Read below about our Ambassador, Tony Langdon's very cool hobby that is keeping him connected during the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks for sharing Tony!
"With the COVID-19 crisis, and the need to socially distance ourselves from each other, many have had to get creative as to how to maintain contact with people. In my case, I turned to amateur radio - an old hobby of mine - to keep in touch with people on a regular basis from home.
Amateur radio is a hobby that spans the world. It is defined as a radio service for technical investigation and personal communications without pecuniary interest (i.e. it can't be used for any business or money making purpose). These days, amateur radio is an extremely diverse hobby - for more information, here's a Wikipedia link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio. Amateur radio is popular among a number of people with a disability. Vision impaired amateurs are fairly commonplace, and it's also good for those who are mobility impaired. Another disability group attracted to the hobby is a subset of autistic people (including myself), who have technical interests and/or find the "communication at a distance" of radio easier.
One of the common activities on amateur radio is the setting up of "nets", which are an organised gathering on air of people who want to participate together. Nets can have many purposes, but there's been a few that I participate in, specially setup for for the COVID-19 crisis. These are:
Isolation Net - 10AM Monday to Friday, held on a number of linked repeater systems around Australia.
Sunday Coffee Morning Net - 10AM Sundays on the Mount Alexander repeater (VK3RCV).
Sandhurst Amateur Radio Club Net - 1PM Every day on the Mount Alexander repeater (VK3RCV).
On each of these nets, we check in with each other and share what we've been up to, which can be anything from projects, other radio activity, family stuffor in my case, training. :) They're a fun and relaxing way to stay in touch.
It is possible to listen in. If you're within the coverage area of a system hosting the net, you can listen in with a radio scanner. The Isolation Net is on a network of linked systems that covers a very wide area, and you just need to find one local to you. The other two nets can be received on VK3RCV, which transmits on 147.150 MHz FM, if you live in central Victoria (approximately from Woodend to past Bendigo). However, my own system provides a simple way to listen in via the Internet. You can listen to whatever my main VHF/UHF radio is tuned to on the Internet. The streaming feed can be accessed at http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/20657 ."