The Matanuska Amateur Radio Association (MARA) is a general interest amateur radio club, with approximately 100 members. Our members are involved in every aspect of amateur radio. We make a special effort to participate in providing communications support for public service events, field days, marathons, sled dog and snow machine races, avalanche rescues, and wild land fires.
MARA hosts an annual ham fest in the spring. Several club members volunteer their time to teach classes for those who wish to obtain an amateur (ham) radio license or upgrade their license privileges, with FCC Volunteer Examiners scheduling exams regularly.
The club owns and operates a repeater under its call sign KL7JFU, 146.850, 103.5 Tone, with a minus shift, and is located at Wasilla High School, KL7WHS. We also own and operate a Packet Node above Sears, with the call sign KL7JFU-2, (alias Valley), 147.960 MHz simplex and is located at KL7ILA & KL7IRE’s QTH. The Valley Winlink Node, KL7JFT-10 and APRS Igate, KL7JFT-5 are located near Colony High School, at Bushmaster Operations, KL7JFT’s QTH. There are a few APRS digis located around the valley to support APRS. The repeater and nodes are open for all licensed amateurs and are home to many nets in the area. The club has a long history of community service and promotion of ham radio in the community and the State of Alaska.
We hold monthly general membership meetings on the last Friday of every month at the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Wasilla, except for the month of June and July due to summer activities. Check the clubs calendar for activities during that period and the July Picnic. If for some reason the location changes we will update you on this site. There is a map to the church below.
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. In during our present situation it may become more important than folks realize. Across the nation, lines of communications are becoming stretched. Hams around the the world are training, testing, practicing various types and modes of ham radio, to be ready.
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.