Thursday, December 30, 2004

Amateur Radio "Saved Lives" in South Asia: "As governments and relief organizations attempt to gauge the scale of death and devastation from the December 26 South Asia earthquake and tsunami and to aid the victims, Amateur Radio operators throughout the stricken region are offering their services as emergency communicators."

"Victor Goonetilleke, 4S7VK, president of the Radio Society of Sri Lanka (RSSL), reports that 'uncomplicated short wave' radio saved lives.

"'Ham radio played an important part and will continue to do so,' he said in an e-mail relayed to ARRL. Goonetilleke said that even Sri Lanka's prime minister had no contact with the outside world until Amateur Radio operators stepped in. 'Our control center was inside the prime minister's official house in his operational room,' he recounted. '[This] will show how they valued our services.'

"Goonetilleke reports that even satellite phones failed, and only the Amateur Radio HF link remained open. One problem: Batteries were running out, and there are no generators to recharge them."

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