Amateur Radio has made its way to Pinal County.
Bob Howard and several other amateur radio enthusiasts, or hams, formed the Maricopa Amateur Radio Association in 2013. The club went through all the necessary regulations by adopting their charter, electing board officers, acquiring a club call sign and achieving affiliation through the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
The club typically meets on the last Saturday of the month with January’s meeting keeping to that schedule and meeting at the Maricopa Public Library at 9 a.m.
The origins of Amateur radio can be traced back to the early 20th century when “The First Annual Official Wireless Blue Book of the Wireless Association of America” was published in 1909 listing wireless telegraph stations in the U.S. and Canada along with 89 amateur radio stations. Throughout the history of amateur radio, enthusiasts have had significant impact on science, engineering, industry building, saving lives in emergency situations and aiding the military.
“The mission of the Maricopa Amateur Radio Association is provide an organization for hams in the Maricopa area to come together and advocate for their interests,” Club President Bob Howard, W8RH said on Thursday. “The club also provides local services, such as repeaters and group activities related to amateur radio.”
Some events upcoming this year for the club are the ARRL Field Day, Kids Day and JOTA. Other events will be discussed at the January meeting.
The “Copa Hams” club services Pinal County with members in Maricopa, Casa Grande, Eloy and Arizona City. They have a revamped website by the same name at www.copahams.org as well as Twitter and RSS feeds.
According to the MARA website: “Amateur Radio is governed by the Federal Communications Commission and by Part 97 of the Title 47 Telecommunications regulations. Getting an Amateur Radio license in the US is as easy as getting a driver’s license; Morse Code is no longer required.”
“Our meetings are open forum where you can learn the various aspects of amateur radio from those who are experts in those areas,” said Howard in the January newsletter. “We have members who are accomplished in DXing, contesting, APRS, Emergency Communications, CW, Digital Modes, and other areas of the hobby.”
Howard also emphasized that FCC licensure is not required to attend the meetings or to join the club and stated that “most hams get started is by finding someone who’s been around for a while.”