January 2017 sees the 15th anniversary of the first Foundation training course run by volunteers from the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS)
People from across Essex came to the first course held at the Danbury Village Hall and since then the volunteers have run 66 courses training over 400 people. People have traveled considerable distances to get to the course, with one coming from South London and another from Letchworth.
Amateur radio has undergone a resurgence in the past 15 years with the revised licence system making it more attractive to a wide range of people. Amateur radio appeals to people who have an interest in how things work, it is the original social network.
Radio amateurs use short-wave radio transmitters to talk to fellow enthusiasts around the world. They have their own communications satellites, can talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and are often involved with cutting-edge experimental wireless technology. It is an incredibly diverse and very popular interest with over three million people involved worldwide. Whether you want to chat to someone at home or abroad over the radio or be on standby to provide emergency support to your community there is a place for you in the worldwide amateur radio community.
CARS typically run two Foundation, one Intermediate and one Advanced course each year. The Foundation course runs over six Thursday evenings including the exam. Passing the straight-forward exam enables you to get a licence to operate using all modes on amateur bands from 136 kHz up to 10 GHz.
Cathy Colless M0RTW did the courses and went on to become a Radio Communications Officer at the Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.
In December 2006 Penny Bunting of the King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS) in Chelmsford approached the club about providing amateur radio training at the school. Penny was the school’s Engineering Coordinator and ran an after-school club the KEGS Young Engineers. CARS ran two courses at the school providing training for 34 students.
In 2007 CARS were awarded the prestigious Kenwood Trophy for Training. This trophy is awarded to those making a significant contribution to UK Training and Development in Amateur Radio within the United Kingdom.
In 2015 the training team were visited by the TX Factor Show production crew who reported on the team’s teaching success and interviewed the then training coordinator Clive Ward G1EUC now SK.
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