The reality of emergency comms with Tonga

On last week’s WIA broadcast, the WIA Vice President has urged amateurs to monitor the IARU Region 3 HF emergency frequencies for (presumably) traffic from Tonga…why?

The only local amateur has no working equipment…

The RSGB reports:

The IARU Region 3 representative says that amateur radio in Tonga is difficult as there are currently no HF operators and few transceivers in storage.

We contacted the WIA’s WICEN National Co-ordinator who confirmed that there was no IARU Region 3 activation and no point engaging amateur radio as “there are no amateurs on Tonga, even if equipment was made available.”

The reality is that there are now a number of satellite systems operating in Tonga to provide strategic communications, and email and internet links are being restored. 

There are also VHF and HF disaster networks operating on commercial channels throughout Tonga.

Amateur Radio’s role in disaster communications has changed.  Aircraft deployable, portable satellite communications equipment is readily available these days.  This is normally the first choice for establishing links out of disaster zones. 

Whilst amateur radio has a role to play in disaster comms, amateurs monitoring the IARU emergency frequencies for communications out of Tonga is simply a waste of time.