The following item is by Tim Kalinowski of the Lethbridge Herald:
The August 6, 2018 issue of the Lethbridge Herald in Lethbridge, Alberta features an article by Tim Kalinowski about Amateur Radio, its many benefits, and the role that Amateurs play in society, particularly during an emergency.
The following is an extract:
“The ionosphere, electromagnetic field and the solar flare cycle may not be of concern to your average Earth dweller, but they are of vital interest to amateur radio enthusiasts, (hams), around the world, says Tom Buchanan, communications director of Southern Alberta Amateur Radio Club. These are just some of the many fascinating and technical things ham operators have to deal with to ensure optimal signal strength, he says, and to ensure they can reach to all the far corners of the planet with their communications.
As much as the technical aspects of building these homemade operating systems off the grid appeals to the technologically minded, and the freedom which comes from unlimited communication appeals to a certain rebellious instinct, Buchanan feels being a ham operator is innately social.
The social aspects are enormous,’ he confirms. ‘We talk to people all over the world, anywhere in the world.’
There is also a desire to help out when the need is greatest, explains Buchanan. During catastrophic events, it is the licensed amateur radio operators who keep the lines of communication open. Buchanan, whose radio call sign is VE6ARG, gives an example from his own personal history to illustrate his point. In 1989 he lived in San Jose, California, during the powerful Loma Prieta earthquake.
Everything went down,’ he remembers. ‘We had no electricity. We hade no phones. We had nothing. Because of that, now the hams jumped in and started getting to work. The communications networks we set up still operated, and many of us were battery-powered. My job was to go up to a place called CT English, which was a school ground way up in the middle of the Santa Cruz mountains. We set up there and we handled tens of thousands of (emergency) messages through that place, and it was set up for almost a week.’
In some ways it was the moment Buchanan had trained his whole life for as a ham.
It was the most enthralling experience I think I have ever been through,’ he says. ‘That was true communications in an emergency.’”
For more information on the Southern Alberta Amateur Radio Club visit its website at http://www.saarc.ca.
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