Posted by: GW7AAV | November 11, 2011

Thailand’s Amateurs set an example

One of the great things about amateur radio over the years has been how having friends all around the world can make you feel less insular. It is a pity I have to use the word ‘can’ because even in such a global hobby bigotry is still all around us. For me it has brought me a feeling of being closer to world events but these days with the Internet and the ability to travel a lot more folk are starting to realise that this is a shrinking world and we are all on it together.

Not that many years ago when there was a disaster in some far off country it never even crossed my mind that it could be anything to do with me. Amateur radio however has put me in the position of knowing people on both sides of military conflict, who have lost there homes due to forest fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes and suddenly far off events become so much more personal.

This week the issues surrounding the floods in Thailand were brought home to me as I realised I know not only several Thai amateurs that have been effected, but that two UK hams I know had to cut short their trips to the country and my own brother’s holiday there had been cancelled.

Amateur radio has saved around 1,000 lives in this disaster by coordinating rescue communications in cases of medical emergencies. Radio amateurs have been helping by providing communications support and this have been especially helpful in flooded areas where several mobile phone cell sites have failed.  Amateur radio repeaters were kept busy and government agencies have taken advantage of the amateur radio communications infrastructure when their own networks failed or where there has been interference, such as when many different agencies are trying to communicate simultaneously on nearby frequencies from a central location. Thailand’s radio amateurs have been an essential part of the relief and rescue efforts in the country’s worst flooding for sixty years.

Through communications comes understanding and through our actions we can set an example to the world. Well done to those hard working Thai radio amateurs for setting an example and showing the world a small glimpse of what being a ham is all about.

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