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Amateur Radio "Saved Lives" in South Asia

NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 29, 2004--As governments and relief organizations attempt to gauge the scale of death and devastation from the December 26 South Asia earthquake and tsunami and to aid the victims, Amateur Radio operators throughout the stricken region are offering their services as emergency communicators. The death toll from the disaster now is being estimated at upward of 60,000. Thousand remain unaccounted for, millions have been left homeless and many are without food or water. Victor Goonetilleke, 4S7VK, president of the Radio Society of Sri Lanka (RSSL), reports that "uncomplicated short wave" radio saved lives.

"Ham radio played an important part and will continue to do so," he said in an e-mail relayed to ARRL. Goonetilleke said that even Sri Lanka's prime minister had no contact with the outside world until Amateur Radio operators stepped in. "Our control center was inside the prime minister's official house in his operational room," he recounted. "[This] will show how they valued our services."

Goonetilleke reports that even satellite phones failed, and only the Amateur Radio HF link remained open. One problem: Batteries were running out, and there are no generators to recharge them.

Charly Harpole, K4VUD/HS0ZCW, now in Bangkok, Thailand, reports he's been helping to handle emergency traffic to India on 20 meters. Harpole's scheduled appearance this week on NBC's Today show apparently was scratched, although he has told ARRL that CNN has contacted him about an interview.

Harpole had been visiting the VU4RBI/VU4NRO DXpedition in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck.

The DXpedition's sponsor, the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) in India, told ARRL that the DXpedition team is continuing its communication efforts at the government's request on behalf of rescue and relief operations in that region. "Ham radio is the main link from the people of Andaman Island to people all over," said S. Suri, VU2MY, the NIAR's chairman and director.

Many radio amateurs on the Indian mainland are said to be pitching in to handle emergency and health-and-welfare traffic. Some communication has been on CW and PSK31 to overcome poor conditions and interference.

Wyn Purwinto, AB2QV, relayed information he received via the Indonesia Amateur Radio Organization (ORARI). He notes that the government of Indonesia's Aceh province has banned Amateur Radio since the rebel uprising in that region, and he's asked the Aceh government to lift the ban so Indonesian amateurs can handle emergency traffic. Aceh was among the most severely affected regions in Indonesia.

Some emergency communication between amateurs in the North Sumatra capital of Medan has been established with the Aceh provincial capital of Banda Aceh on 80 meters and with the east coast city of Lhokseumawe through a linked VHF repeater.

Purwinto says YB6ZZ or YB6ZES are serving as net control stations of a national emergency net using 7.055 and 21.300 MHz as well as several linked VHF repeaters throughout northern Sumatra and along the west coast of Malaysia. He reports Anto, YD6AT, is standing by on 3.815 MHz in Banda Aceh. He reports several cities in coastal areas of Sumatra experienced power, telecommunication and water outages.

The Wireless Institute of Australia has asked its members to monitor HF frequencies and report any requests for assistance. view entire article>>>

In the early morning hours of October 24, 2002, trucker Ronald Lantz became a national hero for his part in helping to catch two snipers who had been terrorizing the Washington, DC area. As it turns out, amateur radio, a distant medium wave radio signal, and a late night truckers program all played a part in the snipers being caught.

While driving between Wilmington, Delaware and the rest area in Meyersville, Maryland, Lantz was listening to WLW Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio. The program he was listening to was the Truckin' Bozo radio show hosted by amateur radio operator WB6OM. During the program there was a description of the snipers' car and licence plate which led Lantz to recognize it at the rest area. From there he called 911 and proceeded to block the exit to the rest area at the request of the police.

Lantz, whose CB Radio handle is Sugar Shack, had attended a prayer meeting with other truckers just a day or two before. He told the press, "I now know God answers prayers."

Sources:,, Dayton Daily News via Artie Bigley via DX Listening Digest,



Adventist World Radio takes pleasure in announcing the results of our big "Wavescan" DX contest that ran throughout the month of September 2002. A large number of entries came in from all areas of the world and the general quality of these entries was most excellent indeed. So great was the response to this year's contest that additional levels of awards were introduced, and an additional new QSL card has been printed.


Following an appraisal of all entries, "Wavescan" announces the World Winners for the year 2002. The First Place winner will receive the coveted Bronze Medallion, and all three will receive an autographed copy of Jerry Berg's book, "On the Shortwaves". The three World Winners for 2002 are:-
First Peter Boeck Offenbach Germany
Second Nucio Ribas Parana Brazil
Third Dr. Floyd Layer Terre Haute Indiana USA


The additional Continental Winners will receive a copy of the 2003 edition of either "Passport to World Band Radio" or "World Radio TV Handbook". The Continental Winners for 2002 are:-

Africa David L. Gordon South Africa
Americas Ruben G. Margenet Argentina
Asia Nobuya Kato Japan
Europe Gunter Jacob Germany
Pacific Peter Grenfell New Zealand
North America Matthew Weitendorf USA


In addition, a new category was established and this is listed as "Entries of Merit" and each will receive an AWR Souvenir. The Merit Winners this year are:-

Africa Ghana Charles Wompiah
  Tunisia Achraf Chaabane
Asia China Dong Haojun
  India Santosh Kumar Biswas
  Indonesia M. D. Jayadi
  Japan Iwao Nagatani
The Americas Mexico Ivan Lopez Alegria
  Trinidad Richard Chen
Europe Austria Heinz Haring
  Bulgaria Rumen Pankov
  Denmark Hans Verner Lollike
  England Patrick Jeffers
  France Christian Ghibaudo
  Germany Dieter Kraus
  Ireland Jonathan Murphy
  Italy Regolatto Bruno
  Lithuania Robertas Petraitis
  Russia Feodor Brazhnikov
  Sweden Bjorn Fransson
  Ukraine Sergey Kolesov
Middle East Saudi Arabia Y. V. Nizar
North America Canada Wade Smith
  USA A. Lisowski
  USA Gordon Blom
Pacific Australia Hans Klesinger

* PART A in this year's DX contest invited listeners to submit the details of their first shortwave QSL. Among the shortwave stations that featured frequently in this category were:- Radio Netherlands, HCJB Quito Ecuador, Radio Australia, Voice of America, Radio Sweden, Radio Canada International and Adventist World Radio.

* PART B of the contest invited listener's to submit the details of their first AWR QSL. Details of a wide variety of cards and a wide dispersion of dates were presented, and the earliest was submitted by Peter Grenfell in New Zealand. His first AWR QSL card was for a reception report dated November 14, 1971 for a transmission from Sines in Portugal on 9670 kHz. This verification confirms reception just 45 days after the inaugural broadcast from Adventist World Radio. The earliest AWR QSL we have seen was issued to Barry Riddiford in Australia for reception on October 31, 1971, just 31 days after the inaugural broadcast. Details of this card were submitted in an earlier Wavescan contest.

* PART C in the contest required three reception reports on AWR broadcasts and each of these will be verified with standard AWR QSL cards, as well as the new card and the special limited edition cards that were announced earlier. Each card wll be endorsed for the 2002 contest and similar QSL stamps will also be issued.

* PART D invited listeners to submit three radio cards for the AWR Historic Collection and the variety of these cards is quite remarkable. Albums containing these cards are demonstrated at radio conventions in various countries.

* PART E requested a recording of a local shortwave station and a large number of these were submitted from many different countries. Beginning in the New Year, we are planning to introduce these recordings on air in Wavescan.

Adventist World Radio would like to thank each Wavescanner who entered the 2002 contest and we express appreciation for the radio cards that were sublmitted, and also for the recordings for use in Wavescan. We would like to invite you to enter the 2003 contest which is scheduled to run during the month of September and it will invite listeners to submIt a list of unique QSLs; that is, QSLs that you own that you consider no one else in the world has. Once in a lifetime frequency usage, emergency broadcasts, emergency transmitters, transmitter on wrong frequency, mistaken frequency entry, harmonic radiations, etc, etc?


Year World Winner City Country Name of Contest
2003 Who? Which? Where? Unique QSLs
2002 Peter Boeck Offenbach Germany My First QSL
2001 Achraf Chaabane Sfax Tunisia Most Beautiful QSL Cards
2000 Jose Jacob Hyderabad India AWR QSL Stamps
  Thomas Drescher Rosrath Germany AWR QSL Stamps
1999 Ron Killick Christchurch N Zealand Largest QSL Collections
1998 Hans Gosdschan Cottbus Germany World's Largest QSL Cards
1997 John Wilkins Denver USA World's Smallest QSL Cards
1996 William Matthews Columbus USA AWR QSLs
1995 Arthur Cushen Invercargill N Zealand Five Best QSLs
1984 Salvatore Placanica Cairo Italy RMI Program Content
  Johannes Weidlein Schorndorff Germany RMI Program Content
1983 Andrew Ellwell Sydney Australia DX Club Programs
1982 Andrew Ellwell Sydney Australia Logging DX Programs
1981 Bryan Marsh Auckland N Zealand Answer Ten Questions
1980 Bryan Marsh Auckland N Zealand Identify SW Stations
  Gordon Darling Caversham England Identify SW Stations
1979 Ashok Kumar Bose Kolkata India Spot the Mistake
1978 Douglas Doull Auckland N Zealand Identify ID Signals
1977 Victor Goonetilleke Colombo Sri Lanka AWR Program Outlets

Adran Petersen. Director. International Relations. November 2002.

From AWR website






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