Thanks to the efforts of the Computer Association of Nepal-USA (CAN-USA), a repeater that the group had donated to Tribhuvan University in Nepal was released from customs on May 5 and now is at the university in the care of Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP. CAN-USA Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair Suresh Ojha, W6KTM, said his organization “sought and received help from the US State Department, the US Embassy in Nepal, and Nepal’s Ministry of Information and Communication.”
“We were especially thrilled that the Minister of Information and Communication, the Honorable Minendra Rijal, personally contacted 9N1SP and offered his help on the matter,” Ojha told ARRL. “The very next day the equipment was released from customs. We believe that the collective input from all interested parties had a cumulative effect on the overall process.”
In 2013, anticipating the possibility of an earthquake disaster, CAN-USA — also known as the Global Nepali Professional Network (GNPN) — funded and installed the only Amateur Radio repeater currently in service in Nepal and donated a transmitter that was recently used to transmit slow-scan TV images of earthquake-ravaged areas to a Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) operator in Afghanistan. Ojha said his organization is “thrilled to have another repeater in the nation.”
On May 1, CAN-USA — under its “Radio Mala” project banner — called on the Amateur Radio community to urge the government of Nepal to release additional ham radio equipment being held up in customs, so that it could be used to support the earthquake relief and recovery effort.
CAN-USA said that as Nepal responds to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, Amateur Radio has been playing “a key role in the recovery effort.” Radio Mala had decried “bureaucratic misunderstanding” in Nepal that, it said, was keeping needed Amateur Radio equipment out of the hands of responders.
ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the League has been working closely with amateurs in Nepal to identify equipment needed for the relief effort and was preparing to ship equipment from its Ham Aid inventory. “We’re still not able to send anything,” Corey said this week, citing transportation and bureaucratic challenges.
The “Ham Radio Mala” Facebook page includes more information on Amateur Radio’s role in the current earthquake relief and recovery effort.