Peel Amateur Radio Group in Mandurah. By Tony Boddy July 2017.
The Peel Amateur Radio Group (PARG) has been active now for 35 years. In fact 2017 is our 35th anniversary year. The group has been proudly attached for many years to the Mandurah SES as a secondary communications group and has offered its services as communicators in the event that the usual communications systems fail during an emergency. PARG has personnel with their own equipment and vehicles to set up self powered fully mobile Amateur Radio stations to pass messages for official purposes as well as personal family information for friends and relatives of disaster victims. Our stations being mobile can be deployed to places where there are no phones or power. We can transmit data, pictures, fax and of course voice.
Technical advances have enhanced the capability of the group from across the town talk to worldwide communications and also to space age contacts with many of the manned satellites orbiting around the Earth. We do have a wireless repeater which allows us to speak with amateurs throughout the Peel district with handheld radios no bigger than a couple of matchboxes joined together. The repeater was situated at the old SES building in Park Road Mandurah. With the move of the SES to new headquarters in Greenfields we had the opportunity of installing a better antenna in a higher position. PARG is a self funded group with minimal resources and so we applied to the Mandurah City Council for a grant to fund the mast and antenna.
We are extremely grateful to the Mandurah City Council’s Community Associations Fund, the committee of which approved our application for $1,883.16. The antenna and mast was purchased and with the input of most of the members all components for the project were sourced and the antenna has been installed. We estimate that the new antenna will increase the already good VHF coverage of the Peel District so that we can work with emergency service groups from all areas if necessary.
Wireless Institute of Australia, of which The Peel Amateur Radio Group is an affiliate, has worked hard with the Australian Communications and Media Authority to assume the responsibility for training and licensing of new Amateurs. Now it is the easiest it has ever been to become an Amateur. PARG has qualified assessors and training personnel to help interested members of the community to become Amateur Radio Operators. They have trained and qualified 14 new Amateurs during the last 12 months with 4 more on the books.
Being an Amateur can be a lifetime commitment to what most of us like to call the greatest pastime in the world. Where else can one travel to the other side of the world at the press of a button? We have in our ranks an older gentleman, an octogenarian, a respected amateur and citizen of Mandurah, also a founding member of the group. Our youngest amateur, a 14 year old from a family of 5 who all became qualified this year. The Peel Amateur Radio Group extends an open invitation to all community members to visit and talk with us about Amateur Radio, you may like to join us.