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UARC After 75 Years

                    MMMMMMMMMM by Alan Seyboldt, N7OI
November 16, 2002

Seventy-five years ago, a group of Hams experimenting with communication over the airwaves, gathered themselves together and started what we now call the Utah Amateur Radio Club. Late in the evening of March 24th, 1927, Paul Segal, Division Manager from the ARRL, and Art Johnson, a local ham, expressed the desire to form a club. The measure was brought to a motion by Art and was seconded by Don C McRae. August Vogeler nominated Don C. McRae for Temporary President and Fred Neal nominated D. H. Jones for Temporary Secretary. Dick Evans also nominated Gus (no last name given) for Secretary. Voting was done by closing eyes and raising hands. The vote was 6-3 for D. H. Jones.

April 29th, 1927 the first official meeting was held at the home of Dick Evans, 6AYJ ( Note the call sign. We were in the sixth call area.), with nine members present. Elections were held for permanent officers, Don Mc Rae becoming President; Dave Jones, Vice President; and August Vogeler, Secretary.

The next two Friday evenings were spent hammering out the bylaws that were submitted to the ARRL for our application as a Club. The Utah Amateur Radio Club became an ARRL-sanctioned club on July 26, 1927.

Most of what they gathered for was to learn and exchange new ideas on how to build projects. CW was the mode of operation; we did not have FM, Sideband or any of the other modes that we now enjoy. People still farmed with horses in many places. Telephone went through operators, and the thought of talking with someone across the Ocean was mysterious and exciting. (Gosh it still is!)

Radio was in its infancy; you definitely did not go down the local Ham Store to buy your equipment. Many tubes were expensive; sometimes you could get surplus parts for your project. Hams made their own crystals, designed their own equipment, shared ideas, and experimented.

Although meetings went through many different forms, hams usually met each month. Most of the meetings over the years were in homes of the various hams, ending with refreshments. Many of the meetings were field trips in nature, visiting radio stations or hams' home stations.

1930's saw an increase in membership to 19 members. Topics ranged from building amplifiers and grinding crystals to superheterodyne receivers and, yes, the usual refreshments. Dues were $1.00 per year. Members were assigned papers to talk on and come prepared to discuss at some future time.

1940's saw an increase in membership to 32 members. Dues were $2.50 per year and stamps cost 1.5 cents. Code nets, Two-meter simplex, and slide shows of a rocket test shown by Professor Haycock kept UARC busy. Many of the meetings were still held in homes and, as usual, refreshments were served.

1950's saw an increase to 40 members. In 1952, Field Day was held at Saltair. Code and Theory classes were held. Talks were given on mobile power supplies, on-air courtesy, net operation, and Xmtr Hunts. On the air meetings of the UARC Round Table started, phone at 3.825 with Dee Christensen, W7YPC, and CW on 3.735 with John Dinkleman (now KC7AW). Club meeting moved to larger sites, and yes, refreshments.

1960's showed an increase in membership to 76 members. The club voted to hold meetings on the first Thursday of each month. Topics such as TVI, Defense preparedness tests, code and theory classes, ham license plates, interest in a club call, W7LRA, and club repeater were discussed. WIMU (Wyoming-Idaho-Montana-Utah) Hamfest was held up at Mack's Inn and Island Park area.

In the early 60's we were introduced to the first Repeater systems, yes I said systems. Lake Mountain sported an AM Repeater and an FM Repeater and Ensign Peak had an FM Repeater. You would not think there would have been a problem with competition over a frequency but operators in those days used old taxicab radios that typically had only two channels, and the pairs that were heavily used in many parts of the country were highly sought-after, so, yes, there was competition. Where was our frequency coordinator in those days?

If you were alive in the 60's you may remember Manwill Supply for your radio needs. Collins and Drake equipment would cost as much as some autos in those days. After Manwill brothers retired Dee Justesen, K7DEQ, ran a store in Salt Lake; Jim Platt, WA6GMB, operated one from Riverton.

Hams had many choices of kits to choose from including Globe, Knight, Viking, Heath, many of which still warm a place in many shacks around Utah. From scratch homebrew could be found in the form of linear amplifiers, power supplies for surplus gear, electronic keyers, two-meter converters, and electronic T/R Switches.

1970's showed an increase in membership to around 120 +. Club dues were $5.00. Projects included introduction of the Women's Auxiliary, publication of a Utah Amateur Radio Call book, and formation of a TVI Committee. Raffle tickets were sold at meetings along with club decals using the emblem designed by Don Greene for .50 cents. Suggested programs for club nights included DX talk, Telephone Company Program, FAA Trip, and a Litton Industries trip.

The 1980's - 1990's many of us remember. There were many changes including privileges, modes, technology, equipment and yes membership. Membership increased during these years. A change in license requirements infused a jump in membership. A first Club station was established at the Red Cross Building and was used for emergency communications after the Salt Lake City Tornado. Mobile radios were almost commonplace. Other things going on included merging of radio to computers, building an amateur television (ATV) repeater, and statewide linking of repeaters. We saw the move away from tube equipment to solid state equipment, TNC's, Packet, Computer Chips, and Programs to run communications modes via sound cards. I am sure there was much more, what a great time to be in the hobby and enjoy what we have. And most important: the “meeting after the meeting.” Hams do love food!

Meeting sites over the years have been held at Utah Power and Light, Murray High, Harmony Park, The Armory, County Fairgrounds, Doxey Hatch, and now University of Utah.

Field Day sites many may remember are, the old Saltair grounds, Wolf Creek Pass Summit, Cardiff Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon, East Canyon, Cascade Springs, Daniels Canyon, Monte Cristo, and Payson Lakes.

If you ever wondered where our tradition of Steak Fry came from, you should thank Mac Petersen, W7WKF, who when presented with excess funds in the Club decided that the members should get some back. He mentioned that he was meeting up Millcreek Canyon for a steak-fry and the rest was history.

The Microvolt? Well The Microvolt has taken many forms and it has not always been called The Microvolt. If you can believe it, at least one copy survives of a newsletter called the Utah Ham Bug. (“Quick Henry get the Flit.”) It has a hand-colored cover and the best guess is that it dates from the 1940's. The first Microvolt and the incorporation of the club happened in the same year, 1957.

The first official Club Call was W7LRA and was later changed to W7SP after Zim's old call. Zim was a fine Gentleman who was an avid builder of his own equipment even down to the crystals, which he cut himself and fashioned into his projects. Leonard (“Zim”) Zimmerman whose call we use, would be proud of what the Club has become. I feel Zim exemplified the spirit of ham radio. Zim built his own equipment, experimented, mentored and enjoyed this hobby, and... oh, he also had a great contest call sign!

Thanks to Gordon and others who helped me with the history in places that I was not sure. I have not tried to cover it all but just give you a taste of the history. Much of this came from notes that thoughtful people kept over the years at meetings.

Although many things have changed, much has not. The magic is still there when you put your hands on that key and send out your first CQ waiting for someone to return or pick up the mic and chat with your friends. Hams still are pioneers and give service in many ways. What will be the next 75 years? What will be our contribution to this Hobby? Will it be one of service, development, and traditions?

The future will be fun, and ours is to excite a new generation to the mystery of communication, fellowship and tradition.

73 Alan Seyboldt N7OI