CVRC History

Reprinted from the CVRC Newsletter (July 1993)
Editor: Lindsay Collins (K1JY, ex-NR1N) – Edited July 29, 2019

The Contoocook Valley Radio Club was originally organized on April 5, 1959 at a meeting called by Ken Dermon, K1BGI SK. Fourteen Henniker area amateurs were in attendance including George Beardsley K1JYI SK, Ken Wilkins K1MID, Lloyd Tewsbury W1KJS SK, Robert Wood W1MAS SK, Wilfred French K1DFQ SK, Louise French K1LAS, Ken Dermon K1BGI SK, Sid Blanchard K1CKL SK, younger brother Jerry Blanchard K1BBQ SK, Dean Morrison W1HTI SK and Vic Krzyzaniak K1OXO SK. The drive and determination to make a success of the club was evident at the first meeting. Officers were elected with Robert W1MAS President, Ken K1BGI Trustee, Louise K1LAS Secretary and Janet Willard Treasurer. A legal committee was formed to arrange incorporation and a Field Day Committee was appointed.  A 99 year lease was obtained on a site for a clubhouse.

At the second meeting a week later, the name Contoocook Valley Radio Club was adopted. Amateur was not used in the club name, as there was no Citizen’s radio service to be confused with. Incorporation papers were officially accepted at a meeting on April 30. The group agreed to request the call sign K1BKE in memory of friend Robert Willard. At the June 25th meeting, Ken K1BGI announced the bad news that K1BKE could not be assigned to the club as Willard had never been a club member. Disappointed at this news, the club dispatched a letter to Senator Styles Bridges, at the time a ranking member of the U.S. Senate, to enlist his aid to see if the club could be assigned Willard’s call, or to make an exception to the membership requirement. In August 1959, the membership received the good news that the F.C.C had assigned the call letters K1BKE to the CVRC.

For 14 years the Club participated in many amateur radio activities. Activities included home-brewing equipment, Field Day operations, ARES activities and the construction and maintenance of a clubhouse and ham shack at Warner Corner in Henniker. The clubhouse donated by K1BGI was originally a corn crib and then a hen house, before being converted to the club’s ham shack. When the first meeting was held in the shack, the building was still three-sided. The club erected a tower, built a club station and obtained grants of equipment and a generator for its ARES activities.

The duties of club secretary were far more varied then than now. Louise, K1LAS, says that she would have thought twice about taking the position had she known prior that as well as recording minutes of club meetings, the job included shoveling the path to the shack, building the fire in the wood stove prior to meetings and digging the hole for the outhouse.

In June 1972, the CVRC was disbanded because of lack of participation of older members in club actives, a lack of new members and recruitment, and a general lack of interest. Although in disrepair and no longer property of the club, the club house still stands today. The tower was relocated and served the K1DFQ/K1LAS ham shack.

Ken Dermon, K1BGI, again led the reorganization of the CVRC by hosting a meeting on April 17, 1987.  1987 members included five original club members plus newer amateurs from the Henniker and Contoocook area. Regular monthly meetings were resumed and have continued ever since. The club has grown to over 80 members with a wide variety of interests and activities. Much to the surprise of many members, the club was presented a plaque by then Section Manager Warren Rothburg, WB1HBB, for 25 years of affiliation with the ARRL … about 7 years late!

The club now owns and maintains the K1BKE 146.895 repeater on Pat’s Peak in Henniker; participates annually in Field Day and the New Hampshire QSO Party; runs Volunteer Examiner Test sessions; runs an ARES Net; holds Technician and General Class License Classes; and provides communications for over a dozen public service events annually in the Concord, Henniker and Hillsboro area. In addition, club members participate physically and financially in the maintenance of repeaters; in VHF/UHF/GHZ mountain topping contests; in additional public service events from the Mount Washington Climb to the Clouds to New London Hospital Day; and in the newest activity, military vehicle rallies which include the display and operation of military radios on amateur frequencies.

There are many facets to the amateur radio hobby and CVRC club members participate in many of them. The CVRC is a full-service club and there are no-doubt activities of interest to any active amateur. Pay the Club a visit and learn more. Club members should continuously be aware of the need to provide a variety of activities that will interest all, and make welcome and recruit new members.

The CVRC meets monthly on the second Tuesday at the Community Room of the Hopkinton Town Library in Contoocook, NH. Rag-chew begins at 7:00PM; the meeting begins at 7:30PM with an amateur radio related program; refreshments; followed with the business meeting. All amateurs and those interested in the hobby are invited; you need not be a member to attend. Talk-In is on the 146.895 -600 Khz repeater.

On April 9th, 2016, members of the CVRC celebrated its 60th anniversary with a history laden party at the Hopkinton Town Library.  Plaques were presented to the two original members present, Louise French, K1LAS, and Ken Wilkins, K1MID.

click for the CVRC 60th Anniversary Newspaper Article pdf

reproduced with permission

Ed. Thanks to Paul, N1PIA SK for his research for this article, and Louise, K1LAS for club history and for her anecdotes.

During 1999, the CVRC moved its monthly meetings to the Community Room at the Hopkinton Town Library, Pine Street, Contoocook, NH

Updated 3-18-1998 WA1WOK
Footnote added 2-10-2000 K1JY
K1BBQ added as 1959 member 4-30-2001 K1JY

Updated 4/29/2016; added 60th Anniversary information – K1JY