Japanese Hams Still Providing Communications Support

From the 3/24/11 issue of the ARRL Letter:

JA Quake Statistics

This map shows the effect of the March 11 earthquake. Click for a larger image.

Amateur Radio operators became involved in the rescue effort soon after the March 11 8.9 earthquake and devastating tsunami that hit northern Japan, and that effort continues nearly two weeks later. “In the early stage following the earthquake and tsunami, several radio amateurs were able to activate their stations with car batteries or small engine generators, despite the electric power outages,” IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP, told the ARRL. “They transmitted rescue requests and information on the disaster situation — including refugee centers and their needs — and the availability of basic infrastructures, such as electricity, water and gas supplies.” After the earthquake and tsunami, there was no electricity, water or gas service in many of the affected areas.

In his report to the ARRL, Yamamoto said that the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) activated JA1RL — its headquarters station in Tokyo — soon after the earthquake. With the help of many other amateurs, it also activated its regional headquarters station JA3RL in Osaka to communicate with the amateurs in the damaged areas, including its Tohoku headquarters station JA7RL in Sendai. “The communications were mostly on the 7 MHz band in daytime and the 3.5 MHz band at night,” Yamamoto explained. “Short range communications were also made on the 144 and 430 MHz bands. The information gathered through Amateur Radio communications was reported to the rescue and disaster relief organizations for their appropriate deployment. Some other amateurs accepted health-and-welfare inquiries from the [impacted] areas and they posted the information on the Internet.”

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