NIT-K helping forest department set up Ham Radio for ​disasters

Students of National Institute of Technology, Karnataka (NITK) are helping Forest Department of Karnataka set up a communication network using Ham radio system in Kudremukh National Park.

Kudremukh National Park spread over an area of 1392 Sq. Kms in southern Karnataka is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The communication network earlier in place, are broken due to natural disasters, Naxal and poaching activity. Professor K V Gangadharan, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, said, “We are helping the forest department as part of technical outreach activity. Students of NITK are helping setup the network. They are training forest guards, who are foot soldiers, get acquainted with the technology.” NITK has also roped in local amateur radio clubs (Ham radio) in and around Manipal, Udupi and Mangalore to ensure a larger support system.

On being asked about choice of Ham radio as a communication mode, Prof Gangadharan said, “Ham radio is the best means of communication to rely on in case of natural calamities. We are also installing ‘repeaters’.” Repeaters allow transmission of data over hundreds of kilometres with minimum infrastructure. Communication can be established through hand-held transceivers.

Maria Christu Raja D, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kudremukh Forest Division said, “Protecting a large area of the national park has been a challenge and NITK’s initiative will help us immensely.”