AMATEUR RADIO (also known as Ham Radio) is a popular hobby all over the world, with members often stepping-up to the mark in times of disaster, such at the recent hurricane and floods in the USA, and to conduct emergency communications until regular systems are restored. It is not just a hobby for the boys — in Australia we have our own Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association (ALARA).
Founded in 1975, ALARA now has over 200 members in Australia, with ‘sponsored’ members all over the world, who operate reciprocal memberships within their own countries.
Every three years, ALARA holds a get-together somewhere in Australia, and for this first time ever, it will take place in Cairns, FNQ, on the second week-end in September. Almost 50 members and partners are flying in to Cairns from all over Australia, including Perth and Tasmania, along with some members from New Zealand.
The event takes place at Cairns Colonial Club, starting with registration on the Friday, followed by a Welcome Dinner.
Saturday sees some fun radio-related activities in the conference centre, with display tables showcasing various aspects of the hobby, ranging from morse code to computer logging. Demonstrations and member participation is encouraged.
A mini-foxhunt is planned; this is a type of treasure hunt using directional antennas to find a hidden transmitter or ‘fox’ and is very popular among scout groups.
Sunday takes our visitors on a tour of the Atherton Tablelands, travelling up by train and skyrail, then taking a big loop by coach through this diverse region of north Queensland. A highlight is a visit to Mareeba Heritage Centre, which houses a display of the first licensed amateur radio station in Queensland XQA.
Sunday finishes back at the Colonial Club with a Gala Dinner, with a Pirate theme — marking the 50th anniversary of the famous pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, being declared illegal.
There will be lots of fun prizes and competitions along the way, with many members already having made their own costumes. It is bound to be a fun event.
If you’d like to learn more about Amateur Radio or ALARA, visit www.alara.org.au