Archive for October, 2011

Thailand Floods – Update 2

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Received from Greg Mossop, G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator:

Severe flooding that has claimed the lives of over 370 lives in less than three months is now closing in on the capital Bangkok as the authorities struggle to divert as much water as possible around the city and reinforce barriers to keep remaining areas dry.

But according to Tony Waltham, HS0ZDX, for many areas to the north of the capital it is too late and hundreds of communities there are uninhabitable with flood water more than two or three metres deep in some areas.

Under water is agricultural land reducing the crop yield, factories causing suspensions or disruptions, and housing. The economic cost is put at $3 billion. The heavy monsoon earlier rain hit Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.

Amateur radio has been playing an ongoing role in this disaster with operators helping to co-ordinate relief and rescue work using VHF two-way communications and repeaters, HF communications in the 40 metre band (7060-7063 KHz).

As well there are several Echolink conference rooms, including the “Bangkok”, “Thailand” and “HS0AC” conferences. (A list of VHF frequencies and repeaters can be found at the RAST website http://www.qsl.net/rast).

Tony HS0ZDX reports a special centre for amateur radio communications has been established by Thailand’s regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) using the callsign HS0AB at Bangkok’s second airport, Don Mueang, which is now besieged by flooding itself.

Among the areas inundated by more than a metre of water is the campus of the Asian Institute of Technology, where the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand’s HF club and contest station HS0AC is located.

Sadly, all the transceivers and equipment at desktop level or higher, are now submerged under flood water.

Another victim of the flooding was a RAST-sponsored FCC Volunteer Examiner Co-ordinator (VEC) exam session that had been scheduled for October 22 and had to be cancelled, despite 35 candidates having registered.

The amount of rainfall in Thailand since July has been unprecedented. Based on government figures the total runoff from a series of tropical storms is now estimated to comprise around 20,000 million cubic metres of water.

More than half this volume still to make its way through rivers, canals and pumping stations past Bangkok to reach the Gulf of Thailand.

It has been estimated that between 400 and 500 million cubic metres can be drained each day, which means that the ongoing crisis is likely to last at least another 20 days, if there is no more heavy rainfall — however, the rainy season has not yet ended.

Adding to the threat level for the remaining dry areas in the capital city over the next few days are a series of peak sea tides forecast for October 30 and October 31 that should cause river levels to rise even higher than their record levels at present.

More than 10 million people have been directly affected by flooding so far, while the Thai Government has been encouraging residents of Bangkok, which has a population of some 12 million, to evacuate if possible and to move their valuables upstairs as a precaution, while a public holiday has been declared for 21 provinces from October 27-31.

Many industrial parks north of Bangkok have been inundated despite all attempts to keep flood water at bay and this has seriously disrupted Thailand’s manufacturing sector and has also caused supply chain shortages for in several industries.

Most of Bangkok is low-lying, being just one metre or less above sea level, while Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has predicted that the floods will take from four to six weeks to recede.

People are also being asked to boil tap water as flood water briefly breached the canal that provides the city with its drinking water and bottled water is now in short supply in shops and department stores around Bangkok.

Tony HS0ZDX describes it as a time of uncertainty for most residents of Bangkok, although he remains protected for the moment.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee, and Tony Waltham, HS0ZDX RAST International and IARU Liaison.

Turkey Earthquake – Update 1

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Received from Greg Mossop, G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator:

Radio Amateurs in Turkey remain active in the response to the earthquake in Van province on 23rd October.

Assistance has been given by TRAC in setting up VHF/UHF networks to relief agencies and some traffic is also being carried on the 144MHz band. Red Crescent, the Ministry of Health, local law enforcement agencies and the local command centre have been served so far.

The need for HF operations is reducing, however there is still a government station which may operate on 7.092MHz USB. Amateurs are still requested to be careful when operating between 7.092 and 7.095MHz to avoid interference to the ongoing relief operations.

Turkey Earthquake

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Received from Greg Mossop, G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator:

On 23rd October at 10.41UTC a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the Van region of Eastern Turkey causing great loss of life and hundreds of casualties. Radio Amateurs from the Turkish national society TRAC are responding to assist with communications in the area.
There are some frequencies in use on HF, currently used to link with Government resources and this is meaning that some frequencies outside the amateur bandplan and normal usage are being used until more equipment gets to the region. When this happens, more traffic should move to the normal Emergency Communications Centre of Activity frequencies.
Please avoid causing QRM to emergency traffic on 7.092 MHz USB. USB is being used to allow communications with a government station.
More information will be posted on this website when it is available from TRAC.”
Note that I have said that out of band frequencies may be used but not given them out on the website. The TRAC website is now only showing 3.500 LSB as a night time frequency.
On 23rd October at 10.41UTC a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the Van region of Eastern Turkey causing great loss of life and hundreds of casualties. Radio Amateurs from the Turkish national society TRAC are responding to assist with communications in the area.
There are some frequencies in use on HF, currently used to link with Government resources and this is meaning that some frequencies outside the amateur bandplan and normal usage are being used until more equipment gets to the region. When this happens, more traffic should move to the normal Emergency Communications Centre of Activity frequencies.
Please avoid causing QRM to emergency traffic on 7.092 MHz USB. USB is being used to allow communications with a government station.
More information will be posted on this website when it is available from TRAC.

Latest from flood hit Thailand

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Received from Greg Mossop, G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator:

The death toll from the most devastating flooding to hit Thailand in over 60 years following heavy rains since late July has now risen to almost  300.

Nearly three million people are said to have been affected by the floods and the disaster has caused serious damage to the country`s agriculture and other industries, with Japan`s Toyota, Sony and Honda along with USA’s Western Digital — and many other factories to the north of Bangkok — suspending production until the situation improves.

Damage so far has been assessed at more than 20 billon baht and 26 out of the country’s 77 provinces are affected, while Bangkok is bracing for a large amount of run-off water that is about to reach the city and which  will coincide seasonal high tides that will make it harder for the flood waters to flow out to sea.

Amateur radio has been assisting with flood relief communications, helping victims in the affected areas and operators are using the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) club station callsign HS0AC and a special flood relief centre with the callsign HS0AB has been established at Bangkok’s  Don Mueang Airport.

Please be formally advised that Thai radio amateurs are standing by on 144.900MHz, 145.000 MHz and 144.9375 MHz (VHF) as well as on frequencies of 7.063 and 7.060 MHz in the 40-metre HF band.

RAST is actively assisting in flood relief operations and the society is accepting donations by bank transfer to its Savings Account at the Krung Thai Bank (KTB), Pradipat Branch, Account Number 034-1-86101-4.

Here is a video showing activities at the special flood relief amateur radio station at Don Mueang Airport (in Thai):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m84ZW1xH8s

RAST is also posting information about developments to its web site at www.qsl.net/rast

RAST would like to thank the IARU in advance for notifying member societies of this disaster and of the emergency frequencies being used to help flood victims in Thailand at this time.

Owing to the volume of water and continuing rainfall, this emergency is likely to continue for many more days and we will notify the IARU Region 3 once things return to normal.

Sincere 73,

Tony Waltham, HS0ZDX

The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) under the Patronage of His Majesty the King.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee

via Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP, Secretary, IARU Region 3.

Flood crisis response by radio amateurs

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Received from Greg Mossop, G0DUB IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator:

Operators are requested to QSY away from 7.060-7.063MHz due to use by Thailand hams during the flood emergency.

Thai authorities continue to battle the country’s worst floods in decades with the death toll at some 280. The capital of Bangkok is under threat dispute sandbagging.

In outlying areas the floods have destroyed crops, inundated factories and damaged the homes or livelihoods of millions of people. About 110,000 people have sought refuge in shelters.

The flooding will continue for a week. The high tide will prevent the floodwaters escaping to the sea for a day or two while the recovery efforts may take a year.

The majority of flood radio traffic is being carried on the 2-metre band by volunteers, some which have had their homes inundated, and it’s not possible to estimate how many radio amateurs are involved.

The RAST headquarters station HS0AC is under threat from the flood waters. RAST International Liaison Officer Tony Waltham, HS0ZDX, has sent out an appeal to members and friends advising them of the extent of the flood disaster.

Earlier the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand donated an amateur radio repeater for use in flood relief communications.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.