Tri-County Radio Club (1950-1977)

W8LKY QSL card
This is the original W8LKY QSL card from back in the day.

Not much is known about the early days of the Tri-County Radio Club. We know that the club was affiliated on May 9th, 1950, with John Hess, W8AT, as President, and Bob Hoiermann, W8FBM, as Secretary.  The club callsign, W8LKY, was issued about the same time.

On July 29, 1950, they held a charter party at the YMCA. The guest speaker was John Brabb, W8SPF, who was the Great Lakes Division Director. He cited Amateur Radio as being an effective curb on juvenile delinquency, saying “any youngster interested in Ham Radio, doesn’t have time to get into trouble“. 

Club meetings were held on the last Thursday of each month. The club met in the basement of Chapman Hall, at Mount Union College, (This was the headquarters for Civil Defense). Dues were 25¢ per month, per member. 

The callsign was not re-issued in 1960. We didn’t see W8LKY in the callbook again until about 1967- 68. By that time, the club listed it’s address as the State Armory grounds, on west Vine St (later changed to 1175 ½ W. Vine St). This was the former headquarters of the Green Valley Radio Club.

Sometime in 1970, the Tri-County Radio Club was re-affiliated with the ARRL. The club continued on, until sometime around 1977-78.

Some recollections from WG8X

My first contact with Amateur Radio, came in the winter of 1975-76, when a friend of mine invited me to go along with him to “code class”. He’d seen an advertisement at the local Radio Shack that classes would be held on Tuesday nights, at the CD shack behind the armory.
As a teenager, walking into the Ham shack,  was like walking into a toy store. It had at least three operating positions (four if you count the CB rig ). Most of the HF equipment was War surplus (Collins) stuff.
Some of the people I remember, are:

Bob Wright Jr., who was K8DEG’s son, and also attending classes. I rode along to several Hamfests with Bob, and his dad. One of the most memorable, was the Hamfest we attended at the Stark County Fairgrounds. As we walked into the flea market, a Ham we’d met seen before, offered us 10% of his take, if we would watch his table for him. He did well, that day, and so did we. Neither of us got our license at that time. Mine came a few years later. I don’t know if Bob Jr. ever got his license. 

John Good, (now KB1MSN), John and I were friends since high school. He’s the one to blame for introducing me to Ham Radio. Every Tuesday night, John’s dad would take us both to code class. 

There were also a couple of other kids about my age. I don’t remember their names, just that they were from Minerva.

Jim, K8LTG, Who , along with Frank, WA8WHP, attempted to fill our heads with knowledge. Jim was responsible for preparing us for our 5 WPM code test.

At that time, you had to pass the five WPM code test, before you could even apply to the FCC for your written exam. The code test consisted of all solid copy; no multiple choice exams there.  

Frank, WA8WHP, who taught the theory for the Novice exam.  

Russ Myers, Who I believe is now KB8ZGC. I remember that he was into RTTY , and that he rode motorcycles

Our thanks go out to everyone who helped in this project. 

Especially, Bob Ballantine, W8SU, 

And Margie Bourgoin, KB1CDO, at the ARRL

Without their help, this history could not have been written.