Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Ham radio is alive and well in St. Vital

  • Print

You may have noticed as you drive around that certain cars have a license plate beginning with "VE4". This signifies the driver is a licensed  Amateur Radio Operator (affectionately known as hams), and the plate gives his call sign.

Ham radio has been around for a very long time — in fact, since it became possible for radio enthusiasts to build their own equipment, and when ham communication was all done by Morse code. Short-wave radio meant that the hobbyists could communicate with their fellows all over the world, and a Londoner could inform a friend in California that it’s raining in Tokyo.

It is only quite recently that knowledge of Morse has ceased to be a requirement for a license, but in spite of the Internet and the venerability of its medium, ham radio has a role to play even today.

Its enduring value is that each radio set is potentially free-standing, independent of the local power system. Most operators have batteries for their systems although, of course, they are usually plugged in, and the wavelengths they use are reserved by international agreement.

In times of emergency, ham radios can provide communications services that would otherwise be wholly absent. The Emergency Measures Organization uses ham facilities as needed, and practice "emergencies" are run from time to time. One regular use is during the Manitoba Marathon — the hams are there and ready, if inconspicuously.

Ham radio is one of the few long-established hobbies or organizations that is not decaying due to age. Radio is used in many occupations today, and it’s an easy step to start exploring the medium for pleasure after hours.

There are perhaps 800 operators in Winnipeg and millions world-wide. Several organizations in Winnipeg will happily provide information on the subject. The Winnipeg Senior Citizens’ Radio Club VE4WSC Inc. is one: it occupies the second floor and the roof of the fire hall at St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s Road in St. Vital. (The St. Vital Museum is on the ground floor).

The active equipment, the club rooms, the library and technical centre, and (usually) several enthusiasts are all here.

The club gives lessons for the licenses, and visitors are welcome. Call first: 204-233-3122.

Peter Lacey is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Do you intend to visit the CMHR once it’s fully operational?

View Results