Rainbow Radio League celebrates 22 Years
January 31, 2017
Rainbow Radio League celebrates 22 Years

It was from the summit of Mt St Andrews on Sunday, January 22, 1995 that the announcement was made that the Rainbow Radio League (RRL) was formed.

Five enthusiastic radio amateurs, toting emergency communications equipment, hiked up this country’s fourth highest peak and at about 8 am, made a CQ call on 14.283 Mhz. As fate would have it, a Vincentian living in the USA, Vincent Bacchus KA2CPA, intercepted the call and answered. We were all elated.

Vince, as he is fondly referred to, later that year was the guest of honour when the RRL was formally launched. During the initial contact from the summit of Mt St Andrews, he quizzed the current director Donald De Riggs J88CD about the name of the organization, and was informed that one of the original names of St Vincent was Youlou, which means “Rainbow”, hence Rainbow Radio League.

The RRL has in the past and continues to support the work of NEMO and its support organizations, as we work together for the welfare of our beloved country. NEMO, too, recognizes the importance of our role as communicators, giving maximum support to our training activities.

To mark the 22nd anniversary, the ‘colours’ met at the director’s home to celebrate the occasion with a short overview of our operations over the years including our impact with our regional neighbours, Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada, through a first responder training exercise dubbed “Operation X,” which was conducted for five years consecutively from 2006-2010. We now have a team of Vincentian radio operators who know where all the main emergency shelters are located in the previously mentioned territories and vice versa.

The high point of the social evening was the proposal of toasts to the sustainable work of the RRL over the years. A prayer of thanksgiving was delivered by our most senior radio operator and RRL technical director, Claude Richards J85M. The director thanked all members for their support over the years as well as all companies and sponsors, including CIDA and Barrett Communications, that assisted our work over the years.

According to the director, our biggest challenge is to get our own HQ from which to conduct our operations, including training, as well as a few SAR boats and land based vehicles to enhance our operations. The commencement of operations from the AIA will also mean the increase in the possibility of accidents at sea; therefore an additional maritime response capability would greatly assist our local coastguard. At the moment all members operate from their homes or mobiles and meet in person only when required, as we communicate wirelessly on a daily basis.

Two-way radios are the most reliable form of communications, especially when the phone service is disrupted. At least three major field exercises involving two-way radios are held annually to keep members’ operational skills sharp.(Contributed by Donald DeRiggs)