Why is Ham Radio Still Important?

In an age where communication is often taken for granted, it’s easy to overlook the importance of Ham Radio.

I often receive questions like: “Why do I need Ham Radio when I have a cell phone?” or “Didn’t the internet kill Ham Radio?” While these modern forms of communication may have shifted the attention away from Ham Radio, by no means did it make it unnecessary. In fact, during a disaster, it’s very likely that these modern forms of communication will be the first ones to fail.

The number one reason for preparedness minded people to consider Ham Radio is its reliability during times of crisis. Since the early 1900s, this form of communication has reliably made it through every major crisis, disaster, and emergency situation with flying colors. When all other forms of communication fail, Hams are often the ones who are called upon to help communicate in and out of the disaster zone.

When the grid goes down, the Ham Bands will still be alive and very active.

Latest News

The AARL Presentation from MARA's 2017 Ham Fest is now up and available for donwload. Click the Downloads link to the left to go to the downloads sections and then click on the presentation to download it to your computer.




Summer is struggling to sneak into our life.   This last snow storm and hail was interesting.  Snow in the upper elevations and rain down lower.  Keep an eye on the rivers near you and let me know if there is anything out of the ordinary.  OK please note that the month luncheons and general meetings will be suspended for June and July due to so many summer activities.  We have a picnic scheduled for July and will be participating in the Wasilla 4th of July parade, more info on that to come.


Still no word on the 147.33 or 147.30 repeaters.  The ARES net has been continuing and doing well.  We are using the 147.180 repeater for the our main net and 146.67 for the backup repeater.  We also monitor 147.33 simplex and 146.85 repeater for folks that maybe can’t hit the others.  These lower elevation repeaters are doing well to support the mission.  Try these repeaters when you are out and about to see if you can see if you can hit them near your home QTHs from a mobile location.


The next activity is going to be our general meeting at Fire Station 61 at 1900.  The program will be Field Day 2017.  We will be explaining what field day is and how MARA will be operating.


Next up on 2 & 3 June will be the Girl Scout Encampment.  This will be held at the State Fair Grounds.  Girls Scouts from all over the state descend on the fair grounds and learn and demonstrate their skills.  MARA sets up the Comm Center and demonstrate ham radio.  Please contact Ray/KL1IL at fuzz@mtaonline.net to volunteer.  It is very important to get on the list so they will provide access thru the gate.  Setup will start at 0900 Friday morning and teardown Saturday afternoon around 1600.  We will shut down at 1500-1600 Friday afternoon.  This will be a dry run for field day which will be held at the end of the month.  You will learn the necessary skills required to setup and operate the equipment.  Ray is setting up a schedule or you can spend the entire time with us.  The girls really enjoy the packet operation and talking to folks without using their cell phones.  We also demonstrate our radio email systems and how they can get their ham license.  It’s a lot of fun and a great opportunity for MARA & ARES to show the community what we can provide.


2017 Field Day is the next major activity. This is a great opportunity for new hams to get involved in the hobby.  The dates are 24 & 25 June.  It is a 24 hour exercise to train and demonstrate various aspects of ham radio and how we would operate during an emergency.  We will setup next to Fire Station 61.  Please contact Sheila/KL3TP at sheliaolson04@gmail.com to get on the list.  We will be demonstrating and operating just about every aspect of ham radio during this period.  We’ll have the opportunity to show this to our local politicians and public officials.  We hope to have news releases to the local media.  Setup would start at 0900 and the exercise will go thru 1500 Sunday.  We will also have ham testing, technical classes and plenty of time for operating both phone and digital.  We will be have some addition training prior to the exercise for folks to get up to speed on the equipment and setup procedures.  There several YouTube videos on field day operations around the US on the web.  This is a great time to try new things and experiment on the radio.  We will also be setting up a GOTA station.


Also that last weekend is the Motely Picnic. This is held at Byers Lake Camp Ground hams from all over the state and lower 48 attend. We normally take the last 2 complete rows of camp spots.  We have seminars, demonstrations, some great pot lucks and a Chinese auction.   There is good fishing in the lake if you are so inclined.  Folks start showing up around Tuesday or Wed 20th & 21st of June and stay thru the weekend or just come up on Saturday for the big potluck and Chinese auction.   Be prepared for the Alaska State Bird, they are everywhere.


For those folks that ordered coffee cups I have them.  Will have them at the meeting for pickup.


See you all soon