by: Donald DeRiggs
January 22, 2022 marked the 27th anniversary of the Rainbow Radio league, now the Youlou Radio Movement (YRM), a community service, volunteer organisation with a special emphasis on emergency communications and mass casualty management. The organisation was launched from the summit of Mt. St. Andrews on January 22, 1995 when five radio operators announced the start up of the RRL to the world. On that Sunday morning right after the announcement was made there was a shower of rain after which a perfectly beautiful rainbow adorned the western skies, as if to smile on the ushering in of this country’s most active amateur radio organisation.
When in 2020 when the RRL turned 25, a decision was made to rebrand and change our name to Youlou Radio Movement, reconnecting with our indigenous roots. Radio amateurs in another Caribbean territory, Dominica, have already named their organisation after that country’s original name, Waitikubuli Amateur Radio Association (WARA). The YRM is already contemplating another change to Youlou Amateur Radio Association* (YARA) as radio amateurs in both Grenada (Camerhonge Amateur Radio Association * –CARA) and St. Lucia (Hewanorra Amateur Radio Association* – HARA) are also contemplating a name change for the same reasons. *Proposed names.
On Saturday, January 22, 2022 about 20 RRL/YRM members and their immediate families converged at the Fort Charlotte Gardens where they had a perfect view of Mt. St. Andrews for an afternoon celebration, the open air breezy conditions making the outing even more pleasurable. The small gathering heard Sean Patterson – J88CU, one of the original five colours recall the trek up the more than 2000 feet high Mt. St. Andrews with an 85 pound battery, radio equipment and tent. The celebration menu included the national dish and conch souse.
On this occasion, two visiting radio amateurs Ira Harris – VP2EIH from Anguilla, and Donald Howe – 9Z4FV from Trinidad were inducted as honorary members of the YRM. The following day, a much smaller group visited the most senior radio amateurs in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Mary – J88AM and Martin Barnard – J88AA, and presented them with an award in appreciation of the assistance they have given to the RRL/YRM over the years. For four years consecutively, and in collaboration with Paul Gravel of SVGAIR, they made charter aircraft available free of cost, while SOL provided the fuel for the aircraft so that we could conduct a field exercise dubbed “Operation X” which involved an exchange of radio amateurs from Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica and SVG.
(See “Operation X” SVG on youtube). The couple also made a catamaran available for the YRM to conduct a training exercise on Savan island in the Grenadines. In expressing his gratitude for the token, Martin said, “It is not so much the value of the gift, but the thought that went into it that mattered most”. An awards ceremony planned since December 2020 as the highlight of its 25th anniversary was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the easing of global and local covid restrictions and without letting down its guard, the YRM, as part of its plan to keep its members sharp and focused, will be conducting several POTA (Parks on the air) and SOTA (Summits on the air) activities this year, the first one from Fort Charlotte to coincide with its 27th anniversary. The next activity will be a SOTA event from Fort Duvernette. The YRM intends to stage these activities every two to three months during this year.