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29 October 2011

Amateur Radio operators became the communications first responders during Turkey's earthquake.

Again amateur radio operators became the communications first responders when an earthquake measuring 7.2 hit the Van region of Eastern Turkey.

The death toll stands more than 535, with tens of thousands homeless and with no means of communications.

Worst hit by the October 23 disaster has been Ercis, a city of 75,000 in the mountainous province close to the Iranian border.

Hams (radio amateurs) associated with the IARU national society Telsiz Radyo Amatorleri Cemiyeti (TRAC) have set up communications on the HF bands and VHF.

Assistance has been given by TRAC in setting up VHF/UHF networks to relief agencies and some traffic is being carried on the 144 MHz band.

Red Crescent, the Ministry of Health, local law enforcement agencies and the local command centre have been served so far.

The need for HF operations is reducing, however there is still a government station which may operate. Worldwide radio amateurs are asked to be careful when operating between 7.092 and 7.095 MHz. Up to 500 aftershocks have been recorded.

- Victoria Amateur Radio News