Mayes County Amateur Radio Club
Mayes County Amateur Radio Club (MCARC) initially began as the Northeastern Oklahoma Repeater Group (NEORG). The name was changed to MCARC at a meeting attended by 22 people on December 5, 1984, with Steve Howard presiding.
In 1976, schematics and other detailed information were prepared by Robert Pace to help build a repeater to be placed on high terrain west of Pryor, Oklahoma. At that time members numbered approximately six. This small group of amateur radio hams had a community purpose to provide service during natural disasters and communication emergencies.
As a small club, they solicited donations of coax cable and antennas and secured funding to help advance the construction of the repeater. The club anticipated the repeater would allow contacts with Fayetteville, AR; Pittsburgh, KS; Tulsa and Bartlesville, OK; and other points in Oklahoma. During severe weather, the club would be able to have direct contact with the National Weather Service for radar confirmations and communicate that information to help with community preparedness.
After receiving funding from several sources the club proceeded to build a 2 meter repeater and placed it on a tower owned by Alert Cable TV (Delma Stafford). In March of 1985 a remote auto patch was added to the existing repeater to allow the repeater to be connected to the commercial telephone lines permitting phone calls to be placed by repeater users. This heightened the club's emergency capabilities through instant access to local police, fire and medical assistance, weather and road conditions, automobile accidents, fires and floods. Alert Cable TV eventually sold the tower.
In 1989, the club purchased a new Hamtonics REP-100 and Steve Howard and Larry Yarbrough built the repeater kit. The club acquired a new location for the repeater on top of the Mayes County Courthouse in Pryor. The new repeater was more dependable than the original one, but the range was significantly reduced. It served all of Mayes County with additional coverage extending to a 50 mile radius of Pryor.
In the late nineties, Mark Roberts secured our present repeater locations and modified surplus radios for repeater use. The 147.060 repeater was then moved from the Courthouse to a hill four miles west of Pryor. An additional repeater (444.675) was also placed on this same tower. Another repeater (442.075) was placed on a tower located on Keetonville Hill west of Claremore, OK. These repeaters continue to provide extensive coverage in Northeastern Oklahoma.
The club was active in many community activities and available to serve the community during natural disasters. Classes were provided for those interested in obtaining an amateur radio license, emergency preparedness was practiced during the annual Field Day in conjunction with the national American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and a once a week communication "net" was held on the radio for the purpose of message training, liaison with the National Traffic System, the Military Affiliate Radio Service, the local civil defense and for fellowship. Other activities included Operation Friend (giving rides home on New Year's Eve), monitoring local festivals, helping with communications during severe weather situations, general camaraderie and sharing of information.
The club's membership numbers and participation in activities has fluctuated over the years as members move in and out of the area, a younger population becomes interested in ham radio or members die and become "silent keys." At times there have been approximately 60 members and at other times only four. However, as amateur radio interest grows and new technologies emerge, the excitement, teamwork and fellowship experienced by members of the Mayes County Amateur Radio Club continues to grow and endure. Hams and those wanting to get their license and join the amateur radio community, are welcome to attend our club meetings to be part of MCARC history in Northeastern Oklahoma.