PENANG Nov 1, 2006 - Ham radio users now have wider coverage along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia with the setting up of a free amateur radio network link.
The link spanning Johor Baru to Kangar is jointly established by the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitters' Society (MARTS) and Motorola Technology Sdn Bhd.
MARTS vice-president Abdul Rashid Mohd Sultan said the Motorola-MARTS Amateur Radio Network system was designed to provide nationwide infrastructure for inter-state radio communications.
"The system will benefit about 2,000 licensed amateur radio users in the peninsula."
"It is also the first nationwide amateur radio system in South East Asia," he said at the launch of the link by State Local Government Committee chairman Dato' Dr Teng Hock Nan at Cititel Penang here yesterday.
Abdul Rashid said Motorola spent RM350,000 to provide the system's radio communications equipment and accessories including the system design.
Previously, he said members could only talk with others from within their local area.
"We installed five repeaters on Telekom Malaysia's hill-station buildings on Penang Hill, Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, Gunung Ledang, and Gunung Pulai for the new link," he said.
(A repeater is a device that amplifies a signal before transmitting it again).
Motorola Malaysia country president Asri Hassan said the radio system would also provide communication up to southern Thailand, Singapore, and Sumatra's east coast area.
It would also be accessible to amateur radio members on ships in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, he said.
"This nationwide radio system is very critical during emergencies and disasters," he added.
During the tsunami tragedy, Kuala Lumpur was used as the central ham radio station to bridge communication between Acheh and Medan, he said.
"During the tsunami, the ham radio users in Acheh and Medan could only communicate with Kuala Lumpur and not each other."
"So, our members in Kuala Lumpur acted as the middle party to relay messages between the two," he said.
Abdul Rashid said during the Highland Towers tragedy in 1993, MARTS led a team to provide communication support to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Source: The Star, November 1, 2006