Friday, 11 September 2015

The 1958 ARRL Convention (Ontario Chapter)

First announced in the April 1958 edition of QST magazine, this convention was held on October 18th in Hamilton, Ontario, at the Connaught Hotel (now a condominium development, pictured below) at 112 King St. East. Admission was $5 including the banquet, which featured a guest speaker. Contact for the event was Bob Parry, VE3DJE (no longer listed as the owner of that call). Bob is listed in the convention register along with his wife Vivian. It's unfortunate that QST didn't report on the actual conventions, so there aren't any pictures or write-ups on the happenings there.

In the same year the ARRL National Convention was in Washington, DC. It looked like an interesting program with tours of the White House, The Naval Research Laboratory, the Pentagon and a Nike Installation, the Voice of America, the Capitol, the Smithsonian, and the Arlington Cemetery. The amateur radio program included sessions on VHF, Mobile, TVI, RACES, Antennas, Contests, Code, RTTY, DX. A Wouff Hong Ceremony was held as well. The registration fee was $5, although the banquets, including the Hiram Percy Maxim memorial banquet ($6.50) were extra.

A night in the Sheraton Park Hotel was $7.50 to $14. The "parlor suites" were $17.50 to $22.00. That same year, the Sheraton Park Hotel also hosted the 3rd Annual AFA Jet Age Conference, the 2nd National Conference on Aviation Education, and the American Helicopter Society 14th Annual Annual National Forum. The Cold War was at its peak. Less than two years later, John F. Kennedy said "The enemy is lean and hungry and the United States is the only strong sentinel at the gate" at that same hotel.

The convention was organized by a consortium of 15 radio clubs in the Washington area. That's an impressive degree of cooperation!

Our club's own meeting register, dating from 1963 to 1969 matches the convention register in only one respect - that Harvey Bell VE3AFK, a prominent figure in club history, is listed in both. Neither Frank Preuten VE3FEP nor Jim Spence VE3BBX (SK), who attended the 1957 Convention in Toronto and also appear in the club register, weren't there in 1958. Fred Hammond, VE3HC was there in 1958 but not in '57.

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