The early days
The Alliance Amateur Radio Club has had an interesting history. We began meeting around 1980, at the old Bonanza steakhouse at 2075 W. State St., in Alliance.
Sometime in 1980, or 81, we moved to the Don Panchos restaurant, in downtown alliance. Don Panchos was located at Main & Union Ave, in a building which had over the years housed a skating rink, car dealership, and waffle house, among other things.
Meetings at that time were held on Sunday afternoons, and were the source of many lively discussions of topics both related, and unrelated to Amateur Radio.
There was no newsletter at that time; you simply knew to show up at 2 PM on the first Sunday of the month. In those days, we kept in touch via the W8AWR repeater in Berlin center (145.45-). The activities we enjoyed then weren’t much different than now. we went out to eat; performed public service, and generally enjoyed the fellowship of our fellow Hams.
Our Field Days in the early 1980s were held at the South pavilion in Butler-Rodman Park. I remember that parents began complaining about all our guy ropes tied to the playground equipment.
In 1982, we talked the fellows from the Dayton ARA into bringing their motor home up for our Special Event station which was held not at the Jaycee pavillion in Silver Park, but right smack in the middle of Carnation Days in the Park. What a great time that was, operating from the DARA van. The antenna for the operation was strung across the valley with the help of a bow & arrow. It’s a wonder no one got skewered.
The club is “Reformed”
Around the mid 1980’s, club activity had decreased to the point where some stuck a fork in, and declared us finished. Whether the club existed, or not during that time is still the topic of debate 25 years later.
In 1986, a small, but enthusiastic group began meeting in the garage at Bill, WD8JRR’s house. From those meetings, the club was rejuvenated, became the group that exists to this day.
Though several single page newsletters had already been produced during 1986, by Patti & Larry hillier, N8FVU, & N8EWV, the official launch of our newsletter, the Zero Beat was in February, 1987, with Pam, KB8AKQ as editor, and yours truly as her “I.T. guy”.
Around the same time, the 145.37 repeater came online. It was owned by Larry, N8EWV, and located on the roof of Alliance Community Hospital, where is stood, until recently.
Around that time, two new phenomenon emerged; HT raffles, and Mall shows.
HT Raffles began as a means of raising funds so the club members could purchase the 145.37 repeater from Larry, N8EWV. We gave away a few HTs, some VCRs, and I think even a TV set. The enthusiasm was high, but we never were able to purchase the repeater.
Mall Shows began in the 1980s. We would take over the center court, and the gazebo at the Carnation mall for a weekend, and demonstrate Ham Radio to the public. We had a lot of fun setting up the show.
It would start the weekend before, when A group of Hams would converge on the mall, and hoist more than 1000′ of coax to the roof, along with all manner of Verticals, dipoles, and beams. We found that the AC units on the roof made excellent bases for our HF verticals, and VHF mag mount antennas. There were a couple AC units that had mounting brackets attached for our use.
Once the antennas were mounted, we had to run the coax into the mall, and down into the center court over the gazebo (Yes, there was a gazebo). This was done by opening the air vent on the roof, and coercing a volunteer (usually Me) to climb inside, and snake the cables through the vent, , and down into the mall, hopefully without destroying the metal gridwork that was hung from the ceiling.
I doubt whether we could get away with some of that stuff today, but what fun we had. I have several photos of mall shows, and will be posting them at some point.
The Mall Shows continued for several years; the; the last one being held around 2001.
Field Day – We’ve operated Field Day just about every year that I can remember. We’ve had a few different sites. As I said earlier, in the early 1980s, Field Day was held at the Butler-Rodman Park pavilion. It was always fun hearing KD8P griping about the key clicks from WA8WHP’s Argonaut.
In the mid 80’s, we moved to Hilliers Hill, on Rt 62 near the Tri-City Airport. What a great site that was! From the end of the runway, you can see almost to Youngstown! Our first year there, we had a pig roast, and even received a proclamation from the Mayor of Beloit.
In 1990, we moved to Marlington Middle School; a site we occupied for 19 of the next 20 years.
There’s lots of stories to tell, but oh, so little time. I’ll post more later.
73, john, KD8MQ
(editors note: This page will be a work in progress. Watch for updates, and pictures coming soon.)