West Bengal Radio club bats for better warning during calamities

Kolkata: The West Bengal Radio Club (amateur club) that works in close coordination with the state government during natural calamities has sent a proposal to the state Disaster Management department to build up the infrastructure for linking the amateur radio repeater with internet for uninterrupted connectivity during a natural disaster.
"In areas struck by a natural disaster, the entire communication system goes in disarray. An amateur radio repeater is an electronic device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation. If this repeater can be linked with uninterrupted internet at the nearest place of the affected area where it is available then communication will be at the very best," Ambarish Nag Biswas, founder secretary of Amateur Radio Club said.
Licensed ham radio operators have a technology named eco link installed on their android phones and by using this they can access any repeater that is connected with the internet.
The Radio club accessed the repeater of Amateur Radio Club based in California and conducted a mock drill on tsunami in three coastal areas of Bengal-North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore in presence of the district administration on November 24. An interface device was made and internet was linked with ham radio. The mobile towers were deactivated at seven points in the coastal areas of these three districts and it was illustrated that how this technology can be used for uninterrupted connectivity. A number of state government departments like Irrigation, Power, Health etc took active part in the mock drill that was organised with the initiative of state Disaster Management department.
It is learnt that the principal secretary of Disaster Management Civil Defence and Home Guard Suresh Kumar has expressed his interest in embracing the technology for putting this infrastructure in place in the state. Kumar is infact a life member of the Club.
The Club on December 14 made hands on presentation at the telecommunication department of state police regarding this technology in presence of the head of the California based ham radio club Gregory K Lee. Additional Director General (ADG) telecom Debasish Roy was also present.
The Radio Club has been working with the state government at the Gangasagar Mela for the last few years. When Aila had hit Sunderbans in 2009, a team led by Nag Biswas was instrumental in establishing communication system.
A few days back, the Ham Radio operators conducted a workshop with the students at the Jadvapur University (JU) Community Radio Station and discussed how amateur radio can establish connection where all modes of communication is jeopardized in case of a natural disaster." Vice chancellor of JU Suranjan Das said.
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