Amateur Radio (ham radio) Operators Working Round The Clock To Save Lives.

Amateur radio operators from Kerala, Chennai and Goa are working round the clock to save lives of people stranded in the flood in “God’s own country” Kerala.

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Before we go into the story, let’s understand what Amateur or Ham radio operator is. Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even sometimes into the space. It does not even require Internet or cell phones. It's fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.

In India we have almost 16,000 licensed Amateur Radio Operators, coming from all walks of life. Rajeev Gandhi was an amateur radio enthusiast too. These operators are not only about fun and Mores codes, they have played an instrumental role in saving lives during the time of crisis. For example during Chennai floods, 2015.

M Harsha of Tiruvanmiyur, a purchasing officer during the day and Amateur Ham Operator after work, has been nothing short of a superhero without a cape. He not only helped during Chennai floods but is also playing an important role in saving lives in Kerala. The operators volunteering for relief work are from various walks of life - doctors, agriculturalists, IT professionals etc.

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On August 16, he helped get an elderly couple in Aluva to safety while working from his home in Chennai. “I received a call from my friend that his grandparents were stranded on the terrace of their house. Through the ham radio Echolink on my laptop I contacted my team base in Aluva, while simultaneously messaging the details to a nearby Army base, and they were rescued,” said Harsha to TOI.

So far these unsung heroes have received more than 7,000 messages and were able to help in rescuing 855 people across Kerala. Among them were 45 airline crew members stranded in a hotel in Aluva and they even assisted in large scale evacuation of tea workers from an estate in Kumily.

There are more than 120 ham operators all over Kerala receiving and sending messages of people who are stranded or in need of medical aid, so that help could reach them on time. Messages are received through WhatsApp, phone calls or licensed ham operators stationed at every nook and corner, who then forwards the messages through control stations, where they verify and send it across to the rescue crew.

The best part about Ham radios are that they are either battery-operated or are solar powered, so floods and power failure hardly affects them. That makes them most effective source of communication in such circumstances.

Amateur Radio Operators, are indeed heroes who stay in the background helping the rescue team in saving lives. Hats off to them.  

Picture Source : Dailyhunt ; Times of India ; Daily Express

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