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Chile Earthquake and Tsunami Warnings: Shortwave Radio Providing Emergency Info & Communications

Live streaming local TV from Terremoto, Chile

In times of emergency shortwave radio, operated by both amateurs a/k/a hams and government agencies can provide an information lifeline when wired and cellular communications are disrupted. Right now shortwave is being used in the aftermath of the Chile earthquake this morning and in anticipation of tsunami waves in the Pacific.

According to Communications Quarterly news posted today, there are several frequencies being used in the amateur shortwave bands:

SSB frequencies: 10 meters – 28.300, 28.500 MHz 15 meters – 21.200, 21.350 MHz 20 meters – 14.200, 14.350 MHz 40 meters – 7.050, 7.095 MHz 80 meters – 3.738, 3.750 MHz (via CQ Public Service Editor Richard Fisher, KI6SN)

Chilean hams and emergency service agencies are asking that other amateurs keep these frequencies clear so that emergency communications are not impeded.

The communications on these frequencies may be difficult to hear on many radios because they’ll be using SSB, or single-sideband, a power-saving mode often used by hams to transmit longer distances using less power. These broadcasts will sound distorted on a regular shortwave radio, and require the use of a receiver that features SSB reception. I have such a radio, but in the RF interference zone of my Chicago apartment I’m having difficulty getting any clear reception.

I’ve been trying to hunt down some frequencies for Chile-based broadcast stations that use AM/normal mode on shortwave, but I am coming up empty. The only station I’m coming up with is Voice of Chile at 11,890 KHz listed at Radio Shack’s shortwave radio guide.

The National Hurricane Center is broadcasting tsunami updates at 14.300 MHz. I’m able to tune this in, but I’m getting too much interference to hear clearly. With luck people in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific who need this information are receiving it better.

On the internet Ustream is offering a live stream of several local TV channels from Chile and Hawaii.

Thanks to NW7US and RadioGeek who have been providing emergency shortwave information on Twitter.


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6 Responses to Chile Earthquake and Tsunami Warnings: Shortwave Radio Providing Emergency Info & Communications

  1. richard hodar February 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Can anyone know if the Ricco family has contacted the US Embassy? Please email. They might have been in Rancauga, Chili. I have a shortwave radio and would like to hear SSB broadcasts.

  2. ldwhite March 3, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    Your best bet to hear Chile on shortwave is station Voz Cristiana on 17.680 mHz broadcasting from Santiago, Chile in Spanish language only. They are scheduled to broadcast from 8 Am to 8 Pm their local time (if I’ve done the time calculation correctly).

    I’m listening to this now on a portable shortwave radio. I don’t understand Spanish so I can’t comment on if they are talking about the earthquake or rescue efforts.

  3. Paul Riismandel March 3, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Thanks for the tip, ldwhite. I’ll check out the stations. I understand a little Spanish, at least enough to understand if they’re talking about the quake.

    • VE3VMJ April 1, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

      there are a ton of stations from 9.2 to 9.9 Mhz active here in Canada

  4. geryhostone March 9, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    I’m listening to this now on a portable shortwave radio. I don’t understand Spanish so I can’t comment on if they are talking about the earthquake or rescue efforts.I have a shortwave radio and would like to hear SSB broadcasts.

  5. VE3VMJ April 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    if i come across anything i will post. im on the hunt.

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