In this podcast we talk to Jim Taylor, VA3KU, about the history of amateur radio, where it is today, and where it may be going in the future. Jim is involved in emergency management with the Canadian government. He tells us how amateur radio interacts with fire, ambulance and police to bring a unifying influence into the mix. The Toronto Emergency Center is linked to shelters and other communities in the “Golden Horseshoe” area, which coordinates evacuations and other emergencies. At the provincial level, there is a network of volunteer hams to facilitate axillary communications when phone lines go down and cell phones don't work.
After the invention of radio, hams started building their own receivers and transmitters. When the first commercial radio stations started to broadcast, governments around the world recognized the value of ham radio and gave them a large part of the radio spectrum. In the old days hams would receive messages from ships at sea and pass them to the appropriate city, where someone would hand deliver the message to the intended recipient. This formal method of handling messages , or “traffic”, is still practiced today in the form of amateur radio exercises. When actual emergencies happen, amateur radio operators, are sure to give the assistance where it is needed fast. Ham radio operators have been kings of countries, doctors, lawyers and people from all walks of life. Art Bell was the host of “Coast to Coast” radio for many years on AM radio. When he was finished his program, he would turn on his ham radio and continue to talk to people for hours after that.
Jim describes “field day” which took place across North America on June 27, 2009. In Toronto, the event was held in conjunction with the Canadian Military. They had a tent set up for each of the bands: 80, 40 and 20 meters. The idea was to contact as many people as possible for the contest. The podcast contains a two minute sample of what “field day” sounded like... Lots of beeps, bops and static.
He also talks about how it all works, the “Internet Radio Linking Project,” satellites, packet radio, different types of radios, and why someone might want to get into the hobby.
Not only has digital television come to us, but amateur radio is on the verge of being digitalized also. With future amateur radio equipment you will be able to talk normally, but use your keyboard to type messages in textual format at the same time on the same frequency. The beeps and bops will disappear.
Anyone wishing to become a ham radio operator can contact:
Watch YouTube video abut Amateur Radio Field Day, in Toronto, June 27, 2009
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