The Odisha government has roped in amateur radio operators in a desperate bid to set up communication bases along the Odisha-Andhra coastline where cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit on Sunday.
The cyclone with wind speeds is expected to snap all terrestrial communication systems.
In such a scenario, amateur radio, also called ham radio, will become the only medium for the government to coordinate relief operations and exchange critical messages between government bodies, the two states and also with New Delhi.
Eight people will go to Odisha and four to Andhra Pradesh. The control rooms will be set up in Sodepur (Bengal), Vizag and Bhubaneswar. A three-member team from the National Institute of Amateur Radio will be posted in Visakhapatnam.
Amateur radio participants use radio communication equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs through airwaves for public services, recreation and self-training. Ham operators have worked in disasters like cyclone Aila and the Bhuj earthquake. Emails can also be sent through in areas with no other active communication systems.
In a letter to West Bengal Radio Club and director of the National Institute of Amateur Radio, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority acknowledged that the ham systems were successfully used during cyclone Phailin by erecting “failproof” communication systems.
“We’ve put together an eight-member team from Bengal to handle the assignment. We will set up mobile bases at key areas,” said Amabarish Nag Biswas, a licenced amateur radio operator.