Club and Call Sign History
The Elmendorf Amateur Radio Society (EARS) started life in 1996 when the Air Force shut down the formal MARS AF Station on the base. At that time the call was transferred to the newly formed club to insure that it would remain on the base. Our Constitution lays down that the club will maintain a working Amateur Station on the base for our Active Duty folks. This is accomplished via donations and grants to the club. We are a no-profit function and all work is done by volunteers in the club or for the club. As the only
AF MARS Station operating in Alaska on DOD property we have support to that mission provided by HQ PACAF/A36.
We are the closest thing to a formal AF MARS Station at this time. We also support Army MARS and to that mission we enjoy limited support from the Alaska Army National Guard. We have been provided new radio and amplifier in 2018 by HQ PACAF to help support AF MARS in Alaska. The Army National Guard provides the station with loaner radio gear and on an as needed basis items like coax.
The Club itself has a very small budget for our regular expenses like internet web hosting and such. So we rely on donations or grants for big ticket items that are not directly related to the MARS Mission.
We are a two call club with both an Air Force call and an Army Call. In 2010 in an effort to reduce operating costs the two facilities Elmendorf and Ft Richardson were merged with the AF taking on the primary role of managing the two bases. This merger became known as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson or JBER. With there being no Ham Club on the Army side we decided to "merge" the AF and Army Ham operations as well in 2014.
The Air Force Call Sign -
Bear Intercept Movie (click)
In 1948 the KL7AIR Military Amateur Recreation Call was assigned to the newly established Elmendorf AFB and it has been for the most part in use since. The Amateur Call Book for the Fall of 1948 confirms this. There were of course periods when it was not used this due to personnel changes, mission changes etc... We do have evidence of contacts made with the KL7AIR call as far back as 1951 in the form of copies of QSL Cards sent. The Club has been in several locations over the last 72 years. In the 1990's the newly formed club "EARS" setup shop in the basement of Denali Hall which was a barracks building. In 2006 we moved from that location into our current location on the second floor of Building 16322 which is the Civil Air Patrol Building also known as R1 North. It sits on the Elmendorf Moraine which is a ridge that runs between the base and Anchorage. The origin of this high ground is from a long gone glacier that as it melted back some 13,000 years ago it left behind this ridge. We enjoy having no above ground power lines nearby and the building is generator backed up as well.
The Army Call Sign-
The KL7USA Military Amateur Recreation Call was assigned to Ft Richardson in the Fall of 1953 according to the 1953 call book. The entry says: "811th Signal Co. (Service) Bldg. T-569 Ft. Richardson." Many thanks to Pete NL7XM for the history. Construction on the post began in 1941 with the build up for World War II. Until about 1946 the Army operated on what was Elmendorf Army Airfield at the time. Not sure when the last Amateur Club function existed on post, its been many years anyway. We have only found a single reference to a QSO between 1979 and 2014 (When the call was merged into EARS and became active again). The earliest we have been able to document so far is 1959. Effective Jan 2014 this call became part of the Joint Military Amateur Recreation Club Station. The KL7USA call was maintained (As the Trustee) for many years by Larry Yerks, WL7BNW (SK). We appreciate Larry's efforts to keep the Army Call from being lost.