Lenexa Resident Alex Tkatch to Compete in International Radiosport Competition

Lenexa resident and top amateur radio operator Alex Tkatch (amateur radio callsign KU1CW) has been selected to compete in the World Radiosport Team Championship 2014 (WRTC2014). This quadrennial radiosport competition, the first held in the United States since 1996, will be held across 16 New England communities from July 9 through 14. Known as the “Olympiad of amateur radio,” previous WRTC2014 competitions have been held in Seattle (1990), San Francisco (1996), Slovenia (2000), Finland (2002), Brazil (2006), and Russia (2010).

Tkatch was born and grew up in Minsk, Belarus. He earned his training at Minsk Polytechnic Academy, traveling to the amateur radio club station on weekends, and received his first call sign at the age of 16. He became interested in radio competitions and has earned numerous regional victories from the US and abroad.

Tkatch credits amateur radio with having an impact on selecting his career. In 1982, he attended Belarussian State University and graduated with degree in Physics of Semiconductors. In 1992, Tkatch moved to the US, initially in New York, but later settling down in Kansas City, MO. His career has included RF design Engineer, Telecom Design Engineer and now Technology Manager with Rohde & Schwarz USA, specializing in Telecom and Satellite Navigation. Tkatch lives in Lenexa with his wife Natasha, also an amateur radio operator. They have one daughter.

WRTC2014 pits 59 two-operator all-star amateur radio teams, representing 38 countries, in a battle of operating skill and strategy under emergency field conditions, for personal and national pride on a world stage. Similar to Olympic athletes, competitors hone their skills for superior performance through mental and physical conditioning, talent, skill and strategy. This form of competition evolved as a method of practicing emergency communication, but also serves as a laboratory for technology innovation and experimentation, much like other technical sports, such as motor sports or sailing.

Competing teams were selected from around the world in a series of 55 qualifying events over a 3-year period. Just earning a spot in the competition is a prestigious accomplishment for every competitor, allowing them to represent their country and have the opportunity to win a coveted place on the podium.

Returning to the United States after 18 years, WRTC2014 gathers competitors, referees, and visitors from around the world to connect and celebrate amateur radio. Hundreds of spectating visitors are also expected to attend, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to network with amateur radio luminaries worldwide, while enjoying the surrounding area’s rich history and regional charm. On the global scale, thousands more will “tune in” and participate over the airwaves, and follow the event’s real-time Internet scoreboard to stay abreast of competition results. The largest “radiosport” competitions draw activity from over 20,000 participants and can collectively include more than two million two-way contacts – all in one weekend.

Amateur Radio, or “ham radio” as it is often called, enables licensed participants to use short wave frequencies to communicate with peers from around the world. Licensed “hams” in the United States are authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use their radio equipment to talk anywhere on earth, using different “modes of operation” such as voice, Morse code, or any of several digital modes, also pioneered within the ham radio community. Today, there are more licensed amateur radio operators than ever before - over 700,000 in the U.S. alone, in addition to more than a million operators around the world.

Amateur radio plays a key role as a critical emergency service in times of disaster when other forms of communication fail. Locally, this was demonstrated after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, when cellular networks were overloaded and failed. Amateur radio operators have assisted in providing communication services to the Marathon for many years, and were on hand to provide vital communications for Marathon volunteers following the bombing. Critical communication services were also provided by hams during the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Radio amateurs have been involved in the front lines of developing modern communications systems, including the fundamental technology used in all cell phones.

For more information, visit www.wrtc2014.org.

About WRTC2014

The World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) is an international competition held every four years, consisting of 50+ two-person teams of amateur radio operators from around the world competing in a test of operating skill. Unlike most on-the-air competitions, all stations are required to use identical antennas from the same geographic region, eliminating all variables except operating ability. The WRTC 2014 committee is an independent organization created specifically to organize the event. For more information, visit www.wrtc2014.org or contact WRTC Chairman Doug Grant via e-mail at k1dg@wrtc2014.org. Information about the history and results of previous WRTC events is available at www.wrtc.info.

About ARRL and the Amateur Radio Service

Amateur Radio (often called “ham radio”) provides the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world. The principles of this federally licensed radio service include public service, radio experimentation, and international goodwill.

ARRL is the national membership association for amateur radio operators in the US. Its mission is “to promote and advance the art, science and enjoyment of amateur radio.” ARRL members span the globe, supported by the organization’s programs, activities, publications and experts. ARRL publishes books, software, online courses and resources for amateur radio licensing, operating, and education. ARRL and its members also provide outreach to schools and teachers, inspiring students to pursue education and careers in the fields of wireless technology (radio, electronics, and computers). Information about ARRL is available at www.arrl.org.

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