From my early years in Ham Radio, I recall clearly some of the operators who were instrumental in starting the SARA group. There always seemed to be someone in the Red Cross Room #107 on Gottingen Street in Halifax; almost like their station away from home. I was not sure exactly what it was they were doing at the station most of the time. Ironically, now it seems like I am the one “always” at the Red Cross station and I’m sure local operators are asking the same questions. I’ve been an amateur operator for 20 years and it’s long been clear to me that having the Atlantic provinces connected through radio links would be a valuable tool. When I connected with the SARA Group a few years ago my goal was to learn the appropriate skills and to perhaps make this Atlantic connection a reality. We cannot wait until after a disaster strikes to start looking for equipment and operators who can be of assistance. Each Thursday at 1145 hrs we connect with the aid of the TMR system throughout many locations of Atlantic Canada. At 1225 hrs we practice with the linking system and as Net Control Station, have an opportunity to improve our skills in connecting with stations and to further understand our complete linking system; the Mavcom and Marcan systems as well as the IRG system in New Brunswick. Now the IRLP reflector 9013, will give many other operators in Atlantic the ability to connect to us. We even encourage stations to connect to us from echo link. During our weekly Red Cross Net, the net controller will invite all operators from Atlantic Canada to check-in: giving their call, first name, plus telling us what frequency they are transmitting on. NCS will give audio report on your signal and ask for any traffic. A formal log is kept during all our nets The Standard Operation Procedure for the new Red Cross Telecom Group has yet to be finalized. We are now directly linked to the Red Cross Centre’s Emergency Response Team, joining forces with the 180 existing members. We are commissioned by the province to provide humanitarian services when disaster strikes. This would include aiding any persons put out of their homes by evacuation or fire. The system can be activated through 911 Dispatch. Team leaders will alert the offices of the Red Cross and then direct the response that may be required. Upon request for assistance in communication, the Duty Officer must call his Deputy and immediately go to the telecom Room. The Duty Officer will initiate call-outs for operators and begin a schedule. The Duty Officer will staff the telecom room, sign out equipment, log any traffic and-or messages. We also have available all phone numbers of personnel that could be of assistance. The Telecom Group is now in the process of collecting the names of volunteers who have a special interest in communications. Training will begin soon. Some of the radios are commercial types so we will need to understand “Ten code” but are encouraged to only use Formal words. Although SARA is no more, radio communications is still needed by the Red Cross and in the tradition of Amateur Radio, when the need arises we come together to help. An Amateur License is not required to assist in the telecom room.
73 all Emil Pineau ve1esp, last President of SARA
P.S. I’m looking for the names of original SARA Operators and some information or comment about each.