Jay Melvin (left) and Eric Kehler take to the airwaves Saturday

Creating airwaves

Group tests radio skills

They weren’t the largest or most heavily-equipped organization involved in the annual Field Day radio competition.

But keen members of the White Rock Amateur Radio Club were out at Centennial Park last weekend to demonstrate they, too, can play their role in emergency communications.

Ralph Webb, a director of the club, said the team arrived on site at 10 a.m. and by 11 a.m., official local start time of the event, had a portable radio set up and ready to contact hundreds of other participating clubs across North America.

The competition is a test of groups’ readiness to broadcast through a 24-hour period in the heavy radio traffic of a real-life emergency.

The club was founded 15 years ago by former White Rock mayor Hardy Staub, as a “fourth tier” of communication able to help the city should an emergency occur.

“We are still involved with current fire Chief Phil Lemire and the Emergency Preparedness Committee,” Webb said.

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