Cariboo Chilcotin Amateur Radio Society president Michal Smialowski was happy to see his groups numbers grow twofold in mid-April. Patrick Davies Photo.

Amateur radio society welcomes new members

There are now close to 40 HAM Radio operators throughout the Cariboo

A class of 16 new short wave HAM radio operators were trained and licensed in Thompson Rivers University by the Cariboo Chilcotin Amateur Radio Society (CCARS) last month.

The society’s president, Michal Smialowski is a retired physician who lives out in Tatlayoko Lake, close to four hours away from the lakecity, and got into short wave HAM radios shortly after retiring. Smialowski formed the society four years ago, though it received a boost in recognition and funding after the 2017 Wildfire season.

“The radio signals can go a long way if there is a clear line of sight and no obstacles in the way. We have a network of 13 repeaters that extend from Heckman Pass, into Williams Lake and Horsefly then down south to Clinton and then up north to Quesnel,” Smialowski explained, adding their system is amalgamated with the one in Prince George.

Originally Smialowski helped organize a loose collection of radio operators from across the Cariboo Chilcotin into the society to help secure grants to upgrade their collective network. However, he said that the benefits of operating and maintaining the technology extend well beyond the interest of amateur radio operators.

Read More: Cariboo Chilcotin Amateur Radio Society to upgrade equipment thanks to Rotary grant

Using a mix of receivers, hand-held radios and repeaters the CCARS can relay messages quickly and efficiently through remote areas from across the province. While for some this may not seem overly significant, Smialowski said the practical applications of a cell tower-free network becomes very important for emergencies in areas with no cell service or in disaster situations like wildfires.

This was something the Cariboo Regional District realized after the 2017 Wildfire season, where they made recommendations to make more use of amateur radio. Since then the CRD has supported and worked with Smialowski and the society directly providing funding and support. They also received a $16,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Williams Lake to aid in the upgrading of their equipment and $33,000 from the Canadian Red Cross, half for upgrades and half for holding classes like the one at TRU.

CCARS works closely with search and rescue operations and maintains the radio network for groups like the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue. Currently, with the inclusion of the new members, Smialowski said there are around 40 society radio operators across the region.

“Anybody who is willing to want to get their (radio) license we can certainly help them,” Smialowski said. “It’s a bit of work but anyone can do it.”

The course takes place over eight weekly sessions, though Smialowski said there are online courses available for those interested.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Update: Williams Lake city council wants new BC Housing units on Second Avenue North all subsidized units

City will seek legal counsel as original request for reduced parking variance stated it would be subsidized housing

Williams Lake RCMP Const. Joel Kooger hits road with Cops for Cancer

Williams Lake RCMP Const. Joel Kooger is on the road once again… Continue reading

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

New McLeese Lake Soul 2 Sole Trail Race raises close to $5,000 for McLeese Lake fire hall

One hundred and 34 runners and hikers took part in the inaugural race Sept. 15

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Most Read