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The Victor Amateur Radio Association (VARA) is the official radio club of L-3 Communications and Lockheed Martin Camden plant.  It's history dates back to the RCA days, when it was known as the RCA Amateur Radio Club.  Although amateur radio groups have existed in Camden for decades, the club was formalized in 1985 as an ARRL affiliate.

VARA is open to all employees and retirees of RCA, Lockheed Martin, and L-3 Communications, including non-hams.  For those interested in learning about amateur radio and obtaining their license, the club periodically holds training sessions for all levels (including the new "no code" Technician license, which does not require knowledge of Morse code), as well as classes on antenna fundamentals, computers, satellite orbits, etc.  In the past few years, VARA members have trained and tested over 60 employees in amateur radio.  A team of certified volunteers hold examinations right here at the plant.

The club holds monthly meetings (usually the second Wednesday of the month at 12:00 noon).  VARA also maintains a 2-meter repeater in Camden (146.82/148.22 MHz).  A newsletter is published monthly and distributed by e-mail and hardcopy.  The club participates annually in the June VHF QSO Party from the Delaware Water Gap, and in Field Day at the Pine Hill Scout Camp, as well as many other activities.

Members of the Victor Amateur Radio Association are active in more than just "rag chewing" on the air.  Members are involved in packet radio, amateur television, advanced digital communications, QRP (low power operation), digital signal processing, satellite communications, contesting, etc.  The club owns several HF radios and a multimode 2-meter station.

The radio club provides a valuable service and is a resource to both the company and the community.  We provide technical assistance on programs and radio related issues.  Members provide a service to the community, providing emergency communications both nationally and world-wide to disaster areas.  In addition, the VARA and its members support the Camden City and County Offices of Emergency Management, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), and Military Affiliated Radio Service (MARS).  We provide vital communications to charitable events, such as the March of Dimes and Juvenile Diabetes Walkathons and Bike-a-thons.

Club members have brought amateur radio to the local schools, most likely sparking interest in science/engineering in several of the children.  In April 1994, in conjunction with a visit by the NASA Administrator and Martin Marietta CEO, the club set up a 2-meter satellite system in the parking lot, and made radio contact with the Space Shuttle.

Here at Camden, approximately 10% of the engineering community are licensed "hams," and many non-engineers are hams as well.  All employees are welcome, and the membership is growing.  There are currently about 80 members in the VARA, representing all occupations, including engineering, clerical, manufacturing, PMO, etc.  Members hail from the Camden, Moorestown, Newtown, Valley Forge, Denver, Utica and Sunnyvale plants.  Several are retired.

For more information, a membership application, or to be added to the newsletter distribution, contact club president Pete Greene (N2LVI) at (856) 338-2343, or vice president Joe Everhart (N2CX) at (856) 338-4099.  Training and exam inquiries may be made to Tim Ohrman (W2CN) at (856) 338-4797.

Victor Amateur Radio Association Home Page

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Web Page Maintained by Pete Greene, N2LVI
Contact:  Peter Greene, N2LVI
(856) 338-2343  or  8*794-2343

Copyright 1999-2002
Last Updated:  28 January 2002

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