Friday, 7 August 2015

History of the York Region Amateur Radio Club

I notice in my web searches an excerpt from the history of the club, noting that it was taken from the club web site. This led me on another series of searches because the history of the club is no longer on our web site, having been lost in the ravages of being passed from person to person.

Finally (a dramatic way of saying after about 20 minutes or so) I retrieved it from the "Wayback Machine". I'm not sure whether this is the full posting as it ends rather abruptly with Geoff's ascent to the position of Chairman. So I'm posting it here for your reading pleasure while I search for more. If anyone has more documents or even recollections I'd be happy to share them with the club. Maybe an old-timer or two would even consent to a video interview to help newer members know what the good old days of the club and ham radio were like.

If anyone remembers if there was a "Second Twenty Years" article let me know. Also if anyone knows Frank Rusholme's call, I'd like to add that as well. It looks like the author of the article didn't know.

History of the York North Amateur Radio Club

The first twenty years

On March 11, 1959, a meeting of the Newmarket area amateurs was held in the Newmarket council chambers on Main St. Acting as chairman of this meeting was Harry Richardson, VE3ACN. The meeting was held to form a radio club for amateurs in Newmarket and area. Bill Kingston, VE3EXH proposed the name York North Radio Club which was adopted.

The club’s first executive was elected, with Art Stephens, VE3YS being named president. Dues for membership in the club would be $1.00 per year, and $0.25 a month with two meetings held each month. By May of 1959, the club had grown to 24 members. They held their first social activity - a dance at the Stouffville Legion Hall. They also received their first club station licence - VE3YCD - which reflected their close relationship with the York Civil Defence organization.

In September of 1959 a second executive committee was elected with Bill Kingston, VE3EXH being chosen president. During the early part of 1960, the club began including special programs, such as guests speakers and films, blending the technical with the social aspects of the club. In May of 1960 the club purchased its first transmitter, a Heathkit DX-40 and used an HQ-110 receiver, on loan. The first QSL card was received from K4TYF, a ham in Tennessee. Gus Grant, VE3EQR and Max Boag, VE3NP chipped in extra funds to make the station possible. That summer, the club held its first Field Day.

Bill Kingston was re-elected as president for the 1960-61 year, and was responsible for code and theory classes being organized. In March of 1961, the club moved its meetings to 80 Bayview Ave. Field Day during the summer of 1961 was a successful event, even though the whole weekend was cold and rainy. By the end of the 60-61 season, the club treasury was in good shape, with $48.92 in the bank.

For the 1961-62 season, Gus Grant, VE3EQR was elected president of a club that had grown to a membership of 36. (A little trivia - Newmarket telephone numbers were TWining5-xxxx, but if you lived out in the country, such as Al Dike, VE3AFW, his phone number was 8W4. Of course you couldn’t dial it, you had to tell the operator. And if you didn’t know the number, the operator did!). During September and October, amateurs participated in an EMO (Emergency Measures) course. Remember, this was in the cold war era. The 1962 Field Day was quite a success with towers supplied and erected by Allen’s TV.

1962-63 - Information not available

The president for the 1963-64 season was Bill Findlay, VE3CLK. Attendance at meetings had fallen of a bit during this period of time with only 10 or 12 attending some of the monthly meetings. Early in 1964, the club received the call sign VE3YNA (York North Amateurs) replacing VE3YCD. A motion was passed at one of the meetings that the SPLATTER be issued on a monthly basis with members contributing items of interest and news about their station and operation. (Another bit of trivia - In October of 1964 the club recorded the purchase of a gift for newlyweds Doug & Heather Holmes - Doug was already licensed, VE3CWO, but it was another ten years before Heather took the courses for her ticket.) During the following year, meetings were held only on an occasional basis, with John Lewis, VE3EXC as the president. During the next couple of years only a few informal get-togethers took place.

Something had to be done about that, so in 1969, Harvey Bell, VE3AFK, Frank Preuten, VE3FEP and Nels Gradeen, VE3GLK got together and personally mailed out invitations to about 50 amateurs in the area to attend a reorganization meeting. Harvey Bell chaired this meeting and arranged for Phil Wesbury of the EMO to be guest speaker. He spoke about the need for trained radio operators in York County, and encouraged those present to reactivate the York North Radio Club. Those present unanimously agreed, and that evening, Frank Preuten, VE3FEP was named president. Meetings were held every second month during the remainder of 1969-70, but nothing was planned to continue meeting in the fall. So, in the late months of 1970, Harvey Bell once again called a meeting of all surrounding amateurs to see if there was enough interest to keep the club going. Again, there was strong support and Frank Rusholme, VE3--- was elected as president, and a schedule of meetings was arranged for the next couple of years. Unfortunately, Harvey Bell did not get to attend any, as he passed away shortly after this meeting. At the very next meeting of the group, in January of 1971, a motion was passed that the club establish the Harvey Bell Memorial Award to be presented annually to a member of the club who had made significant achievements in amateur radio; and in particular had made a significant contribution to the York North Amateur Radio Club. That award still carries on today.

The next club president, beginning in 1972 was John Epworth, VE3EQF, led the club through a period of modest growth. Then in September 1973, Bob Knowles, VE3DLJ (now VA3IL) began his term as president. Since there had not been a club newsletter for some period of time, Doug Holmes, VE3CWO and Lyle Leyland, VE3DCC volunteered to be the editors/publishers. Bob Knowles was re-elected as president in 1974. It was during this year that the Lake Simcoe Repeater (VE3LSR) was established. The first organizational meeting was held at the residence of Joe Yuricek, VE3GAS/VE3WG. Several members of our club, as well as members from Barrie and Orillia were present at that meeting. For a period of time, the fledgling repeater operated out of the shack of VE3CWO, later to be moved to the CKVR television property in Barrie.

In the fall of 1975, Ted Dubois, VE3HOI was elected president. During 1974-75 there was considerable growth in the club and in amateur radio in our area. Many who had played with CB radio had become keenly interested in the technical aspects of radio and joined our club to learn more about radio, to get their licences and enjoy the privileges and advantages of being a ham. Ted continued as president for another term.

In 1977, Bill, VE3GRE became president of the club. That fall the meeting place was changed to Meadowbrook school, where Doug, VE3CWO had been transferred as vice-principal. This was a very suitable location for meeting and teaching new people about ham radio. Past president, Ted Dubois remained hard at work on behalf of the club, making the preparations for having the club incorporated. It was on July 19, 1978 that the York North Amateur Radio Club, Inc. received its charter and letters patent. It was with sadness that the members of the club learned that the first president of the club, Harry Richardson, VE3ACN had become a silent key.

In the fall of 1978, the first board of directors of the new corporation were elected. Geoff Smith, VE3KCE (now VA3GS) was elected as their first chairman of the board.

No comments:

Post a Comment