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Local amateur radio club to promote Rocky Fork Lake nationwide

By John Levo
Highland Amateur Radio Association

On Saturday, Sept. 9, a group of Highland County amateur radio operators will assemble at the abandoned Fisherman’s Wharf concession stand to participate in the 16 annual Ohio State Parks On The Air amateur radio operating event.  

Starting around 9 that morning they will meet to start setting up transmitting and receiving stations along with the variety of self-designed and self-made antennas they will use to make communications with other amateur radio operators throughout Ohio, the nation and the world and acknowledge transmitting from Highland County’s Rocky Fork State Park.  

According to the Highland Amateur Radio Association’s President Ken Lightner, the club has participated in the annual event since 2010.  

The event is sponsored by the Portage Amateur Radio Club from Portage County in coordination with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Resorts.  

According to event sponsors the event’s objective is to (1) make the public aware of amateur radio and to promote Ohio’s beautiful State Park System, (2) to contribute to the recognition that Ohio has a diverse and wonderful ecology and (3) to promote the camaraderie within the ranks of Ohio’s Amateur Radio Community.  

It is also used as a training drill for amateurs to practice their emergency communications skills should they be requested to assist a local, state or national government agency during a disaster or emergency.  

Although past operations have focused on Rocky Fork, the Club has been recognized for also establishing similar operational stations during the same time at Paint Creek, Pike Lake, Lake White, Great Seal, Scioto Trails, Lake Alma and Lake Hope.

On Sept. 9, clubs and individuals will venture into most of Ohio’s 75 state parks and set up temporary station operations using various means of powering their equipment ranging from commercial power sources to generators, batteries and solar arrays.  

Starting at 10 a.m., the then will try to make contact with as many stations as possible who are using similar arrangements in other state parks. The goal is to contact as many Ohio State Parks and individual stations as possible until 6 p.m.  

A contact with Rocky Fork will be sought by others from throughout the world since the Park is a part of the international “Parks on the Air” Program amateur radio challenge.  Therefore a contact with a station on Kelly’s Island is as meaningful as a contact with a station in Switzerland who wants the Parks identification number.

Lightner invites anyone with an interest learning more about this unique method of promoting the Ohio Park System to stop by that morning or afternoon and experience the excitement of ham radio.  

It is also an opportunity for those curious to learn more about the hobby and what it is about from experienced licensed amateurs.

The Highland Amateur Radio Association is an organization of over 100 federally licensed amateur radio operations residing within or at the edges of Highland County.  The club is recognized as one of the leading amateur radio clubs in North America and was recognized at the world’s largest “ham radio” gathering as the “Club of the Year.”

More information about the club or amateur radio may also be obtained by contacting

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