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Local amateur radio club to represent Ohio in national event

Courtesy of John Levo

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson made a large purchase of land west of the Mississippi River from France known as the Louisiana Purchase. It almost doubled the size of the newly founded United States.

Although an estimated 60,000 people were living in this newly acquired territory, it mostly was unexplored and uncharted. Therefore, Jefferson planned for four explorations of the territory to take place. The most noted was that of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whose objective was to determine if there was a waterway from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.  

The 4,900-mile expedition was in three parts. The preparation portion was from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Fort Dubois, Ill., and is referred to as the Eastern Legacy. The best known part was from Fort Dubois to the Pacific at Astoria, Ore. The third leg was the return trip east.

As a way to remind people of the importance of this mission, in 2021 the Vancouver, Washington’s Clark County Amateur Radio Club established an on-the-air special event to annually commemorate the event.  

To assist with the event, the Clark County ARC recruited select radio clubs in the 16 states along the 4,900 mile trail to represent their respective state during the 16 day on-the-air event.  

Since then, the Portsmouth Radio Club has represented Ohio. But the popularity of ham radio operators trying to make contact with that station has made it necessary for the organizers to add an additional station in Ohio as well as in each of the other Eastern Legacy states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

The Clark County club honored Highland County’s Highland Amateur Radio Association with an invitation to become Ohio’s second “state activator.”

HARA was recognized by the world’s largest gathering of amateur radio operators in 2022 as the “Club of the Year” – an honor the Washington Club received in 2017.

The goal of the event is for individual operators to establish contact with the 20 plus activation stations in the 16 states the Trail passes through in order to earn a certificate of achievement from the sponsoring club. Starting June 1 and continuing through June 16, local hams will transmit from their own home stations using the Club’s K8HO call sign to establish contact with other amateurs from all parts of the world. 

Last year, the event had over 25,000 individual contacts made by amateurs using voice, Morse code and digital methods. 

The Highland Amateur Radio Association was founded in 1977 to further the interests of those interested in amateur radio, electronics and radio communication in the Highland County area. Presently, the Club has about 100 members residing in all parts of the County. The event will be discussed at the Club’s next meeting.  

It will be Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. at the Scott House on West Main Street in Hillsboro. The club will also have their next Brunch Bunch gathering at the Hillsboro Burger King on Saturday, April 13 at 10 a.m. 

HARA President Ken Lightner states that HARA membership is not required to attend and all meetings are open to any licensed amateur radio operator or person with an interest in radio, electronics or radio communications or an interest learning more about the service and its educational and community service benefits.  

More information about amateur radio can be obtained from the American Radio Relay League, Information about the local Highland Amateur Radio Association can be had by an email to , checking the Club’s Facebook page or contacting Club Information Officer John Levo at (937) 393-4951.

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