The Valley Emergency Radio Association is a group of public-service minded Radio Amateurs who have banded together to support the installation and operation of radio facilities intended primarily for emergency and public service needs. VERA is registered as a "NOT FOR PROFIT" Association with the California Secretary of State and is governed by Articles of Association on file with the State of California.
Quoting from the Articles of Association, VERA is described as an "Association dedicated to promoting Amateur Radio Service activities of a public-service nature, and to supporting communications facilities necessary to those activities". The primary effort of the Association at this time is the support of a full featured emergency repeater serving Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties.
There are three classes of membership in the Association: Full, Sustaining, and Associate. Full members own and donate significant resources (usually equipment) for the use of the Association. Sustaining members provide the financial support for operation and support of the donated equipment. Associate membership is made up of licensed family members of Full and Sustaining members' households, and prior Full and Sustaining members who have moved from Southern California but wish to remain a part of the Association. All members are considered Control Operators and have equal status in the use of the generally available system functions.
The Articles provide for a total of thirty Full and Sustaining memberships. There are currently openings in both of these categories. To qualify for Sustaining membership, you must have demonstrated an active involvement in Amateur Radio public service activities and be sponsored by at least two existing Full or Sustaining members of the Association. Sustaining membership is subject to an Initiation Fee, and an Annual Assessment. Membership size and operating expenses will cause the assessment amount to change from year to year. Contact K6IYK for current Initiation Fee and Assessment information. Associate membership is granted free to any additional licensed family members residing at the same address as a Full member. The Annual Assessment for other Associate memberships is 10% of the Sustaining member amount. Amateurs interested in joining VERA are urged to introduce themselves to, and get acquainted with, existing Association members.
VERA is not a social club nor does the Association normally participate in public service events as a group. Members are urged to join and participate with the Amateur Radio public service group of their choice. VERA facilities are available to support member activities.
Some of the features of the VERA Repeater (K6VER - 224.36 MHz) are: wide area coverage, electronic mailbox message capability with off-air family access, autopatch, and directed reverse patching. The repeater also provides the capability of selective paging and is part of the Amateur Radio emergency response alerting system. Additional features and functions are added from time to time.
The VERA Repeater is located on Oat Mountain above the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys, and is an open machine available to all Amateurs. Primary coverage includes most of Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties. In compliance with the requirements of the 220SMA, and in order to protect the users of other repeaters on the same frequency, VERA is required to operate with a protected receiver and uses a CTCSS (PL) tone of 107.2 Hz. Users without sub-audible tone capability may use the Visitor Access Mode and open the machine by entering "361" using their DTMF pad. When in this mode, the machine will re-close automatically after approximately 30 seconds of non-use.
The emergency alerting service provided by VERA is available on a limited basis to all Amateurs. The alerting service is one method used to alert Amateur Radio public service participants when an emergency or otherwise important condition exists. Individuals may participate in this program through the incorporation of tone decoders in their radio system (may be internal or external to radio). HSC, two-tone, and DTMF encoding are supported. Amateurs who are not VERA members may participate in the Group Call portion of the program.