Category Archives: Travel

GAREC 2007

I’m just back from the 2007 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC 2007). Where I presented some initial results from the GAISS project (previous entry here). I was also attending on behalf of AREN and the IRTS (who also partially paid for my attendance the conference).

Listening to the presentations from the Amateur Radio operators that worked (some for months) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Rita to provide communications in and out of the disaster area was most humbling.

The presentations were excellent overall, I learned quite a lot from other participants, and had a great reaction to my own presentation. Which surprised me a bit. I met a fantastic bunch of people, that I will hopefully be able to keep in contact with as time goes on.

What was most interesting to me is the holistic approach taken to Amateur Radio in countries that have experienced disaster, everyone is competent in all areas whether it be Contesting, VHF, Digital modes, whereas in Europe, people tend to have a more polarised view (i.e. some folk specialise in VHF, some in Digital etc). I have much to learn.

Here are some pictures taken before, during and after, GAREC.

All in all it was a fantastic experience (and I got a mention in the ARRL blog, thanks to Khrystyne, K1SFA).


Dee and I made a last minute decision to head for Killarney for the weekend. What a fantastic weekend it was. After we arrived on Saturday afternoon we wandered up Torc Mountain. After dinner I suggest that we attempt Mangerton on Sunday morning.
Maybe it was the wine or the weather, but Dee agreed, and we had a fantastic day in the hills.

Shanghai Maglev

It looks just like any other Train initially.
Maglev Train Shanghai

The Track is different:
Maglev Train Shanghai

Holy smokes this IS quick:
Maglev Train Shanghai

I think it took about 5 minutes and 20 seconds to cover the 30 Kilometers to the Airport. Pity we couldn’t have one running from Waterford to Dublin Airport!.


On entering a Taxi, we were normally greeted by a recorded English announcement helpfully telling us to put on our seatbelts. But its impossible, the belt is trapped behind the seat, and the buckle is somewhere under the seat. Once you start moving you realise there is something different. Driving in Shanghai is a ‘might is right’ type of experience, or maybe ‘who dares wins’. A Horn is not optional. Its used to warn others that you are coming through without stopping (those pesky pedestrians that cross when the green man is on), and that they had better get out of your way. Or it is used to tell the bicycle/moped/car to get out of the way. Headlights seem to be used for the same function as well.

Indicators are optional, though they do get used now and again. Lane markings are just a general guideline, red lights are a mystery. I can’t figure out why they stop and some red lights and not at others. However, with all the hornblowing and flashing of lights and general chaos there doesn’t seem to be any road-rage, (its not personal), and they seem not to tail-gate.

Anyways, Saturday night in shanghai, we were trying to re-adjust to Irish Time, so we decided that there was no better way than to stay up late, we headed for the Jin Mao Tower for a drink, and a view. The bar, Cloud 99, is the highest bar in the world apparently.

Shanghai at Night

We were able to see Clouds passing outside while sitting there drinking our chosen poison. As well look out over Shanghai at the Oriental Pearl Tower. Great view!

Shanghai at Night


The markets here are really interesting, lots of stuff on offer. The three most common items seem to be watches, bags or dvds. The buying process is interesting as well. It is expected that you will haggle, for example, we went to purchase one item, the initial price was 850 Yuan, we left the shop with it for 150 Yuan.

What really surprised us was that it is possible to haggle in the Department Stores, now whether the money is actually going into the till or not is a completely different matter.