The Honduras National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) on August 22 delivered Amateur Radio equipment to COPECO — a government disaster-organization coordination agency — for use in an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) pilot project that aims to take wider advantage of the Winlink HF email system for emergency communication. The ITU pilot project includes Central America and the Caribbean with the aim of achieving implementation throughout South America. Winlink already enjoys wide usage in North America by Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams. ITU donated the equipment.
“The most important thing is that CONATEL, COPECO, and radio amateurs start working with the Winlink tool,” said ITU Area D Representative Miguel Alcaine. “I am very happy to know that we are doing something before disaster strikes.”
The donation consists of an HF radio, a VHF radio, a multiband dipole, a VHF antenna, an automatic antenna tuner, a modem, and coaxial cable.
National Commissioned Minister of COPECO Lisandro Rosales said that one of his agency’s objectives has been to strengthen information and communication technologies (ICTs) — a primary ITU initiative. “We have realized that telecommunications is a key element in order to give early warning and to warn about imminent danger, or to coordinate assistance or reconstruction activities,” Rosales said, “and thanks to them, the institution has one of the most powerful communications networks of the region, with coverage of 95% of the national territory.”
COPECO technicians, along with professionals of the 911 National Emergency System and CONATEL personnel, initiated a series of workshops, with the support of Honduran radio amateurs.
“This program and radio equipment will allow first responders that work during emergencies to send information [via HF bands], when telephone and digital communications collapse or if there are power outages,” commented Omar Paredes, HR1OP, secretary of Club de Radio Aficionados Central de Honduras (CRACH). — Thanks to IARU Region 2
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