Montreal Amateur Radio Club


APCO Conference 2004 - Montréal Quebec - August 8-12, 2004

August 13, 2004

This year's APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Officials) Annual Conference was held in Montréal, Quebec and members of the Montreal Amateur Radio Club and the Club Radio Amateur Rive-Sud Montréal played a role at the conference.  The amateur radio presence at the conference was organized by the Director General (General Manager) of RAQI, our provincial Amateur Radio organization, M. Guy Lamoureux, VE2LGL.

The primary purpose of our attendance was to give Amateur Radio visibility at this very important annual conference of Public Safety officials, in particular local government agencies that still are not aware of the capabilities of Amateur Radio in emergency situations.  A secondary role of welcoming visiting Amateur Radio operators developed after a few Amateurs stopped by the table on Sunday afternoon while it was being manned by James and myself.  It was decided that we should start keeping track of those who passed by the booth from that time on.  We did have the CRA Rive-Sud Montréal (VE2CLM) communications trailer on Monday and Tuesday during the business hours of the conference.

Many thanks to the CRARSM club and to Guy Mercier, VE2GMP and Jean-Paul Harvey, VE2HPP for bringing the trailer both mornings and setting it up and then coming back in the afternoon to dismantle the installation and take the trailer back to Longueil.  A very special thank you from both James and myself to Steven Henke, W9SH for helping re-program the Kenwood TM-742A that we were using at the station we were operating in the Convention Centre.  It had lost its CTCSS setting and despite my efforts to reprogram it, it refused all my efforts to do so.  Steve works for Kenwood USA and when his efforts to try and correct the problem failed, he called the Kenwood Service tech in Atlanta, GA and it was through his efforts he enabled us to get back on the air on 70 cm.  Also thanks to Steven Verbil, NA1SV and Chris Verbil, N5CV for helping Paul MacDougall get the FT-897 HF radio in the VE2CLM communications trailer working.

The APCO conference was a very good opportunity meet other Amateurs and to share information which could prove useful in the future.  James and I both visited the Exhibits on both Tuesday and Wednesday for a short time and saw a lot of nice toys that we both wish we could afford including a couple of Mobile Command Centres that was there on display.  Of special interest to me was the talk given by Dan Miller, K3UFG, the ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager entitled "Not a Last Resort -- Amateur Radio in support of Homeland Security".  While it does deal with Homeland Security and the role Amateur Radio will play in it, the concepts can be borrowed to Canadian ARES and other emergency operations to improve both communication and inter-personal skills of both Amateur radio operators and managers.

Operators from The Montreal Amateur Radio Club included Ron Campbell, VA2RJC, Paul "Mac" MacDougall, VA2YQ, Vernon Ikeda, VE2MBS and James Hay, VE2VE and from the Club Radio Amateur Rive-Sud Montréal, Guy Mercier, VE2GMP and Jean-Paul Harvey, VE2HPP a special thanks for trailer.  In addition, the RAQI President, Mario Bilodeau, VE2EKL came on Monday morning to help set up the trailer and Jean-Guy Renaud, VE2AIK passed by the booth on Tuesday to take pictures for the RAQI newsbulletin, "Le RadioAmateur".  We had a steady flow of visitors thoughout the conference, both at the booth and the trailer.  At least 65 amateurs signed the sign-in sheet that we had out.  We did get a number of comments but the most common ones were "I wish that Amateur Radio could be more visible at events like this", "I should have brought my handi-talkie" and "You folks are doing a great job of helping promote the hobby".  I have to admit that I really enjoyed spending the nearly four full days (half days Sunday and Thursday and Monday to Wednesday from 08:00 to 17:00).

73 de Vernon, VE2MBS

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