Malaysian floods get MARTS emcomm help
Severe flooding described as the worst for a long time in the north of Malaysia during the monsoon season has taken five lives with about 160,000 people evacuated. Johnny Tan 9M8DB of the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitters' Society (MARTS) says emcomm operators are active on 7.110 MHz, with 3.600MHz likely to be tested for late night links to maintain links to handle disaster traffic.
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MARTS asks all to avoid causing QRM of these centre-of-activity emergency frequencies. He reports that the 50w stations are in Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Kemaman and Bachok with 50 watts using NVIS propagation. Johnny 9M8DB says initially VHF/UHF repeaters were used, but severe flooding had affected power supply and batteries with the switch to HF being made. Official recognition has received including permission for the MARTS emcomm operations to carry third party traffic.
In some places rescuers are faced with rows of house rooftops popping up from muddy water. Seasonal flooding hits Malaysia this time each year, but experts describe it as being the worst since at least 2004, and communications have also been badly hit.
Meanwhile in neighbouring Thailand, disaster zones have been declared in eight southern provinces after floods there killed at least 13 people with 184,000 households affected.
- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.
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