Sawnee Amateur Radio Association

An amateur radio club for the Forsyth County Georgia Area
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Welcome to the Sawnee Amateur Radio Association


SARA is one of the premier clubs in the North Georgia area. Presently, we have over fifty active members. The club and its members are actively involved in many different amateur radio activities. Some members enjoy just rag-chewing, or operating CW, SSB, VHF SSB, or QRP. Others enjoy chasing DX, or working satellites, or building equipment and antenna systems.

The clubs main emphasis is to assist local communities with special events and their communications needs. We also like to promote the public awareness of the ARRL Field Day event held every June. SARA has been honored with two national “First Place” finishes in our class, during past Field Day events.

If you are just starting out in amateur radio, we invite you to one of our upcoming events or meetings. Let us introduce you to our hobby while you visit one of the best clubs in the area.

October 8th Meeting - The HAARP Research Station – An Engineers View


The Monday, October 8th, meeting will feature a presentation describing the design, construction, and operation of the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program “HAARP” located in Gakona, Alaska. Guest speaker Steve Floyd, W4YHD, was the Chief RF Design Engineer for the HAARP facility for 18 years and remains an active consultant to the program. Steve is currently a Principal Systems Engineer at General Dynamics Corporation in Fairfax, Va.

This presentation will focus on the engineering design, equipment manufa

Steve Floyd, W4YHD

Steve Floyd, W4YHD

cturing, site construction, and operational summary of this most unique broadcast facility. The HAARP Research Station (callsign KL7ERP) is a state-of-the-art ionospheric research project located in Alaska and was jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Designed and built by a Washington, DC-based APTI/BAE Systems team, its purpose is to analyze the Earth’s ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance. In 2015 the HAARP program and all assets were officially transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the facility is currently fully operational.

The most prominent instrument at the HAARP Research Station is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a 180 antenna tower array, and 180 individual 20 kW each RF output radio transmitter system, operating in the high frequency (HF) band. The HAARP IRI is recognized as one of the highest powered HF transmitting systems in the world and is used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study. Other instruments at the facility include; high sensitivity receivers (ELF thru SHF), VHF and UHF radars, a fluxgate magnetometer, a digisonde (an ionospheric sounding device), an induction magnetometer, and low light CCD camera optics systems which are all used to study the physical processes that occur in the excited regions. The HAARP facility also has its own 15-megawatt diesel engine based power generation plant, and a modern operations center.

Work on the HAARP Research Station was started in 1993 and completed in 2007. Scientific operations began in 1996 and were temporarily suspended in 2014 & 2015 due to federal budget problems. HAARP operations resumed in 2016. The program is recognized as a highly successful research project overcoming many unique and unusual radio engineering design challenges. This presentation will provide an inside view describing how the HAARP systems were designed, constructed, installed, and operated with an emphasis on the unique engineering aspects of constructing this modern research facility. Examples of scientific research conducted at the facility will also be presented.

Steve Floyd (W4YHD) is a BSEE graduate of VA Tech, a former student DJ and Chief Engineer at WUVT-FM in Blacksburg, VA, and obtained his MSEE from Johns Hopkins University. His current responsibilities are primarily involved in the design of high power SDR based radar systems, including EW and Communications systems, at General Dynamics Mission Systems. Steve is also active in the broadcast industry and has a lifelong love of radio broadcasting and amateur radio.

So Where Does All This Take Place?

The meeting is at 7:00 on Monday, October 8 . We are at Northside Forsyth Hospital’s Bennett Center, 1400 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041. This is off GA 400 Exit 14. Enter from Ronald Reagan Blvd. (extension of Marketplace Blvd.) The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage. The conference center is behind the reception desk to your left as you enter the 1400 building. Of course, you don’t have to be a member of SARA to come, but if you live in the area we’d really appreciate your membership.

A Ham’s Gotta Eat

If you can, join us at 5:30 or so at Marie’s, It’s in the Publix shopping center on the north side of GA 20 (GA400 Exit 14), 580 Atlanta Rd, Cumming, Ga. 30040. Marie’s is in the 2nd building to the left of Publix, just past the Humane Society Thrift Store and the monopole cell tower. Here is a Google Street View of the restaurant front to show you what to look for: Look for us maybe at the big table in the front.


Posted in Amateur Radio 2 years, 11 months ago at 9:00 pm.

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