2018 Sutton Emergency Preparedness Fair

Saturday, June 16 will be the Sutton Emergency Preparedness Fair.  We will be setting up both trailers.  This will be a dress rehearsal for the MARA Field Day.  We need folks to show up at the Sutton Library about 0900, tear down will be around 1600.  We will be training folks on tower installation, generator ops, beam and wire antennas, and equipment operations. This training will be critical for a good field day operation.  Please contact Don/KL7JFT if you can attend.



2018 VHF Contest

There will be a VHF Contest being held on Saturday June 9th 2018. There will be folks up on various VHF frequencies. Home stations and rovers will be around the state trying to make contacts. The rover route for the Hune VHF Contest is still on.

From Brandon KL7SBC

For my first time roving here I’m planning to go from
just outside of Soldotna, up through Anchorage, and then to the Talkeetna area on the first day.
One of my stops on day one will be at the Mount Baldy trailhead, from which I have reached Ed with 5 watts and a whip antenna on two meters. I should be able to hear all the way down into the peninsula, and all the way up past the valley, so keep an ear on the FM and sideband calling frequencies if you’re around on that day. I decided to also go ahead and push up to Fairbanks on Sunday of the contest. If you know of any operators up in that area please pass the word along that I will be coming in to radio range sometime in the morning and early afternoon. I still have to wrap up building my gain antennas and then get them mounted
on the truck, but everything should be ready before the contest. I’m planning to operate on 2M, 6M, and 70 cm for this run. I had hoped to also run gear on 220, but wasn’t able to pull everything together in time.
If you’re interested in making a few contacts don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail. Also, don’t forget that as a Rover you can reach me from more than one place for credit. If I contacted you and one grid square you can
contact me again in a different grid square and it is good to go for the rules.

ARRL VHF Contest Page

Click Here for the 2018 June VHF Travel Plan

Sunshine Committee

MARA members, if you know of a member who needs cheering up because they have lost a loved one, or are laid up with illness or injury, or if someone is in the hospital, please let one of us know. We would love to send a ray of sunshine in their direction.


Help us spread the cheer. Donations are always appreciated and can be made at the general meeting or directly to Tabitha or Pam.


Contact Tabitha at tabithainak@gmail.com (best way), or text or phone 907-414-2281.

Pam at pam.whitehead@gmail.com, or 907-376-9281.

Mars Comex

The next MARS/Amateur Comex will be 20-23 Feb. As we have in the past we will be looking to contact Hams for information about the status of critical resources in their areas. This is a short series of questions to determine the operational status of things like Water, Transportation, Communications, Power, Sanitation and Medical. The responses are for real world actual status. Basically if the MARS Member asks the status of Water in your area the normal day to day response is Operational. Of course if an item is damaged for any reason and it actually failed, then report that.

The MARS Stations will come up on area repeaters for example, using their Ham Calls they will make a statement like this “This is KL7YK, I am a MARS Station looking for input for the DOD Drill”.

We will also be looking for Hams outside of the population centers on HF, using 3.920 LSB. Same idea as above, you should hear a like statement on air from a MARS Member.

Also you can send Winlink msgs to kl7jft@winlink.org. Use the ISNAP form found in the Global directory of Templets or send a WinLink msg to kl7jft for the Alaska Form.

Our operational window starts on 20 Feb and runs until 23 Feb. So we will be active during the week. Perhaps take a few minutes out of your week to monitor some of the area repeaters. In Anchorage the wide area Repeaters are at Grubstake 147.33, Site Summit 147.30 and of course the Military Club Repeater on 146.67. Someone locally will be monitoring as well for Hams so if you like you can come up on air and ask for a MARS Station. The exchange takes less then 2 minutes to complete. MARS Stations will be consolidating the Ham contacts into a formal message through DOD Channels. HQ Army MARS is generating QSL Cards for those Hams who participate as well to be mailed out after the drill ends. Hopefully those will be in your hands by the end of Mar, but being this is the government it may be months.

This is nationwide and statewide, we have members in Bethel, Kodiak, Fairbanks, MatSu, Anchorage and elsewhere. So this is the invite to our Amateur Partners to join us in exercising communications paths not only in Alaska but worldwide.

Why involved Hams? You live in the areas that could be effected by a disaster thus would have firsthand knowledge of what not working and needs attention sooner than later. Amateur Radio Operators are considered a trusted source for this information. The info itself is going to FEMA planners so they will know where the biggest problems are and where they should be sending support first. Due to the delays that come up on Amateur long haul bands from poor propagation to just too many operators using the spectrum, this information gets stalled getting to those who actually need it.

Using federal HF Channels we avoid that congestion anyway. These DOD drills involve both MARS Members and Military Comm Units. Nationwide there are quite a few Guard and Reserve units operating in these drills. We ask that you only provide input to Alaskan MARS Stations even if you do copy say an Idaho Mars/Ham station calling. Sending Alaska info to outside of Alaska will just confuse things.

MARS Operators are Hams first, we are all licensed operators just like you. Every contact with a Ham will be on Amateur spectrum using Amateur Call Signs. So no one need worry about the FCC getting excited. Its all above board.

If you’re interested in more information about the MARS Program please contact Don Bush KL7JFT or myself as well as the online resource like:



About US Air Force MARS


There are still two programs but we are effectively interchangeable as far as our mission. We operate joint AF-Army MARS all the time.

I can be reached at ron.keech@armymarsregiontenorg, Don Bush can be reached at don.bush@armymarsregionten..org for any Army MARS related questions.

AF MARS contact in Alaska is Pat Patterson at AFMARS0pp@gci.net


I spoke of the basics at our January meeting and need to clarify and provide links to each one.

It was brought to my attention that it makes sense to complete them in the following order, not numerical order…..

“The recommendation is that folks begin with ISC 700 then 800 then 100 and then 200.”

700 https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-700.a

800 https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-800.b

100 https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-100.b

200 https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-200.b

Please let me know if any of you want a classroom setting so I can schedule that with our trainer


Shelia Olson, KL3TP, MARA President

Hams Connecting Across the Air and Sea

During Field Day 2017, I learned a little bit of Palmer and ham radio history from Mayor Edna Devries. Then a few days later there was a post on Facebook by the granddaughter of of the ham.

In August of 1977, Edward Holmes, KL7HFX, who lived in Palmer, had contact with Mutsuhiro Ishiguro in Saroma, Japan and this led to the two cities becoming sister cities.


Additional information can be found at www.cityofpalmer.org/sistercityprogram


Field Day 2017

We had a great time!! We learned where our strengths are and what to work on this coming year!! Thank you to all those who attended!!! Thank you to those who helped set up and take down, stayed the whole time, presented wonderful classes, provided bbq items, mingled with the public and fellow hams, and made the day great!!!!


THANKS for great hamfest

Thanks to so many for a great hamfest!! We had around 100 people throughout the day!! There was a BBQ from meat donated by Mr. Prime Beef, arranged and transported by TJ Morgan, KL3IT, and cooked by Dick Eastman, KL3TNT and his friend Jim Ruby, who brought his own grill. He is studying to be a ham. Plus lots of variety in the side dishes provided by attendees!!

Conditions were right for three satellite transmissions by Craig Bledsoe, KL4E!! There were also presentations and information provided by Craig, Dan O’Barr, KL7DR, Dale Hershberger, KL7XJ, John Lynn, KL7CY, and Mike O’Keefe, KL7MD. Dan would have had drone demonstrations but it was too windy.

It was great seeing everyone who made it!! We were able to surprise Richard Plack, KL7DY, with a token of our appreciation for his decades of service!! Thank you, Trish for helping get him to show up!!! He cut the gorgeous cake provided by Verda’s that showed the original MARA logo and the current one, along with MARA spelled in CW.

George Strother, KL7GS, was the lead VE for the license exam provided. His team of VEs consisted of Kathleen O’Keefe, KL7KO, Jim Wardman, AL4W, and Ken Hudson, KL2HF. Two people passed the technician exam and now have a couple new hams.

There were more than 30 door prizes worth varying amounts that were donated by several MARA club members and numerous businesses in the Valley, Eagle River, and Anchorage and these were gathered mostly by Betty Carrington, KL1XL and Don Bush, KL7JFT, with Mark Allen, KL4EC, and Tabitha Sherman, KL4FZ, Carol Bush, KL2FA, among many others. We gave multiple prizes out three times during the day. We also had a split the pot drawing and Wayne Groomer, KL7HHO won.

In our Country Store, there items for sale to include t-shirts and patches provided by Silvertip Design and decals supplied by Silvertip Signs!

I truly appreciate the willing teamwork I saw by several who showed up starting at 7:30am to help with getting everything set up, also helping others with carrying in their wares from their vehicles, the happy camaraderie throughout the day, the great deals, the wealth of information being shared, even fun times at the kids’ activity table with John Mears, AL7LA, and at the end of the day, the magnificent cleanup effort!!! We have a great ham radio family indeed!!

MARA, along with ARES, was paid great compliments by Jim Pace, K7CEX, the ARRL regional manager from Washington State, that attended and collaborated with Ray Hollenbeck, KL1IL, Alaska ARRL representative, on a presentation, and we were also complimented by the previous manager, Jim Larson, AL7FS, and he joined MARA while at the hamfest!!!

Pat yourselves on the backs!!! You all did a great job!!!

Pictures of the hamfest can be found on our Facebook page, MARA CLUB (KL7JFU).


Shelia Olson, KL3TP, MARA President