The BVI Amateur Radio League recently received new radio equipment to boost its operations and the service it provides to the Territory in the event of an emergency.
The handheld radios and a number of base stations were donated by the Department for Disaster Management (DDM) to allow the league to continue and to expand its operations. The league has been able to purchase and maintain dedicated repeaters and other equipment to allow them to carry on their work.
The equipment received will help to further improve its coverage and ability to maintain contact with other operators around the world. It will also help to encourage new persons to join the league and have access to radios.
Avid Amateur Radio user and newest League member Dr. Ronald Georges explained how the system works, “Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, uses radio frequency spectrum for exchange of messages and emergency communication during a crisis. The amateur radio service is established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The BVI Amateur Radio League represents the local chapter and their operations are regulated by the BVI Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).”
Licensed operators with the league are approved to communicate across cities, regions, and countries around the world and even into space. The local group was established back in 1960 following Hurricane Donna by Arthur Swain, Bob Denniston, Joe Black, Lee Reisenweber and others.
The group has since evolved and been extremely active in recent times. It works closely with the DDM and is known to support local emergency response operations as it plays a key role in communicating with the outside world following impacts such as those that occurred in 2017.
Persons who are living in the BVI and are licensed operators are asked to make contact with the league. Those who wish to join the league and become licensed operators must do so through a testing centre in the USVI or Puerto Rico to ensure that they have a good understanding of key concepts in electronics and radio regulations used by the Government.
According to an estimate made in 2011 by the American Radio Relay League, over two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio. The BVI currently has 11 registered and licensed operators who are part of the BVI Amateur Radio League, with several others currently pursuing their licence.
Persons wishing to contact the BVI Amateur Radio League can do so by emailing [email protected].