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Amateur ‘ham’ radio enthusiasts coming together March 3 at Spitzer Conference Center

February 25, 2019

Amateur ‘ham’ radio enthusiasts coming together March 3 at Spitzer Conference Center

AVON LAKE, Ohio -- The Northern Ohio Amateur Radio Society (NOARS), one of the oldest “ham” radio clubs in the Great Lakes area, will be holding its annual winter ham fest from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, March 3, at the Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) in Elyria.

Vendors will be selling ham radio, computer and other electronic equipment and parts, as well as keyboards and antenna parts.

“One vendor who builds antennas will demo his antennas,” said Tom Porter, the group’s treasurer. “They are unique because they are so small, like 20 inches high, as opposed to 5 to 10 feet high.”

Porter said a flea market section will also be featured, as well as raffle prizes.

“Prizes include three gift certificates to the American Radio Relay League for books, a $50 certificate for anything you want to buy at DXE Engineering in Tallmadge and cash prizes up to $75 each,” he said.

Porter also said they are planning an “on the air” ham radio station “in full operation, so visitors can witness firsthand ham radio operators in action. (This will be) one of the first times we have had a full station set up inside LCCC. We will run tests to show the purity of signal and we will broadcast to other ham operators in the United States.”

NOARS is one of the oldest radio clubs in the Great Lakes area. It was formed in the late 1950s and received official status in 1963.

The club activities, said Porter, include public service, contesting (HF SSB, CW, RTTY, VHF/UHF all modes), C4FM repeaters, packet radio, HF and VHF operating, DX’ing, satellite operating, technical programs at meetings and ham radio computing.

The group also conducts “Field Day,” as well as an annual meeting and picnic. Field Day is held all across the country.

“It is a teaching moment,” said Porter, “to help ham radio operators to go off the grid, set up their own generators, set up antennas, teaching safety, and gassing up generators, while camping overnight in the Lorain County Metroparks. It’s kind of like a contest to see how many places we can contact in the U.S. or Canada. We want it to be a fun and learning event.”

Porter said NOARS also volunteers to help the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Bike MS” fundraising ride each year. The ride, usually from Brecksville to Ashland College, is a two-day event, with more than 100 bike riders on the road, said Porter.

NOARS provides communications to a central station to help bikers with any needs they may have.

Other activities include setting up demonstrations for Scout troops and aiding the Ohio State Highway Patrol each year through a three-evening event to monitor suspicious activity on the freeways.

Admission to this year’s NOARS winter ham fest is $7. The money helps the club in maintaining repeater stations to bounce signal-to-rebroadcast-signal, Porter said.

“And you don’t have to be a licensed ham radio operator to attend. So, stop by and see what ham radio is all about. Everyone of all ages is welcome.”

For more information about NOARS, visit www.noars.net.