Today amateur radio is a hobby that’s enjoyed by enthusiasts worldwide. Classroom students, astronauts in orbit, and volunteers of the Almonte Amateur Radio Club (AARC) are having fun with two-way radio communications.
“It’s an exciting time to be a radio amateur”, explained AARC President Rob Webb, VE3UIX. “Bouncing signals off the ionosphere has been the traditional way to reach distant locations, and is still used extensively by amateurs in contests, but new digital technologies now combine amateur radio with computers and the internet. With a handheld transceiver, the world is at your fingertips.”
Public service is an important aspect of the Almonte club too. Volunteers make available their skills, equipment, and time to provide communication services in the community. Over the years, these have included goblin patrols in town at Halloween, as well as triathlon, dog sled, car rally, and bicycle events in the area.
On Sunday, November 6th, Club members will be operating in shifts as they talk to the world around the clock at the Mill of Kintail gatehouse. The public is invited to attend between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during this 24 hour project. AARC volunteers will be on hand to introduce visitors to the fun of amateur radio, and explain the operations of this unique event. They’re hoping families will attend too.
Setting up and operating the special event stations at the Mill of Kintail gatehouse is the first part of this global project. During the November 6th event, AARC volunteers will be keeping logbooks with details of all the contacts they make.
When the equipment has been packed up and taken home, the next task will be to prepare and mail a special commemorative card to each radio amateur who participated. On the back, along with printed information about the 150th anniversary event, the date, time, and technical details of the transmission will be recorded by the station operator to verify the contact. Featured on the front will be a photo composition of the historical Mill building with James Naismith and his friend R. Tait McKenzie.
QSL cards, as they’re known, are exchanged by amateur radio operators in all parts of the world to confirm two-way radio contacts between stations. Later on, in the new year, a public display will be organized of the QSL cards that arrived from around the globe.
Additional information about the Almonte Amateur Radio Club and this special event is available on-line at
Watch for updates in The Millstone News when the design of the QSL card is unveiled, antennas and radios are tested on site, and the gatehouse operation is ready for visitors.