“CQ—CQ—CQ from LDS Radio Group,” Ensign, Feb. 1985, 78–79
The Mercury Amateur Radio Association (MARA) is looking for LDS amateur radio operators to prepare for emergency service to fellow Saints and neighbors.
MARA President Allan Packer of Salt Lake City (call letters WA7BKD) said that during natural disasters or other emergencies in their areas, MARA ham radio operators make themselves available to help local priesthood leaders keep contact with other Saints and with Church leaders in Salt Lake City or in other regions of the Church. They may also help meet communication needs of state and local governments or private individuals.
During a hurricane in Hawaii a few years ago, for example, MARA operators on the mainland kept contact with the islands longer than any other amateur shortwave radio net. Following an Idaho earthquake in late 1983, MARA members again served as emergency communicators for priesthood leaders. Then the state’s Emergency Management Office asked if it could join the MARA net because its own communication system was not providing the coverage needed.
In times of emergency, radio amateurs have some advantages over commercial communication networks because they have so many broadcast bands and frequencies available, explained MARA vice-president George Oates (K7BFI). The amateurs also are valuable for their resourcefulness—“the ability to make something work when nothing else does,” Brother Allan Packer added.
He explained that the organization has about two hundred members in the continental United States and Canada and in locales throughout the world, including Hawaii, Guam, Tahiti, Western Samoa, Central and South America, South Africa, England, Finland, and Japan. MARA has mailed materials to several hundred Church members who are amateur radio operators, but the organization believes there are other LDS amateurs of whom they are unaware. MARA would like to contact them.
Members get a quarterly bulletin. Past issues have included a series of articles on emergency operations and equipment.
MARA not only provides an opportunity for amateurs with a common bond to train for emergencies, it also serves as “a clearinghouse for information” about setting up local emergency communication systems, Brother Packer said. That way, what has been learned in one area can be applied in another.
To give members a chance to meet, exchange information, and learn from each other, MARA has scheduled its first world convention June 20 to 22 this year at a recreational site near Crater Lake in Oregon, Brother Oates said. Those interested can contact Mercury Northwest net manager Mel Martin (N7BCY), West 242 Loertscher Road, Shelton, Washington 98584, USA, (206) 426–9461.
LDS amateurs interested in the Mercury Amateur Radio Association should contact Preben Nielsen (K7KMZ), secretary, 4902 Wallace Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117, USA. Or they may tune in to the weekly Mercury radio nets on the 20-, 40-, and 80-meter amateur bands. (See p. 78 for a listing of frequencies, times, and net managers.)