan times on   Sat, 11 Oct 2014