Harborough radio enthusiasts urge their airwave comrades in Ukraine – please stay safe
The heartrending plea is being sent out to besieged radio hams fearing for their families and their lives in the devastated Eastern European country days after the Russian military invasion.
This afternoon Peter Rivers, 67, secretary of Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society, told the Harborough Mail: “It’s obviously a very worrying situation out there at the moment.
“Our hearts go out to our amateur radio colleagues in Ukraine.
“It must be terrible for them right now, I can’t imagine what they are going through now the Russians have invaded their homeland.
“Radio enthusiasts in Ukraine have been told not to transmit and to stay off the air by their own government and military,” said Peter, of Market Harborough.
“I guess that must be in case they unwittingly give away any of their own military movements or positions or what ever to those listening in.
“There is also talk that missiles can home in on radio signals.
“But I’m not sure if that’s true.
“My last contact was by email with a friend who lives near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv late last week.
“He said he and his family are safe but he could hear explosions in the background not far away as he wrote to me.
“So it’s very scary, terrifying for those poor people,” said the retired father-of-two.
“He’s aged under 60 so he’ll have to take up arms and fight for his country.
“Amateur radio is an incredibly popular pursuit and interest in Ukraine.
“I’ve got literally hundreds of Ukrainian users’ call cards,” said Peter.
“They are good people – just like you and me.
“And all of us in our group are just hoping against hope that they all stay safe and come through this devastating crisis unscathed.”
He said that there are also thousands of enthusiastic radio hams – who can all speak English - scattered right across Russia.
“They’ve gone very quiet over the last few days.
“They are getting the cold shoulder from radio enthusiasts spread across the world after what’s happened,” said Peter.
But as we spoke a Russian radio ham dramatically broke cover to put out a heartfelt anti-war declaration across the globe as the death toll and the scale of sheer destruction inside Ukraine grows minute by minute.
“He’s just transmitted ‘no war’ this second.
“It’s fascinating to pick that up and know that people are feeling that way in Russia itself too,” said Peter.
“Radio enthusiasts such as me and my colleagues in Harborough are part of a huge fraternal society of like-minded people around the world.
“The people that we’ve got to know over the airwaves in Ukraine are good decent people.
“And we are all looking forward to talking to them and engaging with them again as normal once this heartbreaking war is over.”
His Welland Valley colleague Andy Thomas told Mail readers: “As you all know, Ukraine is at war and all Ukrainian radio amateurs are off the air.
“In this pdf you can see how easy it is to contact Ukraine by amateur radio in normal times.
“Ukraine is now at war.
“But we remember our many good friends we have made in amateur radio contacts in that country over the years,” said Andy.
“Here are some memories of my contacts with Ukraine.
“And may you all be safe in this invasion of your country.”
If you would like to find out more about Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society, they meet up at 7pm on the third Monday of every month at Great Bowden Village Hall.