President's Slate

November 2021

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, most of which I am extremely proud. AAUS President, Diving Safety Officer, Dr. Smith, and most recently Dad to name just a few. But this past weekend I added another reason to call me Papa. Don’t worry, this message isn’t taking a turn for the explicit…. If you’re listening in on the right airwaves, you might hear a distant radio call out of Friday Harbor from Kilo Kilo Seven Bravo Papa Juliet (KK7BPJ). You guessed it, I passed my amateur radio license test and now can broadcast over several FCC-designated radio bands. When I told the examiner that I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time, he replied ‘well at least now you’re sure!’.

Radio communications have been a part of my professional and personal life for as long as I can remember. Whether coordinating emergency waterfront operations with multiple agencies, keeping animal care and life support running smoothly at the Aquarium of the Pacific, or diving in remote locations, radios are a critical piece of equipment across much of our community. When I lived in the greater Los Angeles area years ago, the airwaves were packed from one end of the spectrum to the other. Your average marine VHF and two-way (FM handhelds) radios don’t require testing or licenses to operate, although there are several areas of proper radio operation and etiquette that benefit greatly from additional individual training and certification. I’ve always included these topics in scientific diving and boating courses and recommend divers of all levels of experience and oversight expand their proficiency in these areas. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is a great place to start!

With our draft strategic plan coming out soon, new initiatives and updates to existing programs, and the Annual Symposium in March, there is bound to be a lot of communication with our members in the coming months. I promise I won’t make people listen in on the 2-meter band to find out the latest!
Stay safe out there!
Derek Smith
AAUS President



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