IARU Helps Raise Ham Radio Visibility in Ghana
The West African nation of Ghana may become less of a “rare one” in the future, thanks to an Amateur Radio Administration Course (ARAC) held earlier this month by International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) representatives. The IARU offers ARACs in developing countries, primarily to train regulators or prospective regulators on the administration of the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services.
“There were 28 students in total, 24 from the Ghana National Communications Authority (NCA), three from Kenya, and one from South Sudan,” said ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX/9G5AB, one of the course instructors. “All were attentive, engaged, and inquisitive.” IARU Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmermann, PB2T/9G5AA, also was an instructor.
The NCA hosted the ARAC June 3-7 in the capital of Accra. Speaking at the opening of the five-day session, NCA Director General Paarock Vanpercy stressed the need for Ghana to encourage Amateur Radio to develop an interest and awareness of technology among the country’s youth.
“In Africa and Ghana specifically Amateur Radio operations have not been patronized as they have been in the developed countries,” a Ghana Broadcasting Corporation story quotes Vanpercy as saying. “None of the licenses which have been granted to Amateur Radio Operators by the NCA went to Ghanaians.” Vanpercy commended Amateur Radio for its role in emergency communication.
Price said there are only 10 Ghanaian licensees on the books. “Hans has agreed to continue working with the NCA as they publish their Amateur Radio examination syllabus and conduct their first examinations in some time,” he added.
The ARAC addressed several topic areas, including Organization of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and IARU, Nature of Amateur Radio Services, ITU Radio Regulations, Introduction to Amateur Radio Activities, ITU Radio Regulations: Amateur Allocations, National Allocation Table and Sub-Regional Arrangements, Implementation of World Radio Conference (WRC) Changes, How Society Can Benefit from Amateur Radio, National Licensing and Regulations, Amateur Radio Examinations, International Roaming (ie, reciprocal licensing), Emergency Communications, and Electromagnetic Compatibility. Similar courses have been held over the years at ARRL Headquarters under the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI). Price said the curriculum in Ghana was largely the same as the USTTI course’s.
Price and Timmerman were granted licenses to operate from Ghana, and both did so “for instructional and recreational purposes,” Price said. As 9G5AA, Timmerman logged more than 1000 QSOs (QSL via PB2T), while Price reported logging “dozens of contacts” as 9G5AB (QSL exclusively via Logbook of the World).