Amateur Radio

Here We Go: Discovering the Best Radio Features for Hilo

Here We Go: Discovering the Best Radio Features for Hilo

Nestled on the eastern side of the Big Island, Hilo, Hawaii, is a place of lush landscapes, active volcanoes, and a vibrant cultural scene. For amateur radio enthusiasts, Hilo offers a unique environment that calls for specific radio features to ensure optimal performance and an enriched radio experience. Let's take a journey through Hilo’s amateur radio community and explore the best features for radios in this tropical paradise. Here we go!

A Day in the Life of a Hilo Radio Enthusiast

Imagine starting your day in Hilo with the soothing sounds of waves crashing against the shore. As you grab your portable radio, you need one that can withstand the humid, often rainy climate of Hawaii. Water and weather resistance becomes a necessity. Radios designed to be waterproof or at least highly resistant to moisture ensure that your device remains functional despite the frequent tropical downpours.

As the sun rises higher, you decide to participate in a local radio club event. Hilo’s clubs are renowned for their engagement in digital communication modes. To join in, you need a radio that supports various digital modes such as DMR, D-STAR, and Fusion. These features not only offer greater versatility but also allow you to connect with other operators and participate in a wide range of activities and events.

Afternoon Adventures and Community Service

After a morning of connecting with fellow enthusiasts, you head out for an afternoon hike in the lush rainforests surrounding Hilo. Here, strong signal and coverage are crucial. The varied terrain of Hilo, with its mountains and dense foliage, can be challenging for communication. A radio with powerful transmitters and robust signal coverage ensures that you stay connected, even in the most remote parts of the island.

Hilo is no stranger to natural events like volcanic activity and tsunamis. During these times, amateur radio operators play a vital role in emergency communication. Radios equipped with emergency alert capabilities, weather monitoring, and quick access to emergency frequencies are invaluable. These features allow you to respond quickly and effectively, providing critical information and support when it’s needed most.

Evening Gatherings with the Club

As the day winds down, you gather with other members of the Big Island Amateur Radio Club (BIARC) at the Keaau Community Center. The BIARC, with its long history and active membership, is a cornerstone of Hilo’s amateur radio community.

Basic Information:

  • Call Sign: KH6EJ
  • Annual Report: Aug 09th, 2021
  • Meeting Time: 2nd Saturday Monthly at 2 PM
  • Meeting Place: Keaau Community Center, Keaau
  • Section: PAC
  • Affiliation Date: May 20th, 1978
  • Specialties: Contest, Digital Modes, DX, General Interest, Public Service/Emergency, Repeaters, VHF/UHF
  • Services Offered: Club Newsletter, Entry-Level License Classes, General Or Higher License Classes, License Test Sessions, Mentor, On-The-Air Bulletins, Repeater
  • Links: BIARC Website
  • Email:

Club Statistics:

  • Club Members: 73
  • Voting Members: 73
  • Voting Licensed Amateur Members: 73
  • Voting ARRL Members: 49

The BIARC is dedicated to fostering a strong community of amateur radio operators, providing educational resources, and promoting public service and emergency communication capabilities.

Late-Night QSOs with the Hawaii QRP Club

Later in the evening, you might find yourself at the Jack-in-the-Box Restaurant for a late-night QSO session with the Hawaii QRP Club. This club, focused on low-power operation, offers a different but equally engaging experience.

Basic Information:

  • Call Sign: KH6AA
  • Annual Report: Sep 26th, 2013
  • Meeting Time: Daily, 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM
  • Meeting Place: Hilo Jack-in-the-Box Restaurant
  • Section: PAC
  • Affiliation Date: Jul 20th, 2000
  • Specialties: Contest, Digital Modes, DX, General Interest, Public Service/Emergency, VHF/UHF
  • Services Offered: General Or Higher License Classes, Hamfest, License Test Sessions, Mentor, On-The-Air Bulletins, Tvi/RFI Committee
  • Links: Hawaii QRP Club Website

Club Statistics:

  • Club Members: 10
  • Voting Members: 29
  • Voting Licensed Amateur Members: 29
  • Voting ARRL Members: 24


Hilo’s breathtaking landscapes and active community spirit make it an ideal location for amateur radio enthusiasts. By choosing radios with water and weather resistance, digital modes compatibility, emergency alert capabilities, strong signal coverage, portability, and repeater access, operators can ensure effective and reliable communication throughout the city and its surroundings. Joining clubs like the Big Island Amateur Radio Club and the Hawaii QRP Club provides valuable resources, support, and opportunities to engage with the local radio community. Stay connected, explore the frequencies, and enjoy the dynamic world of amateur radio in Hilo.

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Here We Go: Discovering the Best Radio Features for Maui
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