Another round of free ham radio courses are starting up on Monday, and SRD protective services coordinator Shawn Koopman is encouraging anyone even remotely interested in at least dropping in to find out if it’s for them. Chechu Risk/Common License Photo

Another round of free SRD ham radio training starts Monday

While participants are encouraged to attend all sessions of the training, it’s not mandatory

Strathcona Regional District Protective Services Coordinator Shawn Koopman is reminding anyone “even slightly interested in ham radio” that the next round of free training sessions start Monday.

“Even if you can’t take the entire course this time around, I encourage everyone to at least come out to Monday’s information session to learn more about it and see if it’s maybe for them,” Koopman says. “Amateur radio operators will be a key component in the region’s ability to communicate should a major event make other means of communcation impossible, so the more people are trained in its use, the better off we’ll all be.”

Plus, it’s also just a ton of fun.

High Frequency (HF) radio is simple and quick to deploy and provides communications capability for users no matter where they are. Fixed base stations can be used to communicate with other bases or to provide command and control for mobile (vehicle-mounted) and portable (manpack) users in the field.

And compared with satellite telephony, the most common alternative technology for communications of last resort, HF radio is the economical choice. Once the initial investment in equipment is made, there are no call costs or ongoing monthly line or equipment rentals. Also, HF radio equipment is built tough to withstand the extreme conditions, which proves to be very cost-effective.

The upcoming course consists of eight sessions, all held at the Sportsplex, on Mondays (Jan. 14, 21, 28 and Feb. 4 and 11) and Saturdays (Feb. 2, 9 and 23). While participants are encouraged to attend all sessions of the training, it’s not mandatory. Completion of the course is based on passing the basic operator’s exam at the end of the program.

Those receiving certification will then be certified for life to operate ham radio on public frequencies to communicate with others all over the world – or just across town.

And should they chose – although they are under no obligation to do so – they could also become part of Koopman’s communication teams to help in the event of a major disaster or help others learn the skills required to be part of the team.

Any questions on the program, the communication teams or anything else about general emergency preparedness, contact Koopman directly at 250-830-6702 or by email at

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