You’ve got to hand it to the nice folks at RadioWorld in Toronto. A few weeks ago they hosted RAC Day at RadioWorld and this Saturday (June 21) it’s ARES Day.
Presented by what’s left of RAC’s Field Operations ARES Day is a special opportunity to take in a series of workshops on ARES-related technical topics. VOIP over MESH, RMS Express by WL2K and FLDigi are just a few of the workshops (see poster).
First if you’re not part of an ARES group you should be. Why? Because Amateur Radio is a service and since the earliest days of radio, Hams have unselfishly provide public service activities to their communities in times of need.
Residents in Angus Ontario for example suffered damage from this week’s tornado that 300 people are still unable to return home. Some of those homes will never be occupied again. (The photo is from the Toronto Sun website.)
But what if, instead of 300 homeless, the tornado had done more damage? What if the number was 3,000 or 30,000?
Remember the Mississauga Train Derailment? I was there when civiil authorities decided to evacuate 250,000 people over night.
Remember the Hagarsville Tire Fire? I was there too. The tire yard fire was melting hundreds of thousands of tires and the resulting leachate was so severely contaminated that there was some thought of possibly evaluating everyone from Hagarsville to Lake Ontario.
So what would happen?
Easy. The Canadian Red Cross would have been called out to provide shelters for those forced to move and setup a registration system to keep track of evacuees.
The Red Cross (I was there too as I worked for both provincial and national offices.) is well trained for this function and RAC / ARES has a formal letter of understanding that in a time of need Canadian Amateur Radio operators will assist the Red Cross by providing communications.
It doesn’t matter if we supply communications using handheld units like we did for the St. John Ambulance exercise last weekend at Humber College or we provide a new MESH network. You’ve got to come to ARES Day to learn all about this system that creates essentially a private long-range WiFi network on Ham Radio frequencies that can host digital communications including data, voice and even video.
Hope to see you at RadioWorld on Saturday.
(On another note: I sent in my RAC Certified EC Exam late in March. It’s now late in June some 90 days later and I’m still waiting to hear if I passed. Boy if this is how fast RAC ARES HQ works we maybe in more trouble than even I thought. (See post below).