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Amateur Radio Operators Provide Post-Hurricane Communications in Mexico



Radio Amateurs are providing communication services to and from the affected areas in and around Acapulco, Mexico.


On the morning of Wednesday, October 25, 165 mile-per-hour winds from Hurricane Otis knocked out all communications and unleashed a nightmare scenario in Acapulco.


The area is home to roughly 800,000 people.


Radio Club Queretaro member Ruben Navarrete Galvan, XE1EC, told ARRL News that amateur radio operators are still active with multiple operations, and they are receiving citizen requests to obtain information on the whereabouts of their relatives.


"We keep an online database with these requests that we share with the different hams participating in the operation. Read-only access to this database is provided to the authorities who might need it, too. We also transmit this information to hams deployed in the Acapulco area via HF," Galvan said.


Additionally, hams in the Acapulco area are trying to locate civilians using their own resources. Some of these hams are operating their equipment on battery power, while others have access to generators. Accessing many areas in the region has been a challenge due to the amount of debris blocking travel.


Amateur radio operators have also been receiving requests from Acapulco residents to call their relatives and let them know they are fine. Those requests are transmitted via HF to the Emergency Net Operator, and then the call is made to the family members.


Galvan also reported that hams have been providing communication between state agencies and their field personnel deployed in the Acapulco area. "At least three state agencies have hams on their teams. This is the case for the state of Durango, Morelos, and Santiago de Querétaro. We have been communicating their messages to their central coordination via HF relays. Requests for specific requirements have been escalated to the support teams. Air medical services have been directed to areas that were not being attended," he said. Hams are also helping in other areas, including:


Repairing a damaged repeater on Altzomoni at the Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park to support communication efforts in certain areas of Guerrero Deploying donations from a ham in Arizona, including a UHF repeater, solar panels, and 50 handhelds, to the affected areas. Getting the state agency's mobile stations back on the air and reinstalling the HF antennas that were damaged Emergency Communications Coordinator International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 Emergency Communications Coordinator Carlos Alberto Santamaría González, CO2JC, said frequency protection has been requested for the following bands and frequencies:


80-meter band: 3690 kHz 40-meter band: 7060 and 7095 kHz 20-meter band: 14.120 kHz


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