A VHF repeater that had been held up in customs in Nepal during the response to the April 25 magnitude 7.8 earthquake now has been installed at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. The new system will be put to use during the current earthquake recovery effort and available for any future emergencies, if needed. Initially disrupted by a magnitude 7.3 aftershock earlier this month, the installation was completed on May 20. It is Nepal’s first VHF repeater (145.81 in/145.21 out with 100 Hz tone). The country’s only other repeater is a dual-band (VHF/UHF) machine. Ojha said the repeater, installed by Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP, and his students at Tribhuvan University, has been tested successfully from multiple locations in Nepal’s capital city.
“Even though they had to struggle through a challenging customs process, even though they were interrupted in their efforts by the second massive quake, they persevered and got the repeater functional during a time of a great humanitarian crisis,” Suresh Ojha, W6KTM, the Computer Association of Nepal-USA (CAN-USA)/Radio Mala Disaster Preparedness Committee chairman told ARRL this week. “The Nepali people now have two repeaters to service Kathmandu, both of them donated by CAN-USA.”
The first repeater was installed a couple of years ago at the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) headquarters in Kathmandu. That repeater has been in regular use since the April 25 earthquake, Ojha said, “so the addition of this new repeater will provide much needed additional capacity as recovery efforts continue.”
Radio Mala, a project of the Global Nepali Professionals Network (GNPN) — also known as the Computer Association of Nepal-USA — also funded and donated an HF transceiver used after the April 25 earthquake to establish communications and send SSTV images of the impacted area from Kathmandu to a US Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) operator in Afghanistan. The US military used the information in coordinating its response to the earthquake, Ojha said.
The new VHF repeater system was modeled after the Bay-Net system covering the San Francisco Bay Area in California and serving such agencies as the American Red Cross and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue.