All members and directors of PGARC are unpaid volunteers. Prince George is the largest city in the northern two thirds of the province, so it is natural that we would have the largest and most active club in the area. We are fortunate that a high percentage of our members have advanced technical skills and are highly motivated. Of course that also means that our to-do list sometimes grows faster than our job-done list. We welcome anyone who would like to join us on any of our projects. You don’t have to be an expert. We all learn from doing and from each other. Besides, lots of what we do, even on repeater installation or maintenance trips, is pretty basic stuff. We always have fun at what ever we do. Sometimes that means turning a project into a family camping trip or it may be an excuse for a quad or snowmobile ride. What ever it is, there is lots of joking around and the fun of working together on an old fashioned work-bee. Have a look st some of the photos in the “Radio Sites” section of this web site. This is just a tiny bit of the incredible scenery that you’ll see if you join the team!
The Prince George Amateur Radio Club is an active volunteer partner with Emergency Management BC (EMBC) through their Provincial Emergency Radio Communication Service (PERCS), to provide radio communication during an emergency or disaster. PGARC purchased and equipped a new custom built radio communication trailer. Because it is so well equipped, if it were in the USA, it would qualify as a ‘national resource’ under the FEMA definitions. We will take the trailer anywhere it is needed as long as it is dispatched (tasked) by EMBC. It has been used in a remote location south of Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin region and it was used for 6 days in the Terrace area during the search for a lost American tourist, as well as many jobs closer to home.
We have a mix of formal and informal agreements with EMBC, Prince George Search and Rescue (PGSAR), the City of Prince George, Regional District of Fraser Fort George (RDFFG), Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN), and the Red Cross. For hands-on training and a fun weekend together, we take the trailer to a different remote location (camp site) each year where we operate on solar power to exercise both it and our skills during the annual North America wide Field Day Contest on the last full weekend of June.
This trailer is also used to support community events. They give us another training opportunity and provide our members with more experience with the equipment and procedures. Our members have provided communication services and traffic control for numerous public events that have been held in our city during the last two decades. This includes the canoe race, BC Northern Games, BC Senior Games, and traffic control for countless parades and fund-raising walks and runs.
The club owns and maintains an extensive Amateur Radio VHF and UHF radio network using mountain top repeaters. All our repeaters use modern, reliable radio equipment and have backup power in case the power grid fails. PGARC members work with and assist other clubs and individuals in the region to expand and maintain the radio network that now covers most communities and highways in the northern 2/3 of the province. The entire network is tested every Sunday morning as part of the weekly “Northern BC 2-Meter Net”. This repeater network is invaluable when we are working with Search and Rescue (SAR) to help to find and rescue missing people.
The club meets at 19:30 on the third Wednesday of each month at the EMBC office at the corner of Ferry and Westwood. We use also Zoom so out of town members can participate in our meetings. Adjacent clubs have been invited to participate to help coordinate activities and visitors are always welcome. Before our business meeting, the PREOC radio equipment is tested for operational readiness. Meetings frequently include demonstrations and short training sessions. Following the meetings, we usually go for coffee at a near-by coffee shop. Daily & weekly gatherings at coffee shops are both social events and opportunities to discuss work plan details and to ‘brain-storm’ ideas before presenting them to the membership as a project for approval.
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