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Amateur Radio: What is it and why do I care?

The amateur radio community does much more than just talk on radios to each other. Our main purpose in existing is to provide communications for community events (bike rides, parades, marathons, etc.) and major emergency situations such as extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, etc.), interruptions in normal communications (such as the complete shut down of all telephone and internet connections, land line or cell, that occurred in Jackson County a few years ago), etc. The amateur radio community are involved with organizations such as RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service; a division of the Department of Public Safety), MARS (Military Amateur Radio Service; providing communications between the various branches of the military and civilians) and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service; providing vital health and welfare information between served agencies and individuals).

The repeater owned by the Coleto Creek Amateur Radio Club, operating on the frequency 146.640 MHz, PL tone 103.5 (affectionately known as "the 64", licensed by the FCC with call sign W5DWT) is the communications hub for DeWitt County. When providing communications for community events or emergency situations, an operator known as net control will gather local information and relay it to the proper agency using the local repeaters or HF (High Frequency). Using a net control on a local repeater reduces congestion on linked repeater systems and High Frequency bands. Communication is passed in an organized fashion rather than just anyone trying to get a word in edgewise and confusing the communication process. Therefore, it is vital to the welfare of the local community that the area amateur radio clubs have the ability to maintain the local repeaters. However, by the rules of amateur radio, set by the FCC, an amateur radio operator may not accept compensation of any form for the performance of their communications duties. This creates a problem as equipment and the maintenance of such equipment can be expensive.

There are many ways that the local community may provide assistance to their local clubs in maintaining emergency communications equipment. For a fee of $5.00 per year, a person without an amateur radio license may become a non voting member of the club, welcome at all club meetings and events. Every event, whether emergency or otherwise, requires more than just communications, transportation of equipment, collecting supplies, etc., it is here that non hams can be participating members of the club. If a person is interested in becoming a ham, the club will provide assistance in obtaining materials for study and giving the tests required by the FCC for the issuance of an amateur radio license. All local clubs will also accept technical assistance or simple donations as well.

If you already have an amateur radio license, the membership fee is $15.00 for an individual or $20.00 for a family, which includes all licensed operators living at a single address. The Coleto Creek Amateur Radio Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at the First United Methodist Church in Yorktown. Our meetings start at 7:00 pm with a potluck dinner and plenty of lively conversation before the official start of business at 7:30 pm. We will welcome any and all who are interested to come visit, eat and see just what we are all about. You may also visit our website at

Anyone interested in providing technical assistance or making a one time donation may send an e-mail to or send donations to Coleto Creek Amateur Radio Club, 732 FM 884, Yorktown, TX 78164.

Since the lightening strike approximately four years ago, the Coleto Creek Amateur Radio Club has been having issues with the repeater. We have scheduled several work days and corrected several issues, but we are still having problems with the repeater. We believe we have finally found the main issue and have planned a work day for November 12, 2016 at 10:00 am. Anyone interested in helping with the repairs or meeting with the local hams are invited to join us at 732 FM 884, Yorktown, TX 78164 on this day.

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