Surrey hams win radio competition

Victory at this year's North American Field Day emergency communications event.

  • Dec. 31, 2015 8:00 a.m.

The results have just been released and the amateur radio operators of Surrey have scored first place in Canada for the annual North American Field Day emergency communications competition.

Despite the Internet, cellphones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, storms, landslides, ice and even the occasional cutting of cables leave people without the means to communicate.

The one consistent service that has never failed has been amateur radio. These federally licensed radio operators, often called “hams,” provide back-up communications for everything from community events to local emergency operation centres, and to the International Space Station.

This past June, Surrey “hams” joined with thousands of other amateur radio operators in a 24-hour exercise of their emergency communications capabilities.

The amateur radio operators assembled an emergency radio station at the former Grandview Elementary School grounds at 176 Street and 20 Avenue. Over the 24-hour period they made more than 800 contacts throughout North America and beyond, operating using only five watts of power.

Surrey Fire Service Deputy Fire Chief Dan Barnscher, who coordinates emergency response for the City of Surrey, says “amateur radio plays an integral part in emergency communications during any major event for the city.”

To learn more about amateur radio in Surrey visit ve7sar.net

The Surrey Amateur Radio Club will be offering classes in April to obtain a radio licence. For more information, email sarc@ve7sar.net

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