A Noblesville owner of a computer consulting and maintenance service has taken the helm of a central Indiana amateur radio group this month.
Gregory Wayne Polakoff was elected unanimously by members of the Central Indiana Amateur Radio Association (CIARA) to serve as president for a one-year term that began on Jan. 1. Steve Skinner of Cicero was elected treasurer. Steve Stuckey of Sheridan and Dr. Ron Sans of Castleton were re-elected vice-president and secretary respectively.
Polakoff started NFC Information Technology as a small family owned business with his father Greg, bringing a combined experience of over 20 years in the IT industry. The firm assists companies of all sizes with their IT needs.
Members of CIARA include federally licensed amateur radio operators from throughout the region who meet regularly the first Saturday of the month, with some exercise and training exceptions.
Known for years as the Hamilton County Amateur Radio Emergency Services Club (HCARES), members voted to change the name of the group to the Central Indiana Amateur Radio Association (CIARA – pronounced “Sierra”) two years ago.
“While emergency communications and public service remains a central part of what we do as a club, there are so many other technical disciplines and activities that we’re involved with, we needed to change our name to more accurately reflect that we are a general interest “Ham” radio group, not just single purpose,” Polakoff said.
“From exploring new communications technologies such as amateur low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, broad-band digital communications, Internet Radio Linking and smart phone interfacing to providing entry level license training and exams, CIARA has programs, presentations, field trips and activities to appeal to anyone with an FCC license or who wants to get one,” he said.
Affiliated with the ARRL, the national organization for Amateur Radio, anyone with an interest in amateur radio in central Indiana is welcome to attend any of their meetings held at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month in the training room of Noblesville Fire Station No. 76, 16800 Hazel Dell Road.
CIARA members are National Weather Service trained Severe Storm Spotters and join with members of Hamilton County Emergency Management’s Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (R.A.C.E.S.) to deploy during SKYWARN nets throughout the area to provide “ground truth” such as wall and funnel clouds, tornadoes and other severe conditions, reporting their observations directly to the County Emergency Operations Center with their mobile ham radios. Many are members of both groups.
“Our goal is to learn more about the many facets of amateur radio which today is about as high tech as radio gets,” Polakoff noted. “From talking directly with astronauts on the International Space Station, building better antennas, using new “software defined” radios, and connecting with folks on the other side of the world using a hand-held radio, this is art and science that’s just plain fun. We love DIY and we invite any and all to check us out and join the camaraderie. We’ll help you get your FCC license and get on the air yourself.”
The club is holding a one-day entry level FCC ham radio license class on Saturday, Feb. 17, in conference room B at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Carmel. The class will begin at 8 a.m. and end with testing for a license at 4:30 p.m. To register or get more information, contact Mike Alley at Mike Alley, instructor, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The instruction is free but there is a $15 administrative charge for the FCC exam.
For more information about the club or the Hamilton County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, contact Joe March, public information officer at 317-224-9433 or email email@example.com. Detailed information about Amateur Radio can be found at arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.