YELLOWSTONE RADIO CLUB
Have you wondered what you would do if you were sitting around a table, enjoying a cup of coffee with ham friends? Well let’s take a little trip, back in the Way Back machine.
1955, a very good year, Eisenhower was President, economy was enjoying a rise. The war had been over for about 10 years, the Korean conflict had been sort of resolved and Ham Radio was enjoying a resurgence of interest. With the wars over, there would be lots of surplus equipment and Hams took advantage of that win fall.
Let’s dance ahead to Billings, Montana, a small city that is growing both in importance and in size. Ham radio was enjoyed here with radios that took up the entire front seat with dynamotors in the trunk to run them. 2 meters was just gaining a foothold here with operators using AM with SSB to become the major player. But in that moment of time, the Yellowstone Radio Club was born.
A group of guys having coffee or even maybe a soda at a place called Carl's Pharmacy were sitting around discussing what most hams discuss when the subject of a club came up. Carl's Pharmacy is no long there, but the building is, just north of the Washington School. Most of these original hams have gone silent key or not active any longer, and if you know any of them or have contact with them, thank them for their insight in forming the club.
Here are the originating “FATHERS” of the Yellowstone Radio Club
w7cpy, Rex Roberts;, w7yzq, Ted Hildebrand; w7jhr, Johnny Tharp; w7yhs, Dr Marvin Hash; w7pxr, Vic Smith; w7svb, Jim McIntire; w7kgf, Pete Guth; w7lbk, Earl Hawley; w7mqi, Carl Lanzendorfer; w7udv Phil Blewett; w7vdz, James Howard; w7yhc, Ray Hunnicutt; w7zco Richard Davies.
Carl Lanzendorfer owned the Drug store at the time, this then was the birthplace of the Yellowstone Radio Club. The first president was Dr. Marvin Hash, w7yhs with Ted Hildebrand, w7yzq as the first vice president. 1955-1956. Vic Smith w7pxr was the secretary-treasurer; there were 46 charter members at that time. Picnics and outings were on the agenda at times and fun was had by all who attended them.
The club was incorporated in June 26, 1956, with the term to be perpetuated. The incorporation papers were at the direction of the Yellowstone Radio Club directors and have been in continuous operation since. Activity was on the H.F. Bands on both AM and SSB as it started to come in. 6 meters was promoted by w7jrg, Ken Erickson, as the TV scene was just forming and not widespread. Most activity, messaging handling, was accomplished on 3910 kilocycles. (Back in 1955 it was), the same as the Montana Traffic net is on today.
The 2 meter frequency used around town was 146.94. The first repeater used in Billings was the 34/94 made from a GE Pre Progress Line located in the Sheriff's building on Sacrifice Cliff. As better and more sensitive equipment became available it was found that our frequencies overlapped on in Thermopolis, Wy. After much “discussion'” the frequency was moved to the present 147.36/147.96. The .34/94 repeater was originally the 34/76, but was changed to the 600hz split to conform with national band plans.
The repeater on the mountain site is a wide area repeater maintained by the YRC repeater committee. It enjoys one of the widest coverage in the state. The YARES part of the YRC and members still do public service, still do field day, still have classes for newcomers and still have ham testing every other month. Though the price for membership has gone up over the years, it is still very reasonable considering the amount of benefits we receive.
We welcome you to Billings, and to the k7efa.net website.
It’s been a great walk for the club, a great time for the members.