History of The Pioneer Amateur Radio Fellowship

(This part of the history takes us from 1980 to 1987)

IN THE BEGINNING......our club started out with a letter to management of the Ohio Bell Telephone Company dated November 19, 1980 from Akron area employees interested in starting a ham radio club.

The first meeting to form an employee club was on February 2, 1981. The first official club meeting was on March 3, 1981. At that Ohio Bell Amateur Radio Club (O.B.A.R.C.) meeting the following officers were elected. Club chairman was Bob Scaffidi, Operations Manager was Harold Littell, Treasurer was Bob Lewis, Station Trustees were Steve Dando and Dave Raines, and the Secretary was Rick Kerr. Other hams also attending the first meeting were--Harold Davis, Tom Feather, Dick Kelly and Roger Ricks, future hams attending were--Bud Foster, Bill Stamey, Dave Thompson, Les White and Curt Witte. Official permission from Ohio Bell was given in May, 1981. Club membership would be limited to employees and retirees of Ohio Bell, AT&T and Western Electric.

Our request to Ohio Bell for a tower on the roof of the Bell building was then requested in June of 1981. The tower was installed for our club, and we temporarily used Tom Feather's Yaesu transceiver for our club station. Our roof-top antennas were the tri-bander on the tower and a Hustler Vertical. In November of 1982 we obtained our own transceiver, a Kenwood TS520S and added a Butternut vertical. Tests were made by telephone company engineers to make sure our transmissions would not interfere with any telephone operations. From the tower mounted tribander on top of a 100 foot high building in downtown Akron we could work the world.

Also in November of '82, the officers elected were Bob Scaffidi with a title change from Club Chairman to President, Curt Witte as Operations Manager, Les White as Secretary, Steve Dando as Treasurer, with Rick Weaver taking over one of the Trustee titles when Dave Raines retired.

Our first Club bulletin, Solid State Corner, was started in October of 1982 by Curt Witte, and followed by O.B.A.R.C. News in November, 1982. Curt continued on with the monthly bulletins using either O.B.A.R.C. or Solid State Corner headers. They contained general ham information such as ham fest schedules, propagation, F.C.C. information and many, many construction projects and solid state reference information.

In May 1984, at this time in our Club's history, because of divestiture, we became affiliated with the Telephone Pioneers of America, one of the largest volunteer organizations in the United States. By affiliating, we could expand our volunteer efforts locally. We became the Akron Telephone Pioneers Amateur Radio Club(A.T.P.A.R.C.)

One major project we were most proud of as the Pioneer Club was to help in the National Olympic Torch Run across the United States as it traveled through this part of north-east Ohio.

The XXIII Olympiad Run started on the East Coast in New York City on May 8th. During the 81 days it looped back and forth through many states and covered over 13,000 miles. It ended on July 28th, 1984 in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

We were honored to be chosen to co-ordinate communications between the ham radio operators of the National Torch Run in their chase vehicles, the local Telephone Pioneers along the route who maintained the tight schedule of the "Torch Bearer" runners and any local authorities.

At 7:00A.M. on Saturday May 19th. starting at Berlin Dam we handled the local communications for the Akron and Cleveland portion of the run. The runner's route, of over 100 miles, was into and through Akron, up to Brecksville, to Shaker Heights, the east side of Cleveland, through downtown Cleveland and out to Huntington Park in Lakewood. At 10:17 P.M. our task was completed on this momentous occasion in history. At that time the Olympic torch was given to the "Keeper of the Flame", Harold Littell, WA8MRT, who happened to be one of "OUR" club members. He was entrusted with this honor for the whole journey of the flame, coast to coast.

Our club members participating in the run were-- Steve Dando, K8QXB; Art Ogan,W8PWD(now a silent key); Dave Raines, WD8OKP(old call); Roger Ricks, W8BOA; Bob Scaffidi, WD8KND; Bob Suter, WA8CEW; and Curt Witte, KA8QKY.

In reviewing the archived copies of our monthly club bulletins it shows that 5 club members also handled the local communications for the "Hands Across America" on May 25th., 1986. No names are given.

At about that time in our club history we picked up another club project. We started repairing radios for the handicapped. The radios are special radios that receive only the multiplexed sub-carrier FM signal of station WCRS, Written Communication Radio Service, that was piggy-backed to the Kent State station WKSU. It is now a sub carrier off the Akron U station WZIP. It is a local radio station for the print handicapped, with the broadcasts consisting of readings by local volunteers who read the local papers, popular magazines and other written articles of interest.The readings are taped and then re-broadcast to fill in the station's schedule. WCRS started in the local Muscular Dystrophy office, moved to the basement of the main Akron Public Library building, and is now located in the old skating rink building on East Market Street. Several members repaired the radios when the project first started and we repaired them in our radio room at the Telephone building. In the beginning our members worked hard to repair and/or realign over 100 radios so that the station could distribute them to the needy listeners. From then on repair was a continuing maintenance project. Later, we moved the radio repair work to the Akron Blind Center on East Market where other volunteer Telephone Pioneers who, for over 35 years, continue to repair cassette players and record players for the blind. At that time radio repair work was done by Curt Witte, KA8QKY. At times Dave Raines, KE8HA, helped Curt at the Blind Center or they worked out at the skating rink location of the radio station. Now the work has stopped because of the lack of parts and also people to do the repair work.

Another group of projects our Club was involved in was the ham radio communications for the local Telephone Pioneers and their many handicapped children activities. Over the years we assisted in activities at Joy Park, Camp Y-Noah; and at the annual Pioneer Sports Jamboree for handicapped children who came from all parts of Ohio for the Jamboree activities at the Youngstown Air Force Base. It was a treat for our members to see happiness in the faces of the children as they participated in all the activities for their special needs. Another project was the annual Pontoon Boat ride through the Portage Lakes for handicapped children. We also handled the Akron Zoo parade.

We also helped in communications for parades on Main Street and Children Hospital Runs. Individually, members also helped in other Walks, Runs and Triathalons; and the regional Senior Olympics at Akron U.

Another experience, not to be forgotten by our members, was the time when on June 1st. 1985 they assisted with emergency communications for the Newton Falls tornado disaster. Members who assisted in Newton Falls were Charlie Foster, W8WAV(now a silent key); Rick Kerr, KA8EGS; Roger Ricks, W8BOA; and Curt Witte, KA8QKY.

Another activity we participated in was the yearly A.A.U. Regional Cross Country Run at Goodyear Metropolitan Park that the Cuyahoga Falls Evening Optimist club co-ordinated for this area. We handled the communications for years until the activity was transferred to Cleveland.

Fun activities that the club members participated in was the yearly Telephone Pioneer "CQ-TP" and Western Electric's "CQ-WE" ham national contests to contact other members from the club station or from the member's home station.

Another yearly event for us was the All American Youth Parade that was a part of Soap Box Derby week.

Members, as a club activity or individually, participated in help at Akron Airport Air Show, many parades and triathalons. Runs included the Childrens Hospital's Kids are number One Run.

This concludes the first part of our Club's history, and covers the years from 1980 to 1987. The above information is gleaned from our Club's bulletin archives maintained by Curt Witte, KA8QKY, who is our present Club librarian, also from Bob Scaffidi, WD8KND, our original Club President's records, and my discussions with them. We are three of the original members of our Club.

In the near future, I will finish this history with the appended part two, and bring it up to date. It should not be as lengthy as the above history of our formative years. At that time I may revise the above copy for better chronological order, delete redundant copy and for easier reading.

Dave Raines, KE8HA

 


Last Update-04/04/98

And, as always, comments and criticism are always welcome.

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