Radio club to promote Highland County state parks


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On Saturday, Sept. 8, members of the Highland Amateur Radio Association (HARA) will participate in the 11th annual Ohio State Parks On The Air amateur radio operating event.

Club president Jeff Collins said the event was originally conceived by a northern Ohio amateur radio club and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It has grown into one of the most popular amateur on-the-air events in the United States and is copied by some other states.

Event officials say there are three goals behind it: 1 — To promote public awareness of amateur radio and Ohio’s state park system; 2 — To contribute to the recognition that Ohio has a very diverse and wonderful ecology; and 3 — To promote camaraderie within the ranks of Ohio’s amateur radio operators.

According to Collins, the local club has welcomed more than 30 newly licensed “hams” to the service since Jan. 1. Participation in the event serves as a training exercise for amateurs to practice their emergency communication skills as well as providing new hams an opportunity to experience firsthand the thrill of long-distance, over-the-air communications.

Sept. 8 also marks the monthly 10 a.m. club breakfast get together at the Hillsboro McDonald’s. Following it, members will journey to Rocky Fork State Park where arrangements have been made to spend the afternoon and early evening operating their radio equipment from the old concession stand at Fisherman’s Wharf. They will operate two completely separate stations during the event with a variety of equipment and antennas – some of their own design. Later in the day, a group will journey to the archery range at Paint Creek State Park and use emergency power to establish a station there for the remainder of the event. A team from the HARA will also operate that day from Pike Lake.

Former club president Dave Tourtelot said that once on-site, they will connect simple wire antennas to their amateur radio equipment and start making contact with other amateur radio operators throughout Ohio, North America and the world. Additionally, both groups will attempt to contact similar operations from all of Ohio’s 83 state parks. The new Jesse Owens State Park in eastern Ohio will not participate this year, according to the sponsoring organization.

Anyone interested in learning about amateur radio is invited and urged to visit either site during the day. The Rocky Fork station will operate from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and the Paint Creek station is expected to air sometime after 2 p.m. and operate until 6 p.m.

The Highland Amateur Radio Association is a club with a membership of 125 individuals with an interest in radio communications and technology, electronic and propagation experimentation and emergency communications support to local and state government and civic organizations. The club was recently recognized by the Ohio State Senate as a leading amateur radio club in Ohio. It also publishes an award-winning weekly amateur radio newsletter (the Monday Morning Memo) devoted to amateur news and events happening in the South Central Ohio region. Club officer John Levo said anyone wishing additional information about the event or to learn about amateur radio is urged to contact him at 937- 393-4951. Information is also available at www.ospota.org.

Submitted by the Highland Amateur Radio Association.

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