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)

The HAM radio club's  Annual Meeting & lunch will be held at

11:00 on Saturday, February 24, at the Union St. Tavern, Windsor CT

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

Meeting Highlights, January 27, 2018 

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.


Meeting Highlights, January 27, 2018

  • At 12:06, President Chris Kelling, N1WKO, opened the first club meeting of the New Year. Sixteen members and one guest were present.

  • Treasurer Charles Griffen, W1GYR, informed the group that the bank account stood at $1352.17 and that all bills had been paid.

  • Chris reminded everyone of the upcoming annual meeting on February 24th, following the museum’s annual meeting. He stressed the importance of attending, as there was much to vote on, including replacements for the secretary and the treasurer who will both be retiring at the end of the year. Again, we will meet at 11:00 at the Union Tavern and have lunch afterwards.

  • Dan Thomas, NC1J, Reported that he is short of ham items to sell on eBay. He encouraged the group to re-examine items in the back room for possible online sale. Besides the money, this would free up much-needed storage space.

  • Chris is developing an Extra license class with another instructor and hopes to complete the class before Field Day in June. He encourages club members to upgrade their license class.

  • No action on repairing the beam, mainly because of the weather. Dan Crowley, AB1XL, is arranging to rent a lift from Bruce Marcus.

  • Larry Butler, KB1KIZ, is helping Des, WB1UUM, select a new antenna. Des has decided a vertical antenna would be the most practical for his home as it would require no guy wires; some don’t even need radials.

  • Dan Thomas asked for help completing the ham shack renovation: labeling switches, installing storage bins, etc. Chris reported the new floor paint is lifting already and suggested anti-static mats as the most practical covering.

  • Under New Business, Bernie Michaels, W2LFV, outlined a radical change to the ham radio display area; moving away from hardware and towards an educational/informational display based on the time-line theme used elsewhere in the museum. There was general acceptance of the proposal and with a nod of approval from the president, Bernie will put the plan into motion.

Respectfully submitted,
Bernie Michaels, W2LFV
Club Secretary

Next  Meeting

The club's Annual Meeting and lunch will be held at

11:00, Saturday, February 24, 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.