Southland AREC

Tonight, we celebrate Southland AREC being recognized at the NZ Search and Rescue Awards. Brendon ZL4BDS was on hand to receive the certificate of achievement for the search for the missing tramper near Milford Sound 27 – 31 March 2022. – At New Zealand Parliament Buildings.

long standing AREC members being recognised

Years of radio communication have given one Balclutha man audio experiences for a lifetime. Balclutha local Cliff Gray recently received a life membership for his contribution to the South Otago’s branch of amateur radio. The South Otago branch of the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters celebrated its 90th birthday recently, and alongside was Mr Gray’s life membership. The celebration included a cake decorated almost exactly like his first ever radio system set-up. Mr Gray said his time as a ham radio operator has been ‘‘so much more’’ than turning a few knobs on a box.

‘‘I became very interested in amateur radio and decided I wanted to have a go myself at communicating around the world,’’ Mr Gray said. ‘‘I was originally interested in it because of a column in the British Practical Wireless magazine, so it inspired me to import the parts from Britain and do exactly what the man had published so I could have my own communication device. ‘‘After getting a circuit board and etching and attaching and doing everything exactly as was published, the device didn’t work. ‘‘I tried once more, and again, it didn’t work. So I sent a letter to the writer of the column in the newspaper who ended up telling me the technology he had published was outdated by the time I got around to attempting to create it, which was frustrating at the time but I find it humorous now.’’ Mr Gray said he had made many friends during his time as a ham radio operator and sought out formal qualifications over the years so he could receive certification. He learned morse code when VHF frequencies were not allowed internationally in order to communicate overseas, and has also held the secretary position of the South Otago branch since 1993. ‘‘I’ve got a pretty sophisticated set-up at my home,’’ Mr Gray said. ‘‘I have had assistance in building a tower to support an antenna which goes 17 metres high. ‘‘I have to shimmy up a ladder to get to the top, which I can still manage.’’ He said every operator has a call sign which others recognise and receive signal reports from. He has had experience calling people from all over the world who have made connections to or had their own experience in New Zealand. ‘‘There was one time I talked to a fellow from Bonaire in the West Indies, who had a friend from Ettrick, and had borrowed his friend’s caravan to travel around in.

That was a small-world type situation,’’ Mr Gray said. He is one of the only people in New Zealand to have worked most of the 340 recorded frequencies in the world — he has worked 336 — and has countless stories from many nooks and crannies of the world just by using radio. Mr Gray was thankful to receive his life membership and hopes to one day work every frequency in the world.

90 Years of Service

During 1931 Amateur Radio operators provided communications links for the authorities during the aftermath of the Napier Earthquake. Following this and the need for communications for a Search in the Arthur’s Pass area a pilot Section of Radio Emergency Corps (REC), as AREC was first known, was established in Christchurch by Norm Laugesen, ZL3AS.

In January of 1932 NZART approved the formation of REC and urged the formation of Sections across NZ as soon as possible.

By the end of February 1932 REC Sections were formed in nine districts around the country.

There will be various activities to celebrate our 90 Years of Service to the community from February. This presentation (PDF version) is available for meetings and events, to request a copy of the PowerPoint file click here.

AREC Rules and Code of Conduct

Like many organisations, AREC has rules and policies that talk about our vision and purpose – and provide the framework for how we need to operate. The Rules (a Regulation under the NZART Constitution section 9) were updated in 2021. We went through a process to update our rules to reflect the current organisation and to ensure that we capture what we need to do to meet the needs of our partners both now and into the future.  Please familiarise yourself with the Rules which came into effective from 1 October 2021.

The Rules also reference our Code of Conduct which sets out expectations for being a member of AREC and aligns with our values. All members should also be familiar with the Code.

AREC Awards

AREC has introduced a range of Awards to recognise the service of our members, and others that help AREC.

There are some awards that can be awarded at the local level, and some that will be awarded at the national level. These are independent of the NZART awards, some which may also be presented at NZART conference.

Download information about the Awards and Criteria here

Nomination Forms