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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Monday, January 03, 2005

She's Not All Talk

posted by The One True Tami at 1/03/2005 01:17:00 PM


Been a while since I posted here, so I thought I'd pipe up with a story about some folks (although only one is mentioned by name) who made a difference immediately after the tsunami.

A woman on a hobby expedition turned out to be a welcome source of communications in India. Wave of Destruction, Wave of Salvation (registration probably required).

She was there to work a ham radio connection in an area of the world where such things are strictly regulated by the Indian government and not at all common.
PORT BLAIR, India -- About one month ago, Bharathi Prasad and her team of six young ham radio operators landed in this remote island capital with a hobbyist's dream: Set up a station and establish a new world record for global ham radio contacts. In the world of ham slang, it was called a "Dxpedition."
When the quake hit, the hobby angle went out the window, and disaster relief mode kicked in. She set up a station on her hotel lawn using a generator. As it turns out, she was able to establish communications with the outside world when there was no power or phone lines. This is the kind of work that a lot of ham operators prepare for. Sure, the hobby is fun for people with technical leanings, but it's also an excellent resource during any kind of disaster. Ham radio can be used under the kind of conditions that cause other technologies to crumble and fail. A lot of people don't know this, and I'm personally thrilled to see it mentioned in the media. I've had my license for a little over a year, now, so I'm really biased.

Some web sites you can look at if you want to look into the whole ham/disaster relief thing:
Amateur Radio Disaster Services
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
National Association for Amateur Radio home page

They were talking about this on Slashdot, as well. A lot of the comments focus on the fact that broadband over power lines (BPL) is a proposed technology that can cause interference with radio signals. It's an interesting discussion, although be warned that sometimes Slashdot comments discussions get a bit... juvenile. OK, a lot juvenile. But if you like techie stuff, you've probably already read stuff like this, anyway.