Truro Amateur Radio Club welcomes newcomers
BY FRAM DINSHAW
Local radio enthusiasts can learn some tricks of the trade at a round-table session.
The Truro Amateur Radio Club is restarting the weekly Sunday sessions on Jan. 13 that allow new operators to voice questions over the air to their more experienced counterparts elsewhere – and gain from their expertise.
“If you’re interested in communicating across town, across the country or around the world, you can do so from your home relatively easily and it’s a great way to meet new people over the airwaves,” said TARC president Dave Hull. “It’s neat to be able to give back to the community in the event of an emergency, that ham radio operators over the years have played pivotal roles in providing communications during disasters.”
Hull said radio operators provided communication during the 2018 California wildfires, when normal methods were down.
TARC held its Exercise Handshake drill on Dec. 25. Held the last Tuesday of every month, it aims to test radio emergency response systems.
Messages are relayed across the Maritimes using repeaters, which are radio masts erected on high points that can repeat signals on a different frequency. They allow operators in Truro to communicate with those in neighbouring provinces, vastly expanding their range, which would otherwise only be about 10 or 12 km locally.
Amateur radio operators can also beam messages up to relay satellites in orbit when talking to clubs around the world. One club in Prince Edward Island even talked with astronauts on the International Space Station.
TARC finished 10th out of 32 clubs in their category during the June 2018 Field Day competition, which involved 3,000 clubs from across North America. Truro was also the first out of three Canadian teams in their category.
“With the repeater systems around here, you can literally talk to the world, once you figure out how to get there,” said Hull. “It just makes the hobby that much more enjoyable and easier to get involved with.”
He said new club members can join in on the action fairly cheaply, by borrowing a radio set while they learn how to use them. TARC will also help novices obtain their operating license.
For those wishing to buy, Hull said the cheapest portable radio sets cost just $50 or so, while more advanced systems can sell for thousands of dollars.
“Just bring yourself,” Hull said to anyone thinking of joining. Newcomers can attend regular club meetings on the second Monday of the month starting at 7 p.m. at 37 Pictou Road in Bible Hill
The Jan. 13 on-air round-table will start at 9 p.m. and people can participate at home by calling in on their radio sets.
For more information, visit http://truroamateurradioclub.ca or the Truro Amateur Radio Club’s Facebook page.