In February 2018, Tonga was hit by Cyclone Gita, which caused widespread damage across the country, including the capital of Nukualofa on Tongatapu.
The cyclone caused widespread disruption to powerlines and landline phones, and whilst the mobile network performed well, communications between the various emergency and disaster response agencies and the overall responsible National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) were less than satisfactory.
Shortly after the immediate emergency clean-up process had been completed, we were contacted in regard to assisting with improving radio communications solutions for future emergency events.
Within 2 weeks of Cyclone Gita, we were in Nukualofa with some of the latest Icom Digital Advanced System (iDAS) VHF radios that had been launched in Japan only weeks earlier.
A review of the existing NEMO radio communication network identified a number of issues, but the main one was the lack of a repeater which could provide a central communication network and provide full radio coverage across Nukualofa.
In association with Icom NZ (RWB Communications), we designed a solution which would address all of these issues, as well as being fully compatible with the major National Emergency Warning System (NEWS) infrastructure project being installed next year, courteousy of the Government of Japan.
In late October 2018, we travelled to Tonga to install and commission the new Icom iDAS Digital VHF Repeater network. The network consists of not only the Repeater and it’s associated components, but also the very latest Digital handheld IC-F52D, IC-F3400D, and the Digital Mobile IC-F5400D VHF radios as well.
These radios represent the very latest technology from Icom Japan and offer much greater performance and features than analogue VHF radios, whilst still being able to communicate with the many existing analogue VHF radios in Tonga.
New Icom Repeater installed, with associated items etc Antennas for NEMO Repeater plus Ministry of Communication Radios
The Repeater and all associated components were installed and fully operational and tested within 4 days. The performance of the Repeater exceeded expectations, and we were able to achieve 95% coverage of Tongatapu with the handhelds and 100% on the mobile radios.
Icom Radios are well proven in the South Pacific and are well known for their reliable and high-quality products. This is why they come with a 5 Year warranty.
Express Diesel Service Ltd is proud to have been involved in assisting the people of Tonga via NEMO with these high quality Icom radio communication infrastructure products. This will greatly assist the various agencies to co-ordinate their assistance as needed in times of emergency to get help to those who need it without undue delay.
If you would like to know more about this project, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss.
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