Elphinstone: Ham radio club holds annual field day

On June 22, the Sun Coast Amateur Radio Club Society held its annual field day at the Maryanne West Field behind the Frank West Hall, with an impressive setup run by two solar panels. Of the club’s 20 members, several were on hand to explain the operation but I have to admit to not understanding the complexities of wires, digital versus voice signals, global positioning, etc. Suffice it to say that the Sunshine Coast is one of 40,000 ham clubs throughout North America participating in this annual June event, which aims to demonstrate the science of ham radio and its service to communities. 

Some clubs co-ordinate with Search and Rescue; the North Shore Emergency Centre provides a space for their club while Nanaimo provides a space in the fire hall. The local group meets at various places every Saturday for coffee. Elphinstone resident Marc Beaupre has been with the group since taking a ham radio course many years ago, encouraged by his son who got interested after high school. Robert Beaupre is director and VP with the British Columbia Amateur Radio Coordination Council.

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He says that clubs defer to the Council about repeater frequencies so they don’t interfere with each other and added, “Repeaters are radios that listen on one frequency and transmit what is received on another. They are usually in high places and function to extend the range of communications.” Robert went on to say that the club has a repeater in Nanaimo that provides coverage for the coast on VHF. 

Formed in 1985, the club’s president is Siegfried Lehmann and the VP is Patrick Truchon. The club meets on air (called a “net”) on Tuesday mornings and evenings at which time they test communication between their homes for emergency preparedness. During an emergency it’s likely the repeater could go down (in an extended power outage) which is why direct communication is vital. I feel a little safer knowing our nearby neighbour Robert can communicate with the outside world in an emergency! For more information about this important community resource, see scarcs.ca. 

If listening to music in the forest appeals to you, why not take in Woodland Groove with Lance and Chloe Leeson on guitar and flute. Organized by the Living Forest Institute, the concert will take place on Sunday, July 14, 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Clack Creek Gallery Forest on the lower slopes of Mount Elphinstone. Next up on July 21 is Theatre in the Forest. For more, see www.livingforestinstitute.ca. 

With so little snow pack this past winter, how lucky we are that there’s been some rain. Despite the sprinkles, there are ongoing water issues, so conservation is crucial. Thanks to Roberts Creek resident Carol Ann Glover for sending this water-saving tip: when showering, place a bucket in the shower to collect the water as it warms up (you can even keep the bucket there while you shower to collect even more water). 

The Elphinstone Community Association invites everyone to a barbecue and potluck at Chaster House on Saturday, July 13 from 4 to 9 p.m.; bring your own plates and cutlery. The ECA will provide coffee, tea, juice and items for the barbecue. There will be games and activities for children. Come enjoy an afternoon at the beach with your neighbours. 

Contact me with any news at elphin@coastreporter.net

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