West Kootenay Amateur Radio Club president Lane Wilson shows off a handheld receiver at a meeting Saturday. He says the club is looking to upgrade its local network. Photo: Tyler Harper

West Kootenay radio club says local network in need of upgrades

Club president Lane Wilson estimated $100,000 of work required

Lane Wilson has a habit of drawing attention to himself on camping trips.

While others are sitting by the fire, Wilson will climb a tree searching for a clear line of sight. “I’ll set an antenna 120 feet in a tree and people ask me how I get it up there.”

Wilson is president of the West Kootenay Amateur Radio Club, which according to its website has been running for more than 50 years. The club operates three two-way radio repeaters in Nelson, Crawford Bay and Slocan Ridge that offer coverage of Nelson, Castlegar, Kootenay Lake and north to Kaslo and Lardeau.

Little chatter happens over the radios. Instead, the network primarily serves as a backup in case of events such as storms that may knock out power. Search and rescue teams typically have their own networks, but Wilson said those are vulnerable due to their reliance on the internet.

“A lot of the typical radio networks are starting to employ more internet [and] telephone connections. If that doesn’t work, there will be some difficulties,” said Wilson.

Tha club’s network, however, is in need of upgrades. Wilson said Saturday the club is beginning to fundraise and apply for grants to cover an approximately $100,000 in repairs to failing equipment over the next five years.

Wilson said new batteries and solar panels are needed, and he wants the local network to expand its reach to Duncan Lake, Creston and Cranbrook. Currently operators can connect with people in the Okanagan, but Wilson said there are still technical difficulties that make broadcasts unreliable.

Wilson isn’t alone in his love for amateur radio, which has been practised since Guglielmo Marconi’s first radio transmission in 1901.

At Saturday’s meeting, members identified themselves with their own call signs, or individual transmitter signal designations — Wilson’s, for example, is VE7IHL. There are over 80,000 licensed call signs in Canada and over 822,000 in the United States, according to hamdata.com.

Wilson said the point of the radios is that they are there when all else fails.

“You have to practise this stuff so if an emergency comes, you will be prepared.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Amateur radios come in all shapes and sizes. Some connect to the internet, while others are only able to work with nearby repeaters. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Sanchez leads Leafs to 6th straight win

Nelson held off Spokane 3-2 on Friday

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

CHECK THIS OUT: Love and e-Readers

Anne DeGrace on downloading new literary relationships

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read