Amateur radio association raising fundsPublished 9:21am Tuesday, February 26, 2013
SOARA is a community service club that provides radio communications to support Lawrence County and surrounding areas.
While perhaps most recognizable as the ones walking around during the Memorial Day Parade with hand-held radios, they also play a role in disaster relief operations when more modern forms of communications fail, said Ken Massie, SOARA public information officer.
“When everything else fails, hams still can communicate,” Massie said. “We are like an insurance policy, you never hope things are bad enough to need us, but you are thankful we are there when you do — and would find yourself bad off if we weren’t.”
Club members take the hobby seriously and maintain their own personal equipment themselves, Massie said, but they are seeking donations to help pay operating bills and to maintain their repeaters. These large radio antennas are mounted in high locations near Wilgus and Chesapeake and are available to the public.
“Anyone can use these repeaters,” Massie said. “People should also know how important they are in getting messages across the hills and valleys should a storm knock out other forms of communication. A normal radio may give us a coverage range of 20 or so miles, these repeaters bump that up to 100 or more.”
Massie said amateur radio is also important to the community in non-emergency situations. Besides providing communications for parades, he said they also set up operators during 5K runs and other community projects.
SOARA maintains space in the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency office in Ironton. They hold open meetings the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m.
Those interested in making a donation or more information on SOARA can go to their website, www.orgsites.com/oh/soaraares/index.html.