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Staying connected with ham radio

Chamber Chat

A few months ago, a gentleman from the Tehachapi Amatuer Radio Club stopped into the Chamber and asked for information about joining. I was intrigued by ham radio and in no time, I was signing myself up to learn all about it, scheduling the test to talk on the radio and have a chance to hear from an astronaut. In this edition of Chamber Chat, I have the privilege to share a few words from this local non-profit about ham radio and why it's so important.

The following was submitted by Micah Martin:

We are the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association (TARA), a local non-profit ham radio club organized by licensed amateur radio operators, often referred to as "hams." We have members throughout Kern County, including greater Tehachapi areas, Bakersfield, Edwards, Arvin and Rosamond. Members are volunteers who donate their time, equipment, expertise and experience to different projects that benefit the club and the community.

Amateur radio is a federally-licensed radio service recognized world-wide and a community of nearly 3 million licensed hobbyists that enjoy developing new methods of radio frequency communications, designing and constructing personal radio sets, and communicating with like-minded individuals around the world. We are the original electronic social media. U.S. amateur radio operators and stations have been licensed since December 1912, and hams still serve their communities today through education, community service, offering communication for planned events, and supporting federal, state and local disaster relief organizations in emergency situations.

Ham radio encompasses many different activities. Our club members pursue different facets of the hobby, including emergency communications and preparedness, community service, and learning and perfecting different "modes" of communication like traditional Morse code, digital computer-to-computer modes using amateur radio as the connection, sending images and text over the radio, or just chatting with fellow hams just for fun. Our members also design and build antennas, assemble radios from kits, compete in Radiosport contests to make contacts around the world via ham radio, communicate with astronauts at the International Space Station, and even launch and track high altitude balloons that observe weather patterns and radio propagation around the globe. And that's really just the beginning.

So, if this has piqued your interest in ham radio, let us know. Over and out!

Clare Scotti is the Executive Director of Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.