History of the Delta Amateur Radio Club
The first meeting of the Delta Amateur Radio Club was on a Monday night in 1961. The meeting, which was held at the Whitehaven YMCA,
was attended by 24 hams. David Goggio, W4OGG (SK), who served as president in 1967, presided over the opening discussion. A steering
committee was appointed to gather facts about organizing the club, and Delta Amateur Radio Club was well on its way.
Forty people attended the February 16, 1961, meeting at which a planning committee was selected to draw up the constitution and by-laws. It is interesting to note here that Nobel Guthrie, W4BS (SK), served on the first board of directors for the Club.
The Delta Amateur Radio Club has always been active in community and radio related activities. Newspaper clippings form the "early days" show that the Club has been involved in Field Day and hamfests from the beginning of the Club's organization.
Records show that in 1969 the club celebrated its 100th member joining the Club. Membership appears to have been lower in the early to late 1970s than it has been in recent years. In 1984, the membership rose to 189, and interest has been high ever since. The roster as of April 15, 1992, was just over 400 and as of October 4, 1992, was at 486 members.
The club has had different meeting places over the years, but it has always met on a Tuesday night. The first meetings were held at the Whitehaven YMCA until about 1962 when the Club met at Bowlhaven Bowling Lanes in Whitehaven. Delta Club had its beginnings in Whitehaven and in some cases was even referred to as the Whitehaven Radio Club. Much of the early activity such as club meetings and demonstrations of ham radio were in Whitehaven and the surrounding area since the by-laws specified that the club meet in Whitehaven. Around 1968 through 1969, the meetings were held in the basement of the old airport terminal building. From 1975 through 1980, Delta Club meetings were held at the Whitehaven Public Library. Later on, after a by-laws change, the meetings were held at the Red Cross Building, and in mid 1996 moved to its current location at Ellendale Church of Christ.
Many people have, no doubt, obtained their radio licenses to become active on the 2 meter band. The story of the Club's 2 meter repeater is very interesting, and demonstrates the success of a group of hams dedicated to the advancement of ham radio. One of the first repeater locations was on top of the Sterick building in downtown Memphis. The machine remained in that location during the mid to late 1970s and was removed when the old building became a historic landmark. The club went for several years without a suitable location for the repeater.
On Tuesday, September 11, 1984, at the club's general meeting, Steve Terry, WB4IZC and Andy Anderson, K4ZLC turned on the "new" W4BS repeater which was located in Midtown. It was at this time that the Tri-State Weather Net was called every night on the W4BS repeater. It was on July 10, 1986 that a contract was drawn up between WPTY-TV and Delta Amateur Radio Club for the use of their transmitting tower to hold our VHF and UHF antennas. The WPTY tower was located on Highway 64 at Kate Bond Road. When WPTY moved their tower to Brunswick, TN, the W4BS 146.82 repeater was moved also. Positioned again at about 500 feet up on the new WPTY tower, it is one of the highest repeater antennas around, and has a range of approximately 60 miles in all directions of Memphis. DARC also added a 440 MHz stand-alone repeater, a 220 MHz repeater and another 2 meter (147.36) machine.
Many people may wonder where the W4BS call came from. The W4BS call belonged to an outstanding physician and citizen, Nobel Guthrie. Nobel was a charter member of the Delta Amateur Radio Club and a well known citizen in the Memphis and Whitehaven communities. Nobel became a silent key on November 2, 1966. It was decided by the club to use his call sign as a memorial to Nobel Guthrie. On November 21, 1966, Delta Amateur Radio Club officially received the W4BS call.