Chennai: A group of amateur radio operators (HAM) from the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) have set up emergency communication centres at Dehradun and Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand to help stranded passengers get help from government and keep them connected with their family back home.
A group of four HAM operators, including Jose Jacob of NIAR from Hyderabad, have set up an emergency communication centre at Bharat scouts and guides headquarters at Dehradun and another group is stationed at Barkot in Uttarkashi district.
“In the past two days, about 75 people have got in touch with us over high frequency (HF) radio. People ask us for information about their near and dear ones who are either stranded or missing,” Jose Jacob said.
Pointing out that they operate their radios with batteries under extreme climatic conditions, the veteran amateur radio operator says that as the calamity struck hard, people are left with no power and proper road connectivity. “The situation is worse at Barkot where they don’t have electricity, water or food. Our fellow HAMs stationed there have managed to set up their station by erecting the antenna on a tall tree top,” he said.
S. Narayanan, an amateur radio operator from Madurai, noted that HAMs are known for their service, which they had showcased during the 2004 tsunami. “Wherever any natural calamity strikes, it will be the amateur radio operator who comes to the spot after the police.”