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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • KLARA much more than a name

  • They play an important behind the scenes role at many popular local events.

    They jump into action when natural disasters threaten the region.

    They help train the next generation of local ham radio operators.

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  • They play an important behind the scenes role at many popular local events.
    They jump into action when natural disasters threaten the region.
    They help train the next generation of local ham radio operators.
    They are the Keuka Lake Amateur Radio Association (KLARA). The association, with a membership about three dozen strong, handles communication during annual hospital disaster drills, coordinating between the medical facility and Steuben County Emergency Services.
    According to association member Jack Kinney, KLARA was on alert last October for Hurricane Sandy and was ready to go into action if a local response would have been necessary.
    Additionally, Kinney noted, KLARA handles communication every year for the Keuka Lake Boat Regatta and the Wineglass Marathon.
    "Many people in our area don't know what we do," Kinney acknowledged.
    An important upcoming event for the group is the Amateur Radio Technician License exam preparation and test session Feb. 9 in the Steuben County Civil Defense Center, Route 54, Bath. Radio Technician is the entry level license for Ham Radio operators. The next two license steps are General Class and Amateur Extra Class.
    Exam preparation on Feb. 9 is from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The 35-question, FCC exam will be given at 4 p.m., according to Joel Fiske, an association member who will be one of several instructors on Feb. 9.
    Anyone interested in attending the Feb. 9 exam prep and taking the Radio Technician test is encouraged to contact Roy Koehler of Avoca, at 607-382-7905 or 607-566-3688. Koehler is the treasurer of the non-profit group. The class cost is $14 (cash, check or money order), and individuals who register are asked to bring two forms of identification, including one photo ID, to the study and exam sessions.
    Coffee and donuts will be provided, but lunch will not be.
    Once a person registers, they can get their study materials in advance. Fiske said getting the study guide as early as possible is very important to having success in the class and doing well on the exam. KLARA has been posting impressive pass rates for several years.
    "About 95 percent over the last three years," Fiske said.
    The Keuka Lake Amateur Radio Association draws its volunteer members from Steuben, Allegany and Chemung counties, with the largest contingent coming from Steuben. The group was founded in the late 1970s, Fiske said.
    "Amateur radio is all about experimentation," Fiske says, "and the individual learning the theory and practice behind radio."

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