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Treasure Valley Radio Association: Join a Friendly Club of Members Dedicated to Quality Communications and Disaster Support Services

The Treasure Valley Radio Association is a club of ham radio operators who use equipment at an amateur radio station to engage in two-way communications on radio frequencies locally, nationally, and worldwide.  Amateur radio operators, like Rick Frazier of Weiser, operate ham radio stations that are fixed as well as mobile communications that are designed to promote quality communications and be a vital part of disaster support as a free public service. 

American amateur radio operators must become licensed by the FCC by passing an examination on radio theory and operation.  As part of their licensing, operators are assigned a call sign (for example K7OJI) that are used to identify themselves in communications.  In today’s world, we take for granted the easy access of radio, television, cell phones, and other forms of digital communications that have been invented since the first ham radios.  But what if a disaster impacts our communications systems and they become overloaded or fail?  Many would be cut off from contact with response resources.  When communications systems fail, often the amateur radio service can help.

Local ham radio operator, Paul KJ7DT. ham radio station set up

Frazier and his fellow club members do this as a hobby because it is a lot of fun, but it is also a great way to give back to the surrounding communities.  “We are sort of like ambassadors of goodwill,” shared Frazier.  The TVRA club acts as a back-up support entity for the Sheriff’s Department in safety scenarios and disaster preparedness.  The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is a great example of the club providing extra eyes and ears in designated safety posts around the community.  During the eclipse, law enforcement was expecting to see a massive increase in traffic and population as people flooded in to view the solar event.  The radio club was there to provide an extra source of support if anything were to happen such as a fire, accident, etc.  They would be able to use their radio communications to assist with sending resources, coordinating services, sharing information, arranging evacuations, relaying damage information, advising first responders, and reporting welfare concerns to out-of-area people.

This antenna, called a Hex Beam, is mounted on a sophisticated rotator with a controller so that the operator can aim the antenna to a calling station for better reception.

The Treasure Valley Radio Association has close to 100 members with about 25 to 30 active members in the club right now.  Frazier shared that the club is a friendly group of people who all enjoy radio operations as a hobby.  They get together for coffee every Wednesday morning at 8am at the Metropole in downtown Weiser.  Anyone interested in learning more or joining the club is welcome to come down to the coffee shop and join in.  They also have a monthly breakfast and dinner in the Payette and Ontario area.  The club receives no funding and is strictly a free public service mixed with a fun hobby.  Frazier shared that in his years as an operator, he has made friends all over the world because of global ham radio communications. 

Not only is this a fun and rewarding hobby club, but it is inexpensive to get started.  Frazier commented that the test to become licensed is $14.95, with some clubs doing free testing.  Once you are licensed, you can buy an inexpensive handheld communication device for about $40.00.  The club highly encourages anyone interested to come to a meeting and learn more.  With a vast majority of club members being in the older generations and a decrease in the number of ham radio enthusiasts, they are excited to bring in some younger folks to learn how to communicate over long distances without the internet or cell towers.  Ham radio is so beneficial to our communities and with a shift of focus toward technical discussions, ham radio can thrive again through larger clubs.

Treasure Valley Radio Association:  Amateur Radio Group

Rick Frazier 208-230-3228

Website: www.k7oji.us

http://www.k7oji.org

Meetings every Wednesday morning at 8am at The Metropole in Weiser, Idaho

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