In January of 2008 I was approached by then President of Radio Amateurs of Canada Earle Smith VE6NM (SK) who was in Amherst at the WestCumb ARC club brunch and asked if I would consider becoming RAC Section Manager for the Maritimes. Not knowing very much about this position I downloaded the RAC SM guide from the website and read it from cover to cover.
I called the RAC Section Manager for the Maritimes at that time Hugh Clark VE9HC (SK) and asked him his thoughts. I met with Hugh at his home in Hartland NB and after careful consideration and being a RAC member since getting my ham licence back in January 1995 decided to take on this volunteer position.
After talking with many amateurs around the Maritimes the biggest question I had was how am I going to get information and news out to all the hams in three provinces. I decided on a website but not knowing anything about websites I Googled “free websites” and found freewebs.com
In three days I had a website up and running with five pages but found adding more pages and
(ad removel) there was a fee. I bought my first website and continued to build.
After seeing many websites and finding them to be very complicated to get around and very little new information added, my mission was to make a website that would be easy as possible to navigate, have only one or two clicks to find what you are looking for and keep the site fresh with new information for all to read.
On March 1st, 2008 I officially became RAC Section Manager for the Maritimes and launched the Maritime Amateur website. I contacted every club in the Maritimes who I could email and sent them a letter explaining who I was and the position I was taking on. I asked them to spread the word of the new website. I explained to them this would be a one stop place to share information with amateurs around the Maritimes. A phrase was soon added to the website “Ham Radio for Maritimers by Maritimers”.
I continued as Section Manager for two terms retiring in March 2012 but continued with the website which was becoming more and more popular with hams and I personally enjoyed looking after the site, talking to hams, getting information from them and getting it on the website for all to see.
Over the years with the help of amateurs, there have been pages added, pages deleted and as of April 2015 there are 21 active pages. The latest addition has been the Newfoundland and Labrador page which was added on the 7th anniversary date of March 1st, 2015. The site now is truly an Atlantic Regional website for amateur radio.
On June 27th, 2016 the Maritime Amateur website reached 100 thousand visits to the site. There were a total of 250 members at that time.
UPDATE: March 1st, 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the Maritime Amateur website. The site had recorded over 113 thousand visitors by that date.
In September 2018 I started a Facebook page for the website and was very surprised to have 166 members in the first month.
I also put out a question to all members in October asking them now that Newfoundland & Labrador had been added to the site if there should be a name change from the Maritime Amateur to The Atlantic Amateur. It was overwhelming to change the name. I was very happy with this as now we can truly say this is a regional website for amateur radio.
On November 2nd, 2018 the change was official with the new domain active and also changes made to the social media pages Twitter and Facebook.
There is also a new Tagline for the website “Ham radio digest for Atlantic Canadians”
On November 17th, 2018 I decided it was time to retire from hosting this website after 10 years and eight months as webmaster. Final totals over this time has been over one hundred sixteen thousand visits to the site and three hundred and twenty three members. After several hams came forward asking to take over the site I went with Cory Nickerson VE1DFZ to take the website into the future. Good luck Cory.
I want to thank all the members of this site and all amateurs who have visited the site. Also thanks to all who have sent me news and information to keep the site fresh and updated. A special thanks to other websites here in the Maritimes for their help with promoting the site and sharing of news.
For amateurs outside of the area if you plan on coming down to Atlantic Canada for business or vacation, this is a great site to find all you need to know about amateur radio from club locations, repeaters listings, radio nets etc.
Any questions, please to not hesitate to contact me.
Jim Langille VE1JBL firstname.lastname@example.org