SECARS - The Southeastern CT Amateur Radio Society
SECARS (Southeastern Connecticut Amateur Radio Society) was established in the 2022 and has repeaters located in Norwich, CT and other equipment located at the Red Cross in Uncasville, CT. Our purpose is to
-Promote compliance with and support the purposes of the Amateur Radio Service as defined in the Federal Communications Commission Rules Part 97.1.
-Expand public understanding and appreciation of the Amateur Radio Service, and to encourage participation in this service.
-Further the exchange of information and cooperation between members.
-Coordinate and conduct amateur radio activities and programs in such a manner as to advance the general interest and welfare of amateur radio in the community.
-Promote radio knowledge, camaraderie and individual operating proficiency.
-Serve the general community in the time of an emergency and through public service events.
-SECARS, Inc. will accomplish these purposes through volunteer activities of its membership, financial support of charitable and educational opportunities, and public benevolent efforts.
The Society maintains a repeater on 146.730 MHz with a PL of 156.7 Hz. SECARS hosts several on air nets that are held on this repeater throughout the week. Popular nets include the VHF/UHF net, which meets every Sunday at 8:00 PM. This net discusses upcoming activities and is a good forum to catch up with other local amateurs. The Southeastern CT traffic net is held every night at 9:00 PM. The first part of the net is devoted to traffic handling (passing messages to other amateurs or non-hams), followed by a general discussion that usually begins 10-15 minutes later. Bring your topics of interest to discuss – or use this as an opportunity to meet new people. This net also serves to support emergency communications in the event that other services (telephone, cell networks, internet) are down.
SECARS is an active group promoting amateur radio and its benefits to the community. We regularly give seminars to schools, Scout troops and community organizations oriented toward emergency services. We host regular foxhunts, which are basically high-tech games of hide and seek. Someone hides somewhere in Southeastern CT (usually in the Norwich area) and transmits at regular intervals over a 2-3 hour period. Hams are encouraged to hone their direction-finding skills and find the hidden transmitter – first by driving and then on foot once at the hiding place. A short social event usually follows. These events promote developing skills that can help locate people in an emergency and are used to hunt downed aircraft or other vessels in distress.
We are also active in various contests, including Winter Field Day and Summer Field Day. These are national contests (with international participation) emphasizing emergency preparedness and operator skill. They are also educational activities, and we encourage new hams to participate. Our organization sets up tents and stations on different amateur radio bands and modes – including CW, SSB and digital modes. No equipment is needed, and we have Extra class control operators present, so you can try out new frequencies or modes that normally would not be accessible without a license upgrade. It is also a great setting to learn new skills, and there are plenty of experienced operators who will help you learn new things about amateur radio. SECARS also participates in the June and September VHF/UHF contests, where we set up portable stations and work hams in as many different grid squares as possible. Grid squares denote different sections of the globe – divided by 1o latitude x 2o longitude (70 miles x 100 miles). Come try out some interesting equipment and modes for weak signal work!
Do you like outdoor operating at other times of the year? SECARS has plans for IOTA (Islands On The Air) with members traveling to local islands on club members' private boats when available. We are also getting more active with POTA (Parks On The Air). Bring some gear along or just show up and operate as a guest. Radio amateurs all over the world collect parks and islands, so this is your chance to be on the other end of a small pileup!
SECARS sponsors two auction fundraisers each year – which offer the opportunity to buy or sell amateur radio gear, parts and other items. These auctions are held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall (Gales Ferry, CT) in April and October. This is a great opportunity to meet other amateur radio operators, get some advice and pick up some gear. Prices are usually very reasonable at these events.
SECARS is very active in getting new people into amateur radio. We occasionally sponsor license courses at the Technician and General class license level. These courses are held virtually via Zoom, and recordings will be made available on our club server. SECARS also holds examination sessions the first Tuesday of each month at the Uncasville Red Cross. Walk-ins are welcome. Contact us at the e-mail addresses listed below to inquire.
Finally, SECARS hosts technical seminars. Lectures are given the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:30 PM on Zoom and cover a wide variety of topics, such as foxhunting, satellite work, using micro-controllers in the ham shack, assembling go-kits for portable operating and much more. We also have recorded sessions available for learning Morse Code.
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