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Communications

Ham Radio Served as Main Link to Disaster Area 380

SonicSpike writes "A University of Central Florida ham radio operator K4VUD (and founder of their film program) was caught in Port Blair during the earthquake and following tsunami! He and a team of other ham radio operators arrived in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to setup the region's first ham station 2 weeks prior to the disaster. Once they realized what happened they immediately began transmitting for 20 straight hours using car batteries as a power source. Most cellular and land-line communication was down. His team became the main link to the rest of the world from the region."
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Ham Radio Served as Main Link to Disaster Area

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  • That's life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:07AM (#11241715)
    Opportunity knocks on people's door in the most bizarre way. Yesterday they are just some university radio folks, today they are globally recognized.

    • Re:That's life (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the angry liberal ( 825035 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:14AM (#11241755)
      Opportunity knocks on people's door in the most bizarre way

      Not as much as you may think. The media likes to discover a lot of things that were obvious for many years, especially if they can hang on to the disaster-happy public long enough to play one more commercial or display another banner. Ham and CB radio have served in just about every natural or man-made disaster since they have been in the hands of citizens.

      I feel sadness inside everytime it occurs to me people think the reason to buy a two-way radio is to chit-chat about BS over public air-waves. These are powerful tools, baby.

      • Re:That's life (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tomstdenis ( 446163 )
        I've called my parents "news junkies" no less than 8 times this week.

        Try to explain to 50 yr olds that "oh, 120,000 dead in the tsunami? How many you think died in Iraq, Sudan, Africa and other countries last year?" As if this disaster [as bad as it is] is the ONLY place "bad things" are happening in the world.

        Not to mention the day to day deterioration of our civilization by those seeking material wealth. Little propatainment here, little get rich scam there, ...

        Yipee!
        • Not to mention the day to day deterioration of our civilization by those seeking material wealth. Little propatainment here, little get rich scam there, ...

          Yeah, that kind of goes both ways. With a partial consolidation of wealth, entities are able to compete against each other with greater resources and more people participating. For example, we would have not gotten to the moon without some level of greed and unity fueling us.

          The thing you have to watch out for are those who think Fox is a superior new
          • Re:That's life (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hard_Code ( 49548 )
            "For example, we would have not gotten to the moon without some level of greed and unity fueling us."

            Not to dispute your point, but the "space race" was a cold war pissing contest. Has getting to the moon really done much for us lately? Surely abstract technological progress has been made by funding space endeavors in general (and more specifically space probes and telescopes), and I'm not really knowledgeable enough to say whether it's worth the federal investment, but did we really need to send up some
            • Re:That's life (Score:4, Insightful)

              by the angry liberal ( 825035 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @01:13AM (#11242060)
              Not to dispute your point, but the "space race" was a cold war pissing contest.

              Right, but the nations are examples of this greed and a collective of resources. This was sort of my point.

              Has getting to the moon really done much for us lately? Surely abstract technological progress has been made by funding space endeavors in general (and more specifically space probes and telescopes), and I'm not really knowledgeable enough to say whether it's worth the federal investment, but did we really need to send up some guys to put a flag in the dirt (aside from political motivations of course)?

              Um, just about every electronic item you own, every "space-age" fabric you use, the technology used in your car, a better grasp of cheaper space travel, countless medical experiments with many positive results, etc. The list goes on and on. We have benefitted in many ways from this "pissing" contest. Yes, we paid great prices and it probably wasn't the best way, but it happened and we probably wouldn't have been so pressed to research and increase technology had there not been a foe there to incite us.
        • I've called my parents "news junkies" no less than 8 times this week.

          My mother watches at least 2-3 hours of Fox News every day. Sad really.
        • Yeah, though killing 120,000 plus people in 5 minutes is rather more catastrophic than religious fanatics fighting each other in a desert for 2000 years...

          Why stop now, just when I'm hating it?

      • The media likes to discover a lot of things that were obvious for many years

        I have seen this countless times. Most of them go something like "According to reports recently brought to light by [insert reporter here]" when all said reporter did was cite a document available for years at a public archive or pull out some obvious fact from an interview with an expert that anyone who was informed on the subject would already know.

        I think this is because many times simply reporting news is too boring. If it
      • Re:That's life (Score:5, Informative)

        by harmgsn ( 612057 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:13AM (#11242295) Homepage
        I hate to have to ruin my karma like this, but please refrain from lumping "HAM" operators with the CB groups. We frankly don't like that. Although, most "HAM" (amateur) operators usually train for stuff like this just incase we actually are needed. They have quite a few groups/classes that you can do to help learn where you fit in the 'disaster' picture.

        Although, I must admit, you at least nailed the point on the head with your second thought you put down. Amateur Radio operators don't just get their license to chit-chat about stuff. Most of us are here for when we're needed.

        Case in point: The recent streak of Hurricanes out around Florida. The Amateur Radio community had spotters in the field the entire time relaying information to the National Weather Service and the Hurricane Watch Center.

        A good resource for those of you interested in getting your Amateur Radio Service license is:

        http://www.arrl.org (Amateur Radio Relay League)

        It's considered the "voice" of the community and has quite a bit of news on there.
      • Re:That's life (Score:5, Informative)

        by Engineering Monkey ( 845801 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @06:36AM (#11243175)
        Actually, this is not really media contrived or a matter of opportunity knocking. I am part of the University of central Florida Amateur Radio Club [ucf.edu] (The Moderator can verify this if desired, I do not feel like giving out my email address to thousands).

        Dr. Harpole (K4VUD [qrz.com]) was actually part of what they called a DXpedition. Where he had gone , there had never in history been an officially sanctioned amateur radio station before. It was mere coincidence that he had been there 2 weeks prior that special permission had been granted for the radio operators to operate there. The ARRL has more on the DXpedition gone into emergency mode [arrl.org]

        Also, It should be noted that Dr. Harpole was not the only radio operator there. We have been keeping a series of links on this, however, which are available on the UCF Amateur Radio Club's wiki [ucf.edu].


        I would like to point out that I do not typically reply to Slashdot posts, however, this is actually something of which I am somewhat a part, and figure I should set things straight. (despite the fact people will still continute to put up off the wall posts on the subject anyway)
  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:09AM (#11241727)
    Wow what a great article! It was nice to read more about HAM radio operators! This is a good way to bring HAM radio into the limelight again! I'm sure they saved many lives!

    (The submitter and I just had three shots of espresso!)

    See, if you take out the exclamation points, it doesn't sound so insincere.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:10AM (#11241734)
    Well, I guess this is an "I told you so" from those who opposed BPL for ham-interference reasons.
    What do you care more for ... being able to read slashdot faster on BroadBand, or the lives of innocent little children? Easy enough question, to those of you who aren't terminally selfish.
    I think the Hams win this one.
      • What do you care more for ... being able to read slashdot faster on BroadBand, or the lives of innocent little children? Easy enough question, to those of you who aren't terminally selfish.

      You had a decent comment going until the bolded part. First of all the whole "it's for the children" argument's gotten pretty tainted in years past with Congress having used it to excuse how many different censorship acts in its name? At least two or three, all never got to take effect because of legal actions, all

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:10AM (#11241737) Homepage
    Just another reminder (the World Trade Center should serve as another one in recent memory) that Amateur radio frequencies should be protected from spectrum auctions and Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).

    Sometimes just making money isn't the best thing.

    73 - KL1SA

    • Wasn't the power out anyway?

    • by mvsopen ( 845746 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:33AM (#11241892)
      BPL just might spell the death of Amateur Radio. Think about it, for most of us, the original purpose of obtaining an amateur radio license was to

      a) To talk to people in distant places

      b) Perform public service (RACES/ARES, etc)

      c) Be able to fix/build/repair your own radio gear.

      Now, let's see what happens today:

      a) Anyone can plug in a $4 mic, use VoIP, and "talk" to almost anywhere on Earth, no license or self-study required.

      b) Whip out your cell phone. That is unless a disaster hits, and all the cell sites are down, or your 40 min. battery dies. Also the "big news guys" literally take over a cell site. CNN's truck logs in via cell at every major story, and keeps an open line as a backup. If even 200 reporters did this, kiss off any chance of getting a cell signal, since the towers would be overloaded

      c) How many parts inside a modern radio are actually user-servicable? I mean, I *can* probably replace a blown out chip-capacitor, if I had to, but when it is smaller than a pencil point, and 5 seconds of extra heat would wipe out the printed circuit board by lifting the traces, is this something you would want to do to a $2000 piece of amateur radio? The new ICOM rig sells for more than $10,000! Who would ever want to "modify" something like that? Rich de KY6O (Extra class license holder. Proof that if I can do it, anyone can. For more info on obtaining a license, see http://www.arrl.org/ [arrl.org] which is the official site of US amateur radio operations)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Two years ago, I was in Brazil when they had a huge flood. The only communication out was radio. Fortunately, I had my Icom 706 and was able to establish a CW link through an AO satellite.
  • The old story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:16AM (#11241768)
    Ham radio was and is useful when natural disasters happens, this is something the rest of the people knows only when it's too late.
  • 20hrs stright thats nuts let all pitch in and get them some bawls so they can go another few days non-stop.
  • Other Ham Heroes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr. No Skills ( 591753 ) <lskywalker@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:20AM (#11241802) Journal
    Sunday's Washington Post had an article on another Ham Radio operator (link [washingtonpost.com] - probably requires registration - sorry). A real life, very public example of why ham radio is important.
    • Re:Other Ham Heroes (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr2cents ( 323101 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:52AM (#11241983)
      This is exactly why there are field days twice a year.. Ok, under normal circumstances it's just a contest, but it is meant to be an exercise to set up a working radio station without external support within a minimum of time. That includes setting up a power supply, transceiver system and an antenna. In case of a disaster, information about the needs is the first step towards help.

      Ham operators have proven time upon time that when disaster strikes, they are upon the first to establish communications.
  • ok, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1.hotmail@com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:21AM (#11241806)
    well this is a feel good story and all, but I always wonder -- how exactly are these amateur radio operators helping in more than an anecdotal way during disasters? I mean, is it like they're ferrying critical rescue and operations traffic? I have a feeling not, because to do that, both they and the operators on the other side would have to be tied in to whatever government or agency is reaching out to help. And to have that be the case, there would have to be serious pre-disaster networks and agreements set up.

    I mean, this is similar to the relief organizations in the area now -- they keep telling regular people not to volunteer to fly to the region and help out, because what they really want are people who know what they're doing and part of the organization already, and can be deployed. A single ham radio operator on his/her own is not going to be that useful.

    So maybe I'm not really familiar with the true value of ham radio operators in situations like this -- can anyone give a more informed picture? Do they just serve to carry random individual messages of "I'm ok", until the military/relief authorities arrive and set up a real command communications network?

    thanks for the info.
    • Re:ok, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You fail to appreciate the importance of the words "I'm OK"

      73,WB2PFV
    • Re:ok, but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:40AM (#11241923) Homepage
      Well, idealy you would have hams already there, not flying in.

      Hams (at least those with interest) can be well trained in this area. They are trained to do everything from serve as simple phones for wellness traffic ("Hi mom, my house is gone but the dog is OK.") to assisting emergency relief personel (operating their radios for them to keep hands free, helping co-ordinate the operation by keeping information on everyone up to date on people's position, how many more people a relief station can handle so those in the field know where to take new ones, that there are X people with Y injuries that need to be medivaced, etc.)They are much more than normal people with "magic cell phones" that still work without the infrastructure.

      In the US you can find them doing ARES and RACES (I think those are the big two) which are disaster relief and such training to do the kind of things mentioned above. Not only do they do drills simulating traffic and operating without power and normal communications and stuff, the practice regularly by helping out with the running of parades and other public events to keep their skills sharp in doing that kind of thing.

      On my local repeater (RACES repeater, I think) every so often (Wed nights at some time) they practice carrying traffic between people. It's usually unimportant stuff (saying "hi" to friends, party invites, happy birthday, etc.) but they practice. Someone is incharge and they ask for messages and they go through them one by one. The guy with the message will say "this is ____ and I have a message for _____ in _____, can anyone carry it" (or something like that). Someone will volunteer (either they know the person or they will just call them or pass it on to the next 'net). The person sending the message and the person who volunteered will then chat (either there, or more frequently on a nearby empty frequency so things can keep moving along) and the message gets sent. It's all quite interesting actually.

      Hams do alot (besides just chat and also neat expirmatents trying to bounce signals off various layers of the atmosphere, the moon, mars, commets, asteroid showers, balloons, and anything else more than 5 feet in the air).

    • Re:ok, but... (Score:3, Informative)

      by kc8apf ( 89233 )
      In disaster situations, many different amateur radio groups become active. Most notable are ARES and RACES. Both of these are usually associated with major relief organizations (in the US, typically the Red Cross).

      While some of the traffic is just people saying that they are OK, lots of the traffic is critical emergency coordination traffic. This can be both ways as well. Incoming weather information and knowledge about what relief is coming can be very important.
    • Re:ok, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jburgess ( 167907 )
      Actually, we do much more than carry random individual messages of "I'm ok," although that is also an important part. The primary concern is health and welfare traffic. This means that we coordinate information between the disaster area and the relief organizations. You mentioned that there would have to be serious pre-disaster networks and agreements set up. There indeed are. The Red Cross is tied into the amateur radio world, and works very closely with us. We train regularly, through events and pra
    • Re:ok, but... (Score:3, Informative)

      Your assumptions are mostly correct.

      We train, practice and prepare to be useful at a moments notice. All on our own nickle.

      Arrangements do exist with many governemnts and agencies. In the US Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES - http://www.ares.org) and Radio Ameteur Civil Emergency System (RACES - http://www.races.net) are two common ones. The American Red Cross as well as The Salvation Army (SATERN - http://satern.org) have their own arrangements with hams.

      Traffic passed will be of "life and deat
    • Re:ok, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Belegothmog ( 712435 )
      So maybe I'm not really familiar with the true value of ham radio operators in situations like this -- can anyone give a more informed picture? Do they just serve to carry random individual messages of "I'm ok", until the military/relief authorities arrive and set up a real command communications network?

      This is a legitmate question, but the answer is in the article if you are familiar with ham radio "terms of art." In the article there are references to "helping to handle emergency traffic" and also "p

    • Re:ok, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 40ohms ( 528261 )
      Being one of those that has participated in communications for a disaster relief effort, I have seen some of the work hams do from being there. Some of the things they are doing are not done well by the military. The military has some communcations equipment, but they don't have the flexibility to communicate with many of the other law enforcement / relief groups. There are many efforts going on now on the ham bands to assist in the relief effort. One you might find interesting is a http://www.boatwatch [boatwatchnet.org]
  • Early Warning (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yoweigh116 ( 185130 ) <yoweigh@gmaiWELTYl.com minus author> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:26AM (#11241841) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if any of these operators were able to contact other costal cities before the wave hit there. I read somewhere that there was somehting like a 2 hour lag between the time the first and last places were hit. Think that would even be enough time to accomplish anything? -Yoweigh
    • I think the lag was even longer than that. It would be interesting to find out.

      Personally, I doubt it. It would require (among other things) that people first hit had hams around (may or may not be true depending on how remote the area was), that the hams were prepaired to operate without power and such (may or may not be true depending on how reliable power is), and that their station stood up to the force of the tsunami. The ham would also have to operate that soon after a disaster (could you find all yo

    • Re:Early Warning (Score:3, Informative)

      When the quake, and later, waves, hit Car Nicobar's Indian Air Force base, the people there immediately sent a wireless missive to their logistical HQ at Tambaram, Madras. The IAF folks at Madras informed their superiors in Delhi who in turn notified the Home Ministry. The trail got lethargic after that; there were apparently faxes, phone calls and such flying around, but little real action on the ground in the mainland, and definitely none to warn, mostly to mobilise aid to the Andaman Islands.

      Essentially

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:27AM (#11241852) Journal
    Coincidentally, when I was home for the holidays I saw an article about this in the Orlando Sentinel:

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/ or l-asectsunamiham01010105jan01,1,2331864.story

    It needs a free reg, or bugmenot.com

    It's really amazing what they did. Here's a snippet from the article:

    And with most telephone lines down and cell phones scarce, the ham-radio club's efforts proved invaluable as the scope of the disaster increased day after day.

    The first messages were to let people on the Indian mainland know that those on the island were safe and unharmed.

    A young waiter at Harpole's hotel asked them to get word to his mother in Hyderabad, India, that he was alive and well.

    "We found a ham-radio operator on the mainland, gave the mother's telephone number," Harpole said. Within five minutes a ham operator in Hyderabad called the waiter's mother and relayed the message.

    "He told us the mother was crying with joy," he said.

    Harpole's group cheered and clapped. Word spread quickly across the island, and their work went on for hours and hours.

    When Indian government officials learned of the hamradio operators, they relayed messages for official requests for medicines, water and blankets. Several of the radio operators headed south to Nicobar.
  • The article doesn't say - so I'd have to assume voice via Single Sideband and morse code.

    There are some very good ham digital modes suited to the high-frequency bands where l;ong distance communication is possible via reflection from the ionosphere. PSK31 works well for keyboard-to-keyboard use. Of particular note here is a system known as winlink (yes it is windows based). It is specifically designed for text email communications to and from remote locations where other communciations infrastructure d

  • by h4ckintosh ( 842712 ) <nathan.reid@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:46AM (#11241958) Homepage
    my cell phone carrier
  • by kg4gyt ( 799019 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:51AM (#11241982)

    Amateur radio has been used all over the world many many times during disaster. Hurricanes here in the states, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. They usually go unnoticed, despite being the only source of communication at times. Severe storm warnings are usually issued after HAMs report, via radio, that there is in fact a severe storm (after undergoing training of course). Without us even knowing it they can be a huge part of our daily lives.

    Its good to see that such a useful, threatened hobby can show one of its many goodsides to the world by helping out.

    73 de kg4gyt
  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:59AM (#11242018)
    The only reason the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were so familiar to me was because of ham radio. They're well known for being off limits to ham radio operators. I don't know why -- India's had lots of hams for years on the mainland, but they wouldn't let anyone do those islands. So they remained "rare ones" to the main DX award hunters. Hams have been going on "DXpeditions" to rare countries for years, sometimes financed by DXers looking for the contact and QSL card, and it was in the 1960s that I read some travelogues which mentioned trying and failing to get permission to go to "VU4". What's on those islands anyway? (Or what was?)

    It's a fortunate coincidence that Charly finally got permission to operate there only a short time before the tsunami!
    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @01:15AM (#11242066) Journal
      Some parts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to tribes that have had very little contact with the outside world and who have little or no natural immunity against the illnesses that most of the rest of us take for granted.

      They've had cases where vast swathes of these tribes have been wiped out by things like measles, influenza, etc, with recorded instances of deadly outbreaks as far back as the 18th and 19th centuries.

      Hence, for their own protection, access to those people has been limited. I guess it's easier to spot a fair-skinned Westerner as being an outsider and avoid them accordingly than it is to do the same with mainland Indians who share similar complexions. Even so, you need a permit to visit the islands, and that's why.
      • I've been working on a project in the A&N Islands the last couple of years so I know a bit about this: There are a couple of reasons the islands have been off-limits. The main one is defence security. If you look at a map of the Indian Ocean, the A&N Islands are at the opposite corner of the ocean from mainland India - much closer to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. As a result a significant chunk of India's navy and air force are stationed there - think forward positioning. One of the first major casualties of the tsunami was the Indian Air Force base on Car Nicobar islands in the extreme south, which was totally wiped out. Even now, foreigners are allowed to visit the northern Andamans, but are prevented from travelling to the southern Nicobars unless they have special permission. Protecting the native tribes is a much less significant concern. There are around 300-400k mainland Indians living in the Andamans now (plus a bunch of migrant Burmese and Bangladeshis) so preventing the transmission of diseases isn't really an issue anymore, with the possible exception of the 200-odd Sentinelese living on North Sentinel Island.
  • I can remember going to field days for many years setting up complete communications centers in the middle of nowhere. One thing I always realized about 99% of those into amatuer radio is that they were always ready, willing and prepared to get into the middle of things.
    As others have pointed out, HAMs have helped out in most every major disaster in recent history.

    Jerry KB8GIG
    http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

  • by phlatulance ( 845759 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @01:24AM (#11242099)
    From my experience, it is almost common for public service to ask the help of Ham radio operators in time of crisis. My local county and state OEM requires them for storm spotting. They might not be the first on the scene, but they will endure and are more flexable than any other form of communications. Talk to fire fighters, police, and other public service personel that served during the wildfires in the west, 9/11 in NYC, and various other disasters. Hams put their lives on hold to help others. The take thousands of dollars of their gear to remote location and provide a service free of charge. All they ask is some respect and bandwidth to "play radio." I think its more important than broadband to remote locations.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:56AM (#11242447) Journal
    On the topic of Ham radios during disasters, I would like to bring up something that annoys me to no end...

    Why in the hell is it that emergency services aren't equipt to handle anything but a normal day? When some idiots have assault weapons and body armor, police are practically helpless (they got lucky, actually). When there is anything larger than a house fire, firefighters don't have the equipment, training, numbers, etc. When there are real emergencies, police, firefigters and ambulance services don't have any working and practical communications equipment at all. It seems the more developed our country becomes, the more emergency services depend on the very infrastructure that will be first to fail when it's really needed...

    It's clear that local (city/county, sometimes state) governments are to blame. They cause flood damage by approving roads to be built, but don't account for drainage, and allow homes to be built in the obvious path of flood waters. In the worst areas, they may even build storm-drains, but do nothing to keep they clear, rending them completely useless wastes of money. Emergency services in flood-prone areas never seem to have the equipment that would make it easy to perform the necessary rescues, meaning people die, money is wasted, etc.

    They allow homes to be built near wooded areas, prone to major fires, and don't do the slightest bit of maintenance on those areas to prevent major fires. I've heard of only one city in Southern California that spends a small ammount of money to clear brush, why don't the rest? Firefighters are helpless against forrest-fires, and yet, the preventative controlled burns (the method previously used) have even been stopped.

    Hospitals are now (finally) required to have a generator, but only required to have enough capacity to stay up for a short time (a couple days IIRC) when blackouts can last far longer. Besides hospitals, emergency services depend greatly on the power grid, and rarely have the generators they need (typically short-term battery power) so they are the least able to handle emergencies, when they are needed THE MOST.

    The point of all of this is simple... What the hell is the good of having a local government, if they aren't taking care of the real necessities? Local governments are needed for the very things they are now neglecting to do, so why not get rid of them all-together? The basic things can be handled by the state government anyhow (police, fire, medical, schools, etc) so if we aren't going to be well-served by local governments, why keep them on as a leech, taking our tax dollars and spending them on trivial things few of us want, and most of us feel like we are getting ripped-off by?

    Personally, of course I would prefer if local governments would just start doing their jobs, but since that's not happing, I'd like to see them abolished, rather than keeping the status-quo. What good are they, as is?
  • An Incorrect Report (Score:3, Informative)

    by afarhan ( 199140 ) <farhan@nOsPam.phonestack.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:04AM (#11242476)
    The report that a US amateur was on the island is completely incorrect.

    The DXpedition was under the Aegis of National Institute of Amateur Radio (India) and it was lead by Ms. Bharati (VU2RBI), an Indian. I know this, because I saw them off to Nicobar islands a few weeks ago and I have been monitoring their traffic over the last week. They are due back on the mainland today sometime. Read the list of the the operators and the [niar.org] ARRL's version [arrl.org]

  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @01:36PM (#11245816) Homepage Journal
    An article on blogging, as contained in the Dec. 27th issue of 'Time' magazine, made a reference to ham radio as a "faintly embarassing" hobby.

    I wonder if the operators of that station find it so? Especially since they're providing a most valuable service that the (supposedly) much tougher public infrastructure failed to?

    The same thing happened with the Nisqually Quake [rice.edu] in 2001. Within minutes after the shocks subsided, landline phones and cellphone networks alike were overwhelmed into non-functionality.

    Guess what stayed up and working through the whole affair? Yep. Ham radio VHF and UHF repeaters, and HF nets.

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