By Dana S. Henrique, WA1KYU
In the Summer of 1975, the time seemed right for Provincetown to have its own local amateur radio club. So, a small group of us (myself, my dad – Frank S. Henrique, WA1LGW; Earle H. Chaddock, WA1KZT; Walter R. “Doc” Harding, K1TCO and a few others) began meeting in the town hall basement to discuss this idea. We decided on the name Pilgrim Amateur Radio Club and began creating a structure in preparation for our first general meeting. As I recall, we progressed from the planning stages to the first open meeting in a relatively short time.
There are, unfortunately, no records available detailing the first months of activity in late 1975. Our original secretary/treasurer may have had them but he passed away some time ago. The earliest surviving documentation of club activity is dated January 15, 1976 – a newspaper ad (see below) for radio classes I was teaching at the time. Luckily, I found it recently while looking through some old ham materials I’d kept over the years. At any rate, this shows that our club has a wonderful history of sponsoring radio classes. We’ve been involved in teaching potential future hams since our beginning.
According to ARRL records, we were accepted as an ARRL Affiliated Club on July 10, 1976. Our club by-laws note that they were approved by the ARRL on August 16, 1976. I believe this later date reflects the actual day the approved paperwork was received by mail in Provincetown.
Originally, club dues were $5 per year and later raised to $10 per year on October 9, 1979. Since then, there have been a couple more increases over the years.
At this point, in order to see what set the stage for the Pilgrim Amateur Radio Club to develop, we’re going to turn the clock way back to the 1960’s, when there was an active Provincetown Civil Defense organization. At that time, Walter “Doc” Harding, K1TCO was the radio officer. He would check-in to the weekly, Monday night Cape & Islands C.D. net on 145.260 MHz from the radio room in Provincetown’s Town Hall basement. Using either a Gonset Communicator (5 watts) or Clegg 22’er (20 watts input), it was very difficult to communicate between the towns via low power 2-meter AM simplex. Nevertheless, each week, Doc would faithfully show up and do his best to pull weak signals out of the noise and to be heard. Below is a photo of the radio room as it appeared through 1973. Note the Gonset Communicator, Heathkit DX-60 with HG-10 VFO, Clegg 22’er and Hallicrafters receiver.
In the 60’s, Doc began teaching ham radio classes on Monday nights after the CD net. We studied from the Ameco book pictured at left.
In 1968, three students came along who passed their Novice exams and years later (after some license upgrades) went on to found the Pilgrim Amateur Radio Club… myself, my dad Frank WA1LGW, and Earle WA1KZT.
Founding PARC Officers:
President: Dana S. Henrique WA1KYU
Vice President: James L. Richard K1UQI
Sec / Treas: Jonathan D. Grout WA1ZEL (SK)
Activities Mgr: Earle H. Chaddock WA1KZT (SK)
In 1974, Doc retired as CD Radio Officer and passed the torch to me. I kept up the net schedule and began teaching amateur radio classes. For the first year or so, I used the same Ameco book that Doc had used – pictured above.
In 1974-75, we renovated and updated the radio room. The photo here was taken after completion and shows what the space looked like when classes and PARC meetings were held there circa 1975. We (myself, Frank, & Earle) donated the carpentry labor. The equipment in this photo: (Top) Ameco 2-Meter converter, Johnson Messenger CB, Sonar FM-3601 2-Meter FM rig, Regency scanner, rotator control box, and miscellaneous items. (Bottom) Ameco TX-62 6 & 2 Meter AM transmitter with VFO, Hallicrafters SX-122A communications receiver, Drake MS-4 speaker, Drake MN-2000 matchbox, Drake TR-4 HF transceiver and Heath Cantenna dummy load. The microphones are Electro-Voice 619TR.
This January 15, 1976 newspaper ad is the earliest surviving documentation of club activity. In 1976, the ARRL published “Tune In The World With Amateur Radio” and I switched to that text for the Novice classes.
Having completed a major renovation of the radio room and with radio classes continuing, the next big project was establishing a Provincetown 2-Meter FM repeater. The repeater project began prior to January 1976 and took over a year to complete. Once on the air, it became the centerpiece of Pilgrim Amateur Radio Club activities. Although the call sign has changed over the years, the club continues to maintain the repeater and the original one is still functional. Read about the history of WR1AIN on the repeater page.
At the end of 1976, I passed the CD Radio Officer’s torch to Earle but remained a member of the CD Communications Team, president of the radio club, and radio class instructor until moving to Harwich in 1986.
Are there any PARC members who know important facts and dates in our club history from 1986 on? If so, and you’d like to write about them, please contact me and I’ll publish it on our web site.
A personal note…
I believe it’s important to value and recognize people who have made significant contributions to, and had a positive influence on, our life – especially through investing their time in us. With that in mind, I’d like to acknowledge the following people who, from very early on, played important roles in both the club’s life and in mine as well…
Frank S. Henrique WA1LGW – founding member. A great man and wonderful father who introduced me to radio – electronics. We studied for, and earned, our ham tickets together from Novice on up. You helped with many radio club, and countless other, projects. In life, you gave unselfishly and without hesitation. I’m profoundly grateful for the time we had together… you are always in my heart.
Walter “Doc” Harding K1TCO – founding member. Who could have known you would set the stage for the Pilgrim Amateur Radio Club to be founded one day? Your Novice classes in the CD radio room brought the right people together at the right time and the rest is history. We all had fun radio adventures together – especially in pursuit of getting our first stations on the air and you were right there in the middle of it all, helping out. We’ll always remember you, Doc.
Earle H. Chaddock WA1KZT – life member and founding activities manager, for many years of service as secretary/treasurer, repeater trustee, and repeater technical committee member. You were a constant in the club from the beginning and a long time friend. I have some great memories that go way back to when, together, we used to build electronics projects from magazine articles… especially the nixie tube frequency counter and 6-meter walkie-talkies. You are greatly missed.
Carl Black W1PY – life member, for many years of excellent service on the repeater technical committee plus numerous contributions to the club. And for the times you invited this teenager into your home for radio theory lessons. Listening to you explain electronics and watching you work with circuits was most impressive. I came away from that experience with an intense and lasting desire to understand electronics the way you did… on a professional level… thank you! I was fortunate to have your friendship and will always remember you.