Emergency Measures Amateur Radio Station Comes To Lt Col Craig Armouries

Dawn Riley

The Sask-Alta Radio Club plans to install an Amateur Radio station at the Lt Col WC Craig Armouries to support the Vermilion area.

The Station covers the high through ultra-high frequencies and will integrate with the Winlink® system which allows stations to efficiently pass messages.

The Winlink system was developed to allow remote stations to pass email to each other, independent of the internet. It has developed further into a world-wide system of stations that can receive satellite weather pictures and automatically pass messages error free. Similarly equipped emergency shelters can pass names of people and their medical requirements.

“If you know how to send email, then about 20 minutes more training can have a person passing Winlink messages. The HF radio we have picked for this duty is an ICOM IC-7200, a 100 watt radio,
that’s less power than a old style 100 watt light bulb.” says Don Henry, Emergency Measures Director for the Sask-Alta Radio Club.

“With the right antenna, this radio will give North America, if not worldwide coverage.”

But Don recommends a solid 500-1000 krn footprint. “While it’s nice to sit in my home station and rag chew with a station in England or Australia on a cold winter night, those people cannot really help me as much as the Red Cross in Calgary or the AEMA (Alberta Emergency Management Agency) station in Edmonton in an emergency.” says Henry.

Currently, the club has 3 Winlink VHF radio digipeaters: one at Mount Joy Ski Hill, another at Mouse Mountain Hill north of Elk Point, and one in downtown Lloydminster. The Armouries station completes this network.

Years previous, the City of Lloydminster bought three portable VHF Winlink stations for the Sask-Alta Radio Club for quick deployment around the city. The station came complete with radios, laptop and the TNC (terminal node controller). The Club has mutual aid agreements with the County of Vermilion River, RM of Wainwright, RM of Eldon, City of Lloydminster and Lakeland College, Vermilion and Lloydminster.

The total cost of this station will be around $5000 and the club plans to fundraise to finish the station as soon as possible.

The Sask-Alta Radio Club is an amateur radio club and has been around since 1961 and has over 35 members. Members typically have their own radios at home and will utilize the Armoury Station for training and emergencies.

“Many years ago the government gave the designation of Amateur to what we do. The name differentiated us from Professionals who can charge for the messaging service whether it’s an emergency or not,” stated Henry, who has been a member of the club for 35 years.

The Sask Alta Radio Club hold amateur radio training classes in the Fall and Winter and also annually host an American Radio Relay League (ARRL) field day. This year’s dates are June
25-26, if you wish to see Amateur radio in action for a North American-wide operation. Check our website for more information and updates, saskaltarc.ca

For more information on the Radio station and the radios, follow Lt Col Craig Armouries on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/VermilionArmouries/

Link to Full Article from Vermillion Voice Issue 927