Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club

Information on our club

Table of Contents

What is amateur radio?
How to get started
What does the radio club do?
How can I learn more?
Doesn't equipment cost a lot of money?
How the club helps Lockheed Martin
Do hams keep up with the latest in communication technologies?
History of the club
List of club officers and committee chairs

What is amateur radio?

Amateur Radio operators, also called “hams,” are ordinary people who happen to have an interest in electronics or communications via radio. They make friends with other amateurs around the country and sometimes around the world.

Public service is a large part of the Amateur Radio Service. Hams sponsor and provide radio support for various activities in their community. Field Day is the largest ham activity related to public service. One weekend each June, amateurs take their equipment into the great outdoors to simulate operation during a disaster. The challenge is to establish temporary stations and contact as many other participants as possible. Many stations make 1000 contacts or more within the 24 hour time allotment.

Amateurs are not limited to the “short wave” frequency bands. Indeed, many amateurs are experimenters and researchers who have made significant contributions in the microwave spectrum, with video and digital communication systems, and in any number of related technologies including orbiting satellites.

The Federal Communications Commission licenses amateurs and is charged with enforcing certain rules and regulations. For the most part, the amateur community enforces rules among its own participants. 

How to get started

The FCC issues several classes of licenses each with a set of privileges linked to the skills learned to pass the examination. This “incentive” program encourages amateurs to improve their radio abilities. The best way to get started is to take classes in the local community. Locally, classes are regularly offered in the fall in Santa Clara. Examinations are given several times each month in virtually every city. Locally they are given twice per month at Compaq Computer in Cupertino and also in Sunnyvale. A nominal fee is charged for the exam (about $6) but the license itself is free.

Depending on the class of license, some tests require the applicant to learn and demonstrate that they can receive the International Morse Code. While it takes a certain amount of concentration and practice, it is not difficult to learn the code. Additionally, tests include questions on radio and electronics theory and FCC rules and regulations.

There is no age limit for becoming licensed. A number of individuals have earned their licenses when only 10 or 12 years old!

For more information, contact one of our officers.

What does the radio club do?

The radio club at Lockheed Martin Employees’ Recreation Association has been organized for many, many years. Currently there are about 90 members. To join you do not need to be a licensed amateur -- only have an interest in ham radio. LMERA requires that club members have some relationship to Lockheed Martin. This includes former Loral, Ford Aerospace and Martin Marietta employees. Please contact one of our board officers if you have questions.

Please consider club membership. Annual membership dues are currently $15 for active employees and dependents; and $10 for retirees. An additional $10 per year is charged for those who elect to use a club-operated repeater system to pay for phone line expenses.

The club maintains a fully-equipped station for use by members. This station has contacted hams all over the world (more than 360 countries). Additionally, the club meets monthly for dinner and a program at local restaurants. The club participates in the annual field day event (described above).

Regularly the club exercises its members and their equipment to help ensure they are prepared to help LMMS and the community in the event of a local disaster or emergency.

The club provides support for communications needs in charity events like bicycle tours or walk-a-thons.

The radio club publishes a monthly award-winning monthly newsletter, Amateur Radio Horizons.

How can I learn more?

To learn more about the LMERA Amateur Radio Club, send a note or call one of the officers. The club is affiliated with a national non-profit organization, the American Radio Relay League. To contact the league for more information, write ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111, call (860) 594-0200. 

Doesn’t equipment cost a lot of money?

Within the wide world of amateur radio there are a number of areas that might be of interest. Yes, some people choose to invest a lot of time and money in their hobby. But this is a matter of choice. The LMERA Amateur Radio Club maintains a complete station for use by members at no charge. Basic radio equipment need not be particularly expensive. Many have found that simple antennas built from copper wire and insulators can be very effective. Since many hams are experimenters, radio flea markets (also called “ham fests”) offer many bargains. From March through October one of the biggest flea markets in the area is held on Saturday mornings at Foothill College.

How the club helps Lockheed Martin

The radio club has organized many of its members into an Emergency Communications Team. The purpose of the ECT is to help assist in emergencies by supplying radio operators for message handling. This is far more than providing radio equipment. Hams develop their message-handling skills through practice and discipline. Because they also possess technical skills, they offer flexibility if portions of systems are inoperable.

Do hams keep up with the latest in communications technologies?

You bet they do! Amateurs have flown on a number of shuttle flights and actively demonstrated communications skills directly to public school classrooms. They are involved in spread spectrum techniques, satellite communications, high altitude balloon flights, and many other “high tech” projects.

Some hams who push their equipment to the limits regularly communicate with each other by bouncing their signals off the surface of the moon!

Did you know that members of the LMERA radio club helped build the very first amateur satellite right here in the Sunnyvale area? OSCAR-1 was successfully launched in 1961 from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Many hams enjoy building their own equipment. Others find satisfaction designing and erecting their station antennas.

So there is room in amateur radio for an endless variety of experimentation, development, and personal growth.

History of the club

The LMERA club has roots that go back to the early days of Lockheed Missiles & Space Company in Sunnyvale. The Amateur Radio Club was one of the first clubs formed under the former Lockheed Employees’ Recreation Association. The first president of LMSC, Gene Root, became active in amateur radio upon his retirement and was a strong booster of the amateur satellite movement.

Several other Lockheed Martin Corporation sites also have active amateur radio clubs.

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