Youlou Radio Movement receives more assistance
Press Release
February 24, 2023

Youlou Radio Movement receives more assistance

by Donald De Riggs

The Rainbow Radio League/Youlou Radio Movement (RRL/YRM), is now one step closer to developing an island-wide HF emergency communications (Emcoms) network, thanks to another donation of radios and antennas from Barrett Communications, Australia.

The equipment which arrived on February 14, 2023, according to RRL/YRM Director, Donald De Riggs – J88CD, can be viewed as a ‘gift of love’, not only from Barrett, but from all the agencies and government departments that assisted with the transport and clearance of this vital equipment.

Amateur radio, also known as ‘Ham radio’ is both a hobby and service provided by volunteers world over. The equipment is normally powered by a 12 volt DC source which makes this type of equipment ideal in times of natural or man made emergencies. It allows radio operators to communicate locally, regionally and worldwide in the absence of a phone service.

With recent advancements in Ham radio, it is now possible to send emails wirelessly through a programme called WINLINK and CLOVER MAIL, as well as sending/receiving texts via other digital modes like PSK31 and RTTY.

Pictures can also be transmitted wirelessly via SSTV, and, with an increasing number of Ham radio satellites and balloons (one of which was mistakenly shot down recently), hams can monitor the weather on a real time basis as well as communicating via satellites including chatting with astronauts on the International Space station. The cell phones used by almost everyone nowadays is based on radio technology first developed by radio amateurs.

This is the third donation from Barrett Communications, Australia, and will be deployed in the Grenadines and other vulnerable communities throughout our multi-island state. It is part of the emergency communications infrastructure that NEMO relies on in times of national emergency. During the recent La Soufriere eruptions, local Hams were in daily contact with
CDEMA, the regional disaster response agency, as a redundant communications path, should the phone system collapse.

Equipment donated by Barrett in the past was also used in Dominica following the devastation by hurricane Maria, when a joint medical and Emcoms team from SVG did a three week rotation on that severely damaged island. So despite the fact that the equipment was donated to SVG, other regional countries are also the beneficiaries of these well intentioned donations, for which the RRL/YRM is indeed grateful.

The RRL/YRM wishes to use this opportunity to thank Barrett for their understanding and kindness in providing us with both new and demo equipment, which we continue to use for our on-going training activities as well as during the annual hurricane season. As soon as the equipment has been programmed and deployed the radios will be tested in preparation for the annual pre-hurricane drill to be staged in May or early June of this year.

SVG is now in a better position to handle emergency communications services, thanks to Barrett and all other stakeholders. This donation included HF radios, broad band dipole antennas, a portable antenna mast, small solar panels for portable operations and spare microphones.