There was no room for a proper “ham shack”, and a shelf in one of the displays was commandeered to hold the equipment. The building’s plumbing ran the length of the building just above the dipole antenna, creating the worst possible operating conditions: a ground plane above the antenna, restricting its radiation pattern. In spite of this, contacts were made and QSL cards with the museum’s callsign and location mailed out to contacted stations. At the club’s formal meeting later that year, the precedence was established that the club would give an annual donation to the museum as “rent” for the shack space
Now thoughts turned to the antenna; the heart of any radio station. The club applied for and won a grant from the ARRL which provided money for a concrete base to fit a donated Rohn tower. And since the base was poured by museum volunteers, there was money left over to purchase a new Mosley TA-33 beam, which would be turned by any one of a number of donated Ham-M rotators. The total antenna height was limited to 30 feet because of the proximity of the tower to the edge of the museum’s property.
To attract and keep new members, President Horn suggested the club hold monthly breakfast meetings. The idea was quite popular and for years the club met the second Saturday of each month at the Windsor 75 Diner, sometimes inviting guest speakers to address the group. (The restaurant closed its doors in late summer, 2015 and the club switched to luncheon meetings at a nearby restaurant.)
HAM CLUB - Meeting Minutes - News and Events
History of the Museum’s Amateur (Ham) Radio Club
The museum had been open on a limited basis at the Mechanic St. location for a couple of years when, in 2002, amateur radio operator and museum volunteer Gordon Horn, W2WTV, realized that several of the other volunteers were also licensed ham operators and approached them about starting a club and setting up a ham station within the museum. There was enthusiasm for the idea, and a club was formed. Gordon served as the first president, Ray Murphy, N1DUQ, was the treasurer and Bernie Michaels, W2LFV, its secretary. Bernie offered to obtain a license for the club from the FCC, hopefully with meaningful call letters somehow relating to the museum. The closest he could get was W1VCM, standing for Vintage Communications Museum. In 2003, W1VCM went on the air from the museum using Horn’s own transceiver feeding power to a dipole antenna strung in the attic, just under the roof ridge.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Ham Radio Operator?
We offer classes, advice and assistance for anyone interested in learning about or becoming a ham radio operator. Information regarding classes -on ourEducation page (scroll down to locate)
Although it sees itself as supporting the historical flavor of the museum, the station has kept abreast of technological changes. In 2014 facilities were included for packet operation, and in 2015 the station began using an online logging service. Currently, plans have been drafted for a repair/research room for hams inclined towards experimentation.
Gordon Horn felt strongly that the club should look outward, towards the community, rather than remain merely a social gathering. Classes were established to help people get their ham radio license, and some of its members became active in RACES (Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service). In addition the club began to take part in the annual national contest event known as Field Day, the focus being on giving museum visitors a look at ham radio in action rather than racking up high contact numbers. In 2013, the club became an affiliate club of the ARRL, increasing awareness of the organization to hams throughout the world.
The Amateur Radio Club of the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of CT
Minutes of the Annual Meeting, February 25, 2017
From its inception, the club was flooded with donated transceivers, power supplies, antenna tuners and all manner of accessories. In 2011, club member Charles “Skip” Colton, W1FTE, started a program to loan equipment to newly licensed hams that lacked the equipment to set up a station of their own. The club also began selling surplus equipment on eBay, the bulk of the money being given to the museum.
Meet club members on the air!
Members (and non-members too) are invited to a meet on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. EST at 21.350 MHZ and Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EST at 28.350 MHZ (give or take, depending if the frequency is clear).
This not a “net” but merely a convenient place for friends to meet on the air.
President Chris Kelling, N1WKO, opened the meeting at 11:15. Sixteen members plus one guest were present. (A quorum had been met)
Members introduced themselves by call sign. Chris then introduced our guest speaker, Charles “Chuck” Motes, K1DFS, who is the new ARRL Section Manager for Connecticut, replacing Betsy Doan who has retired.
The group voted to accept last year’s meeting minutes without changes. (A copy of the minutes had been distributed via email earlier.)
Treasurer Charles Griffen, W1GYR, read a well prepared report of the club’s financial activities during the year. A motion was made and seconded to accept the report. Charles also reminded everyone that dues were $25 and due at this time.
The club voted to make the traditional annual $300 donation to the museum.
Chris reminded the group that the club still needs a Social/Program coordinator. No one volunteered; Chris will continue to try and fill this position throughout the year.
The group discussed ways in which the amateur display might be better organized, which could help bring former visitors back to the museum. Bill Thompson, K1NNB, offered to continue with this activity, but asked for assistance. A volunteer came forward (not identified) and he, Bill and Chris will meet to discuss the issue.
Chris briefly reviewed the club’s activities during the past year. He described his efforts to foster inter-relations among local ham clubs, and cited the labor-day picnic as an example. He also mentioned the need to get the Mosley beam antenna repaired again, the club’s participation in Field Day, his license classes, new equipment donated for the ham shack, including a complete novice station, the need to repair some of the rigs, the status of digital programs and the club’s activities selling surplus items on ebay.
Skip Colton, W1FTE, reminded members to contact him if they need help in getting their wire antennas up. (Skip is the club’s “Robin Hood”, thanks to his expertise with a bow and arrow.)
Under New Business, Bernie Michaels, W2LFV, described the contents of his ham shack that he’s donating to the club, as he and his wife are moving to an apartment. Bernie offers the TenTec Corsair II and accompanying equipment with no restrictions, but hopes it can be used as a loaner to new hams or anyone needing gear to get on the air.
Skip Colton described a Heathkit linear amplifier in pristine condition that’s been donated to the museum. Once checked out, he feels it would be a good candidate for sale. Chuck Motes offered his experience with the model, describing a slow-start modification that is recommended to extend tube life.
Dan Thomas, NC1J, asked for help picking up a Gates commercial transmitter in Maryland that will be owned by the museum but on long-term loan to the ARRL, who will modify it for ham use.
Ben Fay, W1KAY, brought up the damage caused by replacing batteries in the club’s new Comet analyzer. The group discussed ways to avoid the problem in the future.
Someone suggested inviting the new ARRL CEO to the museum for a tour; the group agreed and Chris will extend a formal invitation.
Chris closed the meeting at 12:45 and turned the gathering over to guest speaker Chuck Motes whose topic was “Some latest news and interesting things.” Chuck gave a brief overview of his interest in radio and his involvement in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He described the efforts of the Coast Guard to improve safety on the water for recreational boaters. He went on to discuss MARS, the need for properly tuned signals on digital modes, and possible changes from the FCC and the ARRL to the Field Service and related emergency services.
Chris thanked Chuck for his presentation, and presented him with a W1VCM tee shirt and an invitation to tour the museum and see the club’s station.
Bernie Michaels, W2LFV
March 2017 Meeting Highlights
• 13 members and one guest were present when President Chris Kelling, N1WKO, banged the gavel at 12:36 to begin the meeting.
• Des Ould, KB1UUM, is still recovering from his recent hospitalization. Des is home and would welcome visitors. Larry Butler, KB1KIZ, asked for help getting Des’ antenna to tune. Bill Storey, AB1LZ, offered to assist.
• Treasurer Charles Griffen, W1GYR, reported that, will all outstanding bills paid, the treasury stood at $1,145.05, with $606.15 earmarked for the repair/research bench.
• Bernie Michaels, W2LFV, read an email from FD coordinator Mary Beaulieu, KB1WFI, stating that planning for this year’s Field Day activity will begin once we know if Dick Stebbins, K1ITV, will be bringing his motorhome up from Florida. Meanwhile, Mary will be asked to find out any requirements for erecting a display sign on the town green to promote FD at the museum. An effort will be made also to post the event on the community calendar and other local information spots.
• Chris informed the group that he’s taken a subscription on behalf of the club for CQ magazine. CQ offers a different style of ham publication and members are welcome to borrow copies as long as they are returned.
• Under Old Business, Skip Colton, W1FTE, reported the TA-33 is still undergoing repair; there was general agreement the shack needed straightening up – Chris offered to tackle the task; Chris would also like to promote the novice station as a display attraction; Bernie will ask Bob Allison, WB1GCM, to write up a brief description to be placed on the reconstructed Navy rack-mounted transceiver; the sign for the shack needs to be remounted (or replaced with a different one); unused coax should be removed from the shack.
• Under New Business, the group discussed if they wanted to become involved with emergency services. Bill Storey offered to act as coordinator; Effort will be made to reach out to local schools and scout troops using print and telephone: Skip Colton offered to spearhead the effort and Bernie will contact Douglas Sharafanowich, WA1SFH, ARRL Youth Coordinator, and ask him to address the club; Bill Thompson, K1NNB, has a source for surplus coax cable – Dan Thomas, NC1J, will work with Bill (replace exterior coax?)
• The meeting ended at 1:26
Bernie Michaels, W2LFV
The next club meeting will be at noon, Saturday, April 13, 2017 at the Union St. Tavern, Windsor, CT.
When the museum decided to move to its current location in 2005, Gordon spoke out for a proper ham shack and a room roughly 8 x 10 was added to the build-out plans. The layout provided space for single sideband (SSB), a typical AM station of the 50s, plus UHF. The room was located near an outer wall to make the run to outside antennas as short as possible. Museum volunteers pitched in to help build the room, using partitions for the walls with windows, so that museum visitors could peek inside to see what a ham shack looked like.
As the room construction neared completion, thoughts turned to operating equipment. There were plenty of choices among the donated equipment and the first rig tried was a Swan 350 with matching speaker cabinet and power supply. The transceiver fired up fine during testing, but fizzled out shortly and a Kenwood TS 520 was pressed into service as the station’s first on-air transceiver.
The next club meeting will be at noon, Saturday, April 13, 2017
at the Union St. Tavern, Windsor, CT.