Issue date: 27 June 2011
Amateur radio enthusiasts are set to stage a worldwide event at The Waterways Festival to celebrate the launch of British Inland Waterways on the Air (BiWota) – a 50-strong group of canal and amateur radio enthusiasts.
Dozens of Amateur Radio Operators (AROs) are set to take part in the group’s first ever event which aims to share the pleasures of Britain’s Inland Waterways with people across the UK and world through radio communication from boats, towpaths and even a kayak!
A special event licence has been issued by OfCom to create The Waterways Festival station. Founder of BiWota and a Regional Manager for the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), John Rogers who will be leading the team of AROs said:
“It’s an exciting challenge for the newly formed team and the festival itself is a great launch pad to create awareness with waterways enthusiasts. The aim is to make contact with as many amateur stations across the UK and the world to publicise the opportunities that the waterways offer for leisure activities.”
Operators will use VHF and shortwave radio to spread the word nationwide and internationally that:
• Over half the population of the UK lives within five miles of a canal or river.
• Every year more than ten million people visit Britain’s inland waterways to fish, walk the towpath, observe wildlife or go boating and enjoy the sheer splendour of our canals and navigable rivers.
• That just a few years ago these exceptional places of peace and relaxation were nearly lost forever.
The group will also be participating in the Radio Society of Great Britain’s (RSGB) annual ‘Islands on the Air’ (IOTA) contest from 11.00am Saturday for 24 hours. The aim of the contest is for AROs to put as many islands as possible on the air, often with the use of portable and battery-powered equipment.
“Festival goers who do not have radio licences will have a chance to try out amateur radio for themselves at the event and have a unique opportunity to communicate with people across the globe by radio transmission. It’s going to be a great event!,” summed up John.