About the Barrie Amateur Radio Club

The club started as a loosely knit group of hobbyists in the mid 1960’s and formally organized as a club in 1968. At that time they were meeting in the basement of the old Registry Office building which was located at the site of the old County Court House building in Barrie. The building was being used by the Emergency Measures Organization. Later, with connections to Georgian College, BARC meetings were held in the Rowntree Theatre at the College. In fact, the club call sign VE3GCB was picked to represent “Georgian College Barrie”, and the club repeater VE3RAG was located in the penthouse on one of the college campus buildings. In 1982 with the help of 10 of the active members the organization was incorporated in the province of Ontario. For several years, the Club met at the Zehrs Store Community Room on Bayfield Street and  on Big Bay Point Road at Yonge Street, then it met for a number of years at Barrie North Collegiate. The Barrie Amateur Radio Club currently meets regularly at the Eastview Secondary School at 421 Grove St. East (in the Cafetorium), and provides service to the community and amateurs of central Ontario.

Our Club’s Mission is to

  • Promote amateur radio in the community and provide the training and support required to become an amateur radio operator;
  • Maintain radio systems suitable for providing communications for the benefit of the community; and when requested, to assist civil authorities.
  • Provide an opportunity for amateur radio enthusiasts to socialize, learn, exchange ideas and contribute to the enjoyment of our hobby.

Our Club’s Vision

We aim to be one of the most progressive, enthusiastic and friendly amateur radio clubs in Canada; supporting ham radio for all, in our community.

Meetings

The Club usually meets the second Tuesday of every month except July and August (summer break) at 7:15pm.

What we do

The club participates in community events whenever possible. It varies from things like providing communications for a Walk a Dog a Thon to having an information booth at community events.

The premier event of the year is called Field Day. Field Day is sort of a practice session for disaster communications. All over North America Amateur Radio groups, clubs, and individuals set up their equipment in a simulated disaster mode using generators for power and setting up antennas and operating gear in tents usually in a field, hence the name “Field Day”. The object of the exercise is to make as many contacts as possible with other Field Day competitors during a 24 hour period. The pace is pretty hectic during daylight hours, first setting up all the gear and getting prepared, then in the wee hours of the morning you see who the truly dedicated radio operators are. It’s a great opportunity to see radio communication at its finest. It also is an opportunity for unlicensed enthusiasts to try their hand at using the equipment under the guidance of a licensed operator. Field Day is on the 3rd or 4th weekend in June of every year.
Give one of our contacts a call and try to get out to see it. All ages are welcome.

The club also contains a group called the CBSS ARES Group (City of Barrie and South-Simcoe Amateur Radio Emergency Service Group) which meets regularly to practice emergency communications techniques. Anyone interested in this type of public service is welcome to become involved.

A second special interest group is called the WAX Group (the Wireless Amateur Experimenter Group) consisting of club members who like to build things for our hobby or are technically inclined. WAX Group members meet regularly on Thursday evenings. Contact the club for more information.

Affiliations

The Barrie Amateur Radio Club is a RAC affiliated club (#34283) and along with many other clubs provide support to other public service groups. Radio Amateurs of Canada, (RAC) is our national organization which provides a voice for Amateurs with our Federal Government and internationally with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). Two of the branches of RAC that provide public service are, (ARES) Amateur Radio Emergency Service, and (NTS) National Traffic System. ARES is an organization of licensed radio amateurs who have registered their qualifications and equipment with RAC to provide communications in times of disaster. NTS is an organization of licensed radio amateurs who provide a network of operators that can relay formal message traffic around the world. Both of these groups will usually be providing their services to the Red Cross who coordinates the distribution of information to the public. One important type of traffic for the Red Cross is the Registration and Inquiry information. That service provides information to disaster victims and their friends and families to help reunite them.

Another recently formed and very important public service group is the Canadian Weather Amateur Radio Network (CANWARN). It is a joint project between Environment Canada and local amateur radio groups. It is an organization of licensed radio amateurs who are trained in the recognition of severe weather conditions. Its main purpose is to observe weather conditions at the time when tornadoes are likely to occur. When Environment Canada determines that there is a possible threat of tornadoes the group is called into action. A number of amateur radio repeaters in the effected area are linked together into a network. Network controllers are called into an amateur station set up at the Canada Weather office. The trained weather spotters relay information to the weather office via their ham radio equipment where the Weather Specialist determines what reports go out to warn the public via TV and radio reports. It gets pretty exciting hearing all the reports of things as they happen.