As the powerful cyclone, Biparjoy approaches the Gujarat coast with wind speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour, concerns are rising about potential communication network disruptions. To ensure a seamless exchange of information, authorities have turned to HAM radio as a reliable mode of communication during emergencies.
Learning from past experiences, the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) has taken proactive measures by deploying six HAM radio teams, including two in Kutch, along with mobile units. These teams will play a crucial role in maintaining communication channels after Cyclone Biparjoy lands near Jakhau port.
HAM radio, also known as amateur radio, has proven to be a dependable method of messaging when traditional terrestrial communication means, such as wirelines and mobile phones, fail during emergencies. It involves the use of radio frequency spectrum for non-commercial exchange of messages.
GSDMA has strategically positioned six HAM radio teams, equipped with radio units, in areas expected to be most impacted by the cyclone. Dr Kausal Jani, a HAM radio operator from GSDMA, explained the significance of HAM radio during cyclones: “When all communication networks fail, and electricity is not available, HAM radio works. It does not require any mobile tower or internet to make calls, making it useful in such disasters.”
These HAM radio teams will play a vital role in relaying critical information during the cyclone, such as emergency requirements like the need for ambulances or requests for assistance from disaster response teams. Gaurav Prajapati, an official from GSDMA, highlighted the importance of HAM radio during previous cyclones, recalling how communication and electrical networks were down for six days during Cyclone Tauktae in May 2021. “We had to communicate through (HAM) radio only,” he added.
In preparation for Cyclone Biparjoy, a mobile HAM radio unit has also been deployed in Jakhau, the location where the cyclone is expected to make landfall. This strategic deployment ensures effective communication channels in the area.
As authorities in Gujarat brace for the impact of Cyclone Biparjoy, the utilization of HAM radio demonstrates their commitment to maintaining smooth communication, even in the face of disrupted traditional communication networks. HAM radio’s reliability and independence from conventional infrastructure make it an invaluable asset during emergencies, ensuring that essential information reaches those in need.
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