Local radio hams face new rules

| 20/04/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Local News, amateur radio(CNS): The 25 amateur radio hams in Cayman who enjoy communicating over the global radio-waves are now subject to new regulations, which were formalized last month, the government announced today (Monday 19 April.) According to a GIS release, Cabinet adopted regulations to govern amateur radio in accordance with the Information and Communications Technology Authority Law (2006), which came into effect following their publication in the Cayman Islands Gazette on 29 March. Amateur radio is a service as well as a hobby, with participants communicating with fellow amateurs at home and abroad using a broad range of technologies.

World-wide, an estimated two million people are regularly involved with amateur radio, and as well as the 25 resident hams in Cayman, around 75 other operators visit the islands annually. Radio amateurs have a long history of contributing to developments in radio communication. Despite the growth in mobile telecommunications over the last decade, it is radio amateurs who often provide the first links between stricken communities and the rest of the world following natural or man-made disasters.

The effect of the new regulations will be to create a scheme for the issuance of amateur radio licences by the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) to persons who have satisfied the ICTA, by way of examination, of theirknowledge and competence with respect to electricity and radio, including amateur radio apparatus.
It will also allow for the recognition of licences issued by the United Kingdom and other countries which have agreed to grant, with respect to the Cayman Islands, reciprocal amateur radio operating privileges.
The regulations will ensure compliance with international standards, including the requirement that amateur radios be operated without any financial interest, and minimise the likelihood of interference caused by, and suffered by, amateur radio operators.
GIS said the regulations were developed in collaboration with the Cayman Amateur Radio Society (CARS). As an ICTA agent, CARS will administer the examination for licence applicants. President John Darby said the organisation was delighted that Cabinet had confirmed what he said were “important regulations” and was looking forward to working with the ICTA to licence amateur radio operators.
Minister for District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, acknowledged the work of local hams in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
“Ham operators can play a pivotal role in emergency situations, just as they did during and after Hurricane Ivan when they provided an important communication link between Cayman and the National Hurricane Centre in Florida,” said O’Connor-Connolly. “These new regulations will ensure that they can continue to provide this important public service, in accordance with international standards.” 
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  1. Sandy Beaches says:

    I was born in 1962 in Florida….due to medical reasons my mother had to stay in the US for the last 4 months of her pregnancy. My father remained home in Cayman working. The only way for him to find out what was happening with mother and eventually me was via Mr. Frank Scotland’s Ham Radio. I am also told that Mr. Scotland was involved in local Ham Radio communication long before that.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Loved the old photo of Tony Hancock


    What a star!

  3. Anonymous says:

    My hearfelt thanks to Radio Ham Dr. Dave Godfrey who was the first to let my family overseas know we were all safe after hurricane Ivan. Had it not been for his thoughtfulness they would have endured several more days of anxiety whist they waited to hear if we were safe. Compliance with international standards would seem a logical step for this already expert and socially conscious group.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they are all indeed expert and socially conscious (and I have no reason to doubt they are otherwise) why on earth do they have to be regulated?

      They seem perfectly apt at handling themselves without this unnecessary burden.

      • Blogerator says:

        Ever thought the regulations might be to ‘protect’ the good amateurs from someone else getting a radio and ‘hamming’ up their airwaves?

        Ever notice that as soon as some people see the words ‘government regulations’ they think its a problem?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Am surprised the Gov. has seen fit to regulate ham radio but not early years settings. Guess the lives of Cayman’s children are not that important?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you mean the Government has spent time and money dealing with this issue instead of improving the quality of education in schools so that the children have a better future, you are spot on sir.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry. I do not see the need for yet further government intervention and yet further regulation.

    What caused the "need" to regulate these 25 people?

    Has Cayman not yet learned that the more you regulate, the more it costs to police those regulations and enforce them. The more meddling Government has in the island the worse off the island is, and the more costs accrue.

    Of all the costs spent so far in putting together the framework for these regulations, would it not be better time spent to focus on some of the real issues of the island?


    • Anonymous says:

      and God help them when the international regulators start gunning after Cayman for all the copyright violations both broadcast on the radio and TV too, not to mention sales at music and video stores….

    • PLeg says:

      "What caused the "need" to regulate these 25 people?" the simple answer is based on the need to be internationally compliant and to provide us with new regulations. We always had regulations until the 2003 ICTA Law.

      Cayman is part of the world wide international body that regulates such affairs , and also has regional obligations that we must adhere to as radio waves do travel between countries. There are Ham Radio Tourists who visits our shores especially to acquire a unique call-sign which is a form of Sports Tourism. Surely we want to ensure such Tourists keep coming.

      There are several aspects to the Hobby such as 1. Public Service Emergency Communications 2. Training in Electronics/Radio Technology 3. Radio Sport Contests 4. Advancing of new technologies.It was the first form of social-networking. Many of the communications technologies we take for granted today were initially created by Radio Amateurs.

      If you are interested in finding out more about this hobby, who have produced many prominent persons around the world including the late US Senator Barry Goldwater please google Ham Radio,or go to http://www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio-1 

      You will find that Radio Hams are rarely publicity seekers and do their bit for society without fanfare or a need to "show-off ", but when all else fails they can be counted on to deliver.


  6. Chris Johnson says:

    Nice photograph of Tony Hancock who made the half hour show called ‘The radio ham’. It is highly recommended. Local hams have  played a part in Cayman since at least the 60s. Earlier hams incuded Les Anstead of Cable and Wireless, Alan Kimble and Roger Corbin.

    • Anonymous says:

      You all seem to be forgetting the father of Ham Radio in the Cayman Islands.


      I am not sure but believe that even though he is now a very senior citizen he still is active in Ham Radio.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed about Frank Scotland, however Corbin is a relative newcomer.

        There are numerous others from the sixties and 70’s including Caymanian Bill Banks, Gordon Jacobus, Mike Trickett, and Dr. Jackman whose role in Hurricane Allen was acknowledged bythe Governor.


        • Chris Johnson says:

          Lets not argue as to who did what and when. What I can assure Mr. Anonymous [ and dont you just love these people ] is that Mr Corbin was on hurricane watch long before the late Gordon Jacobus and Mike Trickett. Go check your records. Roger was very much involved in hurricane watches at the time. I know: I was there !!

          • Anonymous says:

            No argument mate!  You seem to be a decade out, which is serious for accounting, much than the facts of the matter.

            There is a difference between "hurricane watching" as you say it which can be listening, and being properly licensed to transmit.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please don’t forget Jack Hollingworth and his efforts during Hurricane Gilbert!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Outstanding.  It has been a long time coming!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who needs more regulations?

    Why make trouble for the radio hams who have served us so well?

    Is it the need for more jobs for bureaucrats?

    Everyone should know by now that more money for bureaucrats means less for everyone else, and increased cost of living.

    However, they do not worry too much about that. They merely pass cost of living increases for themselves.

    It is everyone else who suffers.


  9. Certified says:

    The choice of picture brought back memories!

    It is of Tony Hancock in the classic episode from his BBC TV ‘Hancock’ show called “The Radio Ham” made in 1961. (Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mEiM0DyVBI ) He was a comic genius who suffered badly from depression and eventually took his own life.

    CNS – did you know what the picture was or was it just the first picture of a person that turned up on a Google image search for “radio ham”?

    CNS: We specifically searched for a picture of Tony Hancock.

  10. Anonymous says:

    One of our radio operators Mr Andrew Eden did an excellent job, and he also was so generous in the distribution of one of the best waters "THE SAVANNAH SPRING WATER" which he gave to so many people. Many thanks to one of our own Savannah Boys.

    • Anonymous says:

      That service of Mr Andrew was done during and after the Ivan Hurricane. Again many thanks Mr Eden.

    • Anonymous says:

      There were two other Radio Amateurs Caymanian  Kern Owens and Robert Shafer who maintained communications throughout the storm. It is understood the Ham Operators motto is "When all else fails you can rely on Ham Radio".

      see  http://www.caymannetnews.com/2004/09/740/radio.shtml

      http://www.caymannetnews.com/2004/11/756/online.shtml Two amateur radio enthusiasts kept the world in touch with the Cayman Islands
      I just wanted to thank these two gentlemen for their work the night of Ivan. I live in Canada and was listening to a livestream from Hurricane City in Florida which had been receiving information both from the hurricane hunter plane following Ivan and getting information from these two men.  I have family on Grand Cayman and felt so helpless that night. But these two gentlemen helped a lot of us through a difficult time and should really be commended for their ingenuity.  I will always remember that night and the two people who were the lifeline to my family – Mary Parker

      http://www.caymannetnews.com/2004/10/747/postings.shtmlTwo amateur radio enthusiasts kept the world in touch with the Cayman Islands
      Where there is a will (especially two) there is always a way. I have visited the Cayman Islands and this article proves what I felt the whole time I was there – that the Cayman Islanders are resourceful, community-based people. From taxi drivers, to hotel crew, to amateur radio enthusiasts. God bless you. God Bless the Cayman Islands – Carol Sheffield