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Villa Rica Gold Rush Special Event

The West Georgia Amateur Radio Society will hold its first annual “Villa Rica Gold Rush” special event September 8th-10th, 2023 with all bands operating simultaneously on September 9th from 12:30Z until 19:30Z from the original Pine Mountain Gold Mine Operations Building at the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Villa Rica, GA on 15,20,40, and 80 meters in CW, Phone, and Digital modes, using the W4G call sign. There will also be an optional “bonus” 10 meter station. Certificates for making a single contact, all bands, and bonus band contacts will be made available.

The Pine Mountain Gold Museum is at the actual location of the old Pine Mountain Gold Mine and hosts a park with pavilions, walking trails, a train ride, and even the opportunity for guests to try their hand at gold panning.

Operations coincide with Villa Rica’s annual Gold Rush Festival, held every 2nd Weekend of September to commemorate Villa Rica’s place in history as the location of the United States’ first gold rush. The Gold Rush festival includes a concert, 5K road race, parade, music, food, and other activities starting Friday evening and ending late Saturday. Visitors can enjoy the Gold Rush Festival and make the short trip to the Pine Mountain Gold Museum for additional activities.

Carroll County, home of Villa Rica, lies on the Southwestern edge of the Georgia Gold Belt, which stretches from Rabun County through the city of Dahlonega, southward through Cherokee County and into Paulding and Carroll counties. This was, at the time, the richest gold formation ever found in the continental United States of America.

Although Dahlonega, Georgia played host to the first widely publicized gold rush in the state in 1829, Villa Rica, Spanish for “City of riches” or “Rich village”, was the home of a gold rush almost a decade earlier – the first in Georgia and the nation.

So, why is Villa Rica’s neighbor to the North more well known? Due to an obscure law passed in 1825, which gave the mineral rights to the state for the newly created “Carroll County”, gold mining remained a closely guarded secret in Carroll until December of 1829 when the law was repealed. Within a few months, dozens of commercial mining operations suddenly appeared on the deed books in the area.

The late 1830s saw Georgia’s mine production decline and by 1849 local miners were joining the rush of people looking for riches in California, becoming the now infamous “49ers”.

By the early 1900s the only remaining operational mine in the area was the Pine Mountain mine, which is now the location of the Pine Mountain Gold Museum, park, train ride, and gold panning operations.

Talk-in frequency for any amateur radio operators attending the Gold Rush festival and related events is 146.640-131.8, the W4FWD repeater atop Oak Mountain in Carroll County, GA.

For more information and updates visit our website at and and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook/WGARS.

West Georgia Amateur Radio Society thanks the Pine Mountain Gold Museum for providing use of their facility and information used in this article. Visit the museum at For more information on Villa Rica’s Gold Rush Festival visit



Upcoming Events

Mon Mar 04 @ 8:00PM
Club Net on 146.640mhz
Thu Mar 07 @ 8:00PM
Carroll ARES Net
Mon Mar 11 @ 8:00PM
Club Net on 146.640mhz
Thu Mar 14 @ 8:00PM
Carroll ARES Net
Mon Mar 18 @ 8:00PM
Club Net on 146.640mhz
Thu Mar 21 @ 8:00PM
Carroll ARES Net
Mon Mar 25 @ 8:00PM
Club Net on 146.640mhz
Thu Mar 28 @ 8:00PM
Carroll ARES Net
Mon Apr 01 @ 8:00PM
Club Net on 146.640mhz
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