Black Stars resilience and it technology was put to the test as Cyclone NORA tore down the west coast of Cape York in with destructive winds and rain causing havoc for communities.
Cyclones are not good for radio services blowing down towers and other infrastructure not to mention the community’s other assets. Weipa Napranum, Aurukun,New Mapoon services stood up but Pormpuraaw, and Kowanyama copped the full category 3 force and went off the air.
Pormpuraaw suffered a power loss due to trees across power lines,and is still off air at the time of posting. However to our great surprise Kowanyama off the air at the peak of the storm losing power for a few hours came to life and began broadcasting from the program log, all remote checks by Black Star engineer Gerry Pyne soon had everything working 100 percent even the satellite was working.
The resilience of the network during such a pounding was simply amazing. Previous to developing the WAN service stations would have been off the air until the dry season, when a technician could visit, WAN allows us to remotely re start stations.
The future looks good for other networks to develop services based on the Black Star WAN model and proves that it takes a lot to stop a station. Black Star Staff were on hand to relay 23 cyclone up dates to the communities in the eye of the storm and Black Star was the go to emergency services station.
Even though we may have dogged a bullet NORA is still active and we have stations in the watch area of Normanton, Doomadgee and Mornington Island.