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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Set-top box turns cyclone warning system

Set-top box turns cyclone warning system

CHENNAI: Now meteorologists needn't worry about not being able to make crucial announcements during a storm when power supply is cut off. The new cyclone warning dissemination system (CWDS) is being upgraded. It will work on direct-to-home (DTH) based equipment and can function for at least three days without needing to be charged.

The upgraded CWDS is a set-top box, which is commonly found in houses, modified by attaching an audio system to it. "We will be able to make announcements and receive audio signals through it," said G Gopal, a met department official. The modified set-top box would also have a battery back-up that can work on 12 volts, he said. "It will have two such batteries that ensure that it functions for 72 hours without requiring power," said Gopal.

The system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) ensures that the DTH receiver gets only satellite signals and warnings from the local met department office, and works on a new bandwidth called ku-band. "The older receivers used to work on F band and X band — one to transmit signals and the other to receive," said Gopal.

The meteorological department decided to update the CWDS, which was earlier working on custom-made receivers, with the DTH system which is a commercially available product. "Replacing of parts and servicing of a DTH receiver will be cheaper and easier," said Gopal. The older receivers and system had been made way back in 1984 by ISRO, said officials.

The warning systems are being upgraded across the country. The met department has installed warning dissemination systems at the Chennai collectorate, secretariat, Ripon Buildings, seat of the city corporation, and Ezhilagam. There are 59 such systems across the state. The installation of the upgraded system in Ripon Buildings is underway and is likely to be completed by Friday. The system is being installed in the building's Golden Jubilee Hall.

Met department officials say the system has been installed in crucial government offices where authorities have to make a decision on the necessary action to be taken during an emergency.


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