ARRL is shipping six VHF/UHF base/repeater antennas and six 50-foot rolls of LMR-400 coax, through the Ham Aid Fund.
Since January 12, the ARES Zone 5 amateur radio volunteers have been handling health-and-welfare traffic from the earthquake zone, reports Yauco ARES District Emergency Coordinator Heriberto Perez, WP4ZZ, who said internet service has been slow. He said the Red Cross has been providing food and drinks for the volunteers. Operations are running from 9 AM until 5 PM each day.
“Today was a bit of a rough day,” Perez said on Saturday. “Many quakes during the day. It feels like you’re in a simulator.” He said the three-person team is using UHF for direct contact with San Juan, with a backup support frequency on VHF, and communication has been solid.
“During the course of the day, we began to handle health-and-welfare traffic from nearby victims,” he said. “We are now reaching out to affected communities asking for tents for the community [as well as] diapers or medicine, and many other requests. We also initiated food collection in our community.”
Perez said an HF radio was to be on site for backup on 20 and 40 meters. Power to the distribution center is 40% from the power utility and 60% from generators.
Resto said over the weekend that he’d been told that the Red Cross was relocating the disaster relief operation to Mayagüez, which is a much closer site to the initial impact area, and ARES will provide communication support at the new site.
“A personal comment,” Resto added. “[It] is very difficult to sleep with so many earthquakes — more than 3,000 from December 28 — shaking your house. I hope that my house survives these intense seismic events.”
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern part of Puerto Rico on January 7, fast on the heels of a magnitude 5.8 tremor the day before. The worst-impacted cities were Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Yauco, and Guánica, where, Resto said, engineers have determined that 80% of the houses in the earthquake’s impact zone are uninhabitable.
Resto told ARRL last week that the earthquake disaster has definitely been a setback for the US territory as it continues its long recovery from severe hurricane damage in 2017.