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Great efforts by Philippine hams

Date : 08 / 12 / 2014
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The emergency communications provided by hams continues as the devastating Typhoon Hagupit (locally called Ruby) moves slowly across the Philippines. Thelma Pascua DU1IVT, Philippines Amateur Radio Society (PARA) Chief Operating Officer reports that both 7.095 MHz and 144.740 MHz is in use by the Ham Emergency Radio Operations (HERO) network. "As Typhoon Hagupit enters its third day ham operators continue to provide essential traffic as the storm progresses through Philippine territory," she said.

PARA, the IARU member society, has sent requests to the neighbouring ORARI in Indonesia, and JARL in Japan, asking for help to publicise the need for all operators to steer clear of the 40 metre frequency used for emergency traffic. Thelma DU1IVT said, "A HERO volunteer and RADNET-5 President Ronald Madera DW5NLH from Tacloban advised that the Oras West Elementary School used as evacuation centre in Eastern Samar has collapsed, resulting in injuries to evacuees. A rescue team was despatched and this event was to be covered by a news team."

At the height of the typhoon there were no HERO volunteers in the provincial capital of Borongan. That shortage resulted in a HERO request via Captain Rick Catungal DV6RCC, an Army Captain managing disaster communications in Capiz, and through the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Metro Manilla. Gil Lappay 4F2KWT helped in providing contacts with a relay of messages were needed until the request was received.

Confidence that the HERO network could adequately handle all emergency traffic was shown by around 150 stations that checked in. As the typhoon was on the move, hams reported the weather and any other developments into the emergency net. The net controllers are Romy Isidro DU1SMQ (PARA District 1 Manager), Jojo Vicencio, DU1VHY (PARA Secretary General and National Traffic System Chairman) and Thelma Pascua DU1IVT (PARA Chief Operating Officer). The HERO network running basically from 7am and 7pm has 2pm roll calls to know each station's reception capabilities at differing propagation. "We are confident that emergency traffic will be adequately serviced," she said.

At the request of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), radio amateurs set up at the NTC Central Office that identifies as DX1NTC. The task of manning the station is given to PARA affiliate club ACER (DX1ER). The initial operators include Raul DU1VFS, Mike, DW1VJD and a good CW operator, Conrad, DU1TDG. Helping to keep that team in action with provisions and logistics are Nards DU1LC, Joe, DU1IL and other ACER members. The NTC regional offices have also set up stations. From NTC Region 3 Alex DU3AL, Bong DU3BS, Ka Diego DU3DYG; Region 6 assisted by the Panay Amateur Radio Club and PARA District 6 Manager Ned DU6NE with the constant monitoring of Bobby DU6BG. Other stations were reporting local conditions. Nanding DW5OCF on Ormoc City, Southern Leyte; Jay DV7JAY, Sidney DW7EEE and DW7EQN on Cebu; Art DV7DRG at Dumaguete City with the rest of NORAD 7 members; embedded members in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Operations Centre (OpCen), Edmund DV7DTE, Ivan DV7DRP reporting wind conditions in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental - all the way to the Bicol area with DX4CN embedded in the Daet Camarines Norte National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reporting efforts with Lito DU4DF in Naga City. Ditoy, DW1OZR is reporting from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, on the evacuation efforts in a precautionary measure, prior to the typhoon making landfall in Mindoro.

The typhoon is expected to make a six (6) landfalls before it eventually exits the Philippine Area of Responsibility. ACCESS-5 members 4Nelson, DW5MGB and Edgar DV5EST will be going to Borongan Eastern Samar to set up HF communications on 7.095 MHz and VHF. Mario 4F5MM and Jerick 4F5JMS will be going to Catarman, Northern Samar as part of the assessment team from the Office of Civil Defence.

Nathan DU5AOK was able to talk to Mayor Mabalcon of Paranas, Samar earlier in the day and the Mayor said "the presence of many volunteers is very encouraging". Lester DV5PO is reporting about Borongan, Eastern Samar. His report will
be vital to those awaiting his assessment of the aftermath in his area. Other hams are embedded in the different disaster and risk reduction operations centres in the different local government units.

Iver DV6ILA and Arnel DV6WAV are manning the Roxas City operations centre. ACCESS-5 is attached with the Office of Civil Defence, Leyte Province. Vie DU5VIE of RADNET-5 at the Tacloban City CDRRMC operations center. Ton, DW1QGG
is embedded as operator with the Marinduque authorities. Dulce, DU4UW is attached to disaster communications at the Sorsogon on the Bicol Peninsula at southern tip of Luzon.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.


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