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Hams now better prepared for crises

Hams now better prepared for crises

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One of St. Vincent’s leading commercial banks and a national regulating agency have teamed up to ensure that a larger number of Vincentians are equipped to aid communications, particularly during disasters.{{more}}

National Commercial Bank (NBC) and National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) have instituted a programme to train and test local amateur (ham) radio operators.

During September they conducted one course each in Bequia and on the mainland for a number of persons, including secondary school students, cadets, officers from the NTRC and management officials from NBC. Participants were tested by an invigilator from NTRC at NEMO headquarters in Kingstown.

Amateur radio is a self regulating hobby and service, with the local telecommunications authority in each country being responsible for issuing licences.

The NTRC, recognising the role that ham operators play in everyday communications, and especially during disasters, has waived the annual licence fee after the initial charge of EC $50, which covers registration and authorisation to use the frequencies allocated to amateur radio.

All hams have to do thereafter is to register annually so that the NTRC could maintain an “up-to-date” data base of all the active radio operators in this country.

Meanwhile, Government has been requested to waive the licence fees for children attending school as well as for volunteers like cadets, boy scouts, girl guides, shelter managers and district medical doctors and nurses, as these persons also give service in times of natural disaster.

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