Located on the northwest corner of the nation’s longest east-west and north-south federal highways is Ohio’s oldest courthouse. According to the Ohio History Connection, Hillsboro’s 1835 Highland County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse still used for its intended county government purpose.
In recognition of the historic nature of the courthouse, the Highland Amateur Radio Association will operate a special ham radio demonstration from the south courthouse lawn during the statewide “Ohio Courthouses on the Air” amateur radio event on Saturday, Aug. 24. According to past HARA president and event chairman, Jeff Collins, the event starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m.
For the past few years, local hams have selected an interesting or historic Highland County location to operate a special event station from including the state parks at Rocky Fork and Paint Creek and the Lynchburg Covered Bridge. All events were well received within the amateur radio community with contacts made with amateurs in almost every state and many foreign countries. The club had anticipated a return to the Lynchburg bridge this year; however, a fire at the bridge earlier in the year made that impossible. Therefore, the idea of celebrating the history of the Highland County Courthouse through amateur radio was proposed to Highland County Commissioners GAry Abernathy, Terry Britton and Jeff Duncan, who warmly accepted the idea and granted permission to operate from the courthouse lawn.
The approval of the special event was announced in the club’s weekly Monday Morning Memo newsletter and picked up by Ironton’s Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association, which proposed taking the event statewide. Through the efforts of the Highland ARA, the Southern Ohio ARA and Richland County’s Scott Yonally, the proposed the event has been promoted statewide through newsletters and personal contacts; the result being many amateur radio clubs throughout Ohio will operate from their courthouses for the Aug. 24 event. The event has been noted with out-of-Ohio amateurs wishing to know if they could operate from their county courthouses. Organizers could see a future event develop with most of the nation’s 3,077 courthouses on the air for a one day, a weekend or even a longer term event.
Besides recognizing the county courthouse as the seat of justice and local government in each county, the event will provide another training opportunity enabling amateurs to learn how to establish reliable communications, when called upon, in the event of a local, regional or national emergency. It is also an opportunity for the public to learn more about amateur radio and how it can serve a community.
Highland ARA President Jim Haused said the courthouse event is timely since it is on the same day the Highland County Historical Society is holding a Pioneer Day at Hillsboro’s Scott House. He suggested a stop at the Scott House for the pancake breakfast, exploring the exhibits, and then visiting the ham radio demonstration at the courthouse.
The Highland Amateur Radio Association is an organization of more than 130 federally licensed amateur radio operators in the immediate Highland County area and has been recognized as one of the most active “ham” radio clubs in Ohio.
For information about the club and how to earn a “ham” license, contact John Levo, 937-393-4951 or email [email protected]
Submitted by John Levo, Highland Amateur Radio Association.