A few hours after a landslip occurred at Kavalappara near Nilambur on August 9, all the communication lines had been cut off. Power failure combined with the breakdown of mobile servers threatened to even affect official communication in the region, if not for Home Amateur Machine (HAM) radios.
A HAM radio repeater system of the Malabar Amateur Radio Society connected Kavalappara with the Nilambur Taluk Office and the Collectorate in Malappuram when even the police wireless system had failed.
Coordinator of the Society Tajudeen Iringavoor contacted the Malappuram District Collector as soon as he got the information regarding the landslip, anticipating a communication failure. “We have been part of several disaster management drills and had expected such an occurrence,” Mr. Tajudeen said. The society set up radio stations at the Collectorate, Kavalappara and Nilambur Taluk office in no time.
The Society had played a similar role during the floods in 2018 as well. “We could locate around 5,000 families through our network upon requests from their relatives overseas,” Mr. Tajudin said.
HAM radios are operated by technically qualified experts from various professions, who have been licensed by the Ministry of Communication.
The Society had recently received the licence for D-Star, to be the first Digital Voice Repeater Station in India. The station, which works completely on solar power, will be set up soon at a cost of ₹6 lakh. The society has been training HAM radio technicians for year. There are around 250 such trained technicians, 80 of them being active members of the society, who are ready to work at the face of any disaster.