The Post 91 contingent in Corvallis' 2016 Memorial Day parade. Adjutant Doug Mason is setting up the post's ham radio club for a similar stature in the community. (Image via Post 91 Centennial page)

Hams with a plan

A post ham radio club in Montana is setting itself up for the future through forging relationships.

Post 91 in Corvallis, Mont., was chartered in 1937, and started a ham radio club (call sign KG7SPL) in the spring of 2015. That club was the dual brainchild of Post Adjutant Doug Mason, then a novice ham – “I’ve wanted to be a ham radio operator since I was a kid,” he says – and member and longtime ham Roy Meyer, who recently passed away. Mason credits Meyer with encouraging him to pursue his interest.

Around 10 Legionnaires and Sons of The American Legion members were already hams, so membership was not a problem. Once the club was organized, Mason started making plans. And he has a lot of them. Continuing the post’s longstanding involvement with local schools, Mason is talking to a science teacher about possibilities like instituting ham radio as a class, or getting the club involved in the school’s drone-racing project. (Using different frequencies, with more power sent to them, can make the drones go faster, according to Mason.)

Another plan of Mason’s is to make use of two grain silos recently donated to the post, by placing each on either side of the valley Corvallis sits in and placing a ham shack in each. This is part of the post’s disaster preparedness activities; he is also working with the valley’s emergency ham club.

And the club is laying the groundwork for its future growth by getting the word out about ham radio and helping people get their license. Of all the club’s activities, Mason says, “There’s this hole … we’d like to fill it. It’s all about relationships.”