As powerful cyclone Biparjoy, packing wind speeds up to 140 kilometres per hour, threatens to cripple communication networks after landfall on the Gujarat coast on Thursday evening, authorities have turned to HAM radio for smooth exchange of information.
Learning from past experiences, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) has deployed six HAM radio teams, two of them in Kutch, and mobile units for seamless communication after Biparjoy hits the shore near Jakhau port.
HAM radio is considered a reliable mode of messaging during emergencies when wirelines, mobile phones and other traditional terrestrial means of communication fail. Also known as amateur radio, HAM radio involves the use of radio frequency spectrum for non-commercial exchange of messages.
GSDMA has deployed six teams with HAM radio units where the impact of the cyclone will likely be the most. Of them, two are in Kutch, Dr Kausal Jani, HAM radio operator of GSDMA, told PTI.
During a cyclone, when all communication networks fail and electricity is not available, HAM radio works, he said. It does not require any mobile tower or internet to make calls, he explained.
This mode of communication is quite useful in such disasters, he said.
We can communicate emergency requirements through HAM radio like the need for ambulances or call disaster response teams when people require to be rescued, he said.
When cyclone Tauktae hit the coast in May 2021, communication and electrical networks were down for six days, said Gaurav Prajapati of GSDMA. We had to communicate through (HAM) radio only, said the official.
A mobile HAM radio unit has also been deployed in Jakhau, where the cyclone is likely to make landfall in the evening. PTI