The Stanly County Amateur Radio Club presents its history – The Stanly News & Press



Larry Joe Almond was a teenager when he was introduced to a passion that stayed with him throughout his life.

One of the members of the Anderson Grove Baptist Church took Almond to his house and presented him with his Heathkit radio and Almond was immediately hooked.

Almond received his amateur radio license in 1956 and became a member of the Stanly County Amateur Radio Club a year later. He’s still in the club – his call sign is K4MGA. He is currently the oldest member.

“There’s a lot I could do without, but I’d hate to live without ham radio,” Almond said.

Larry Joe Almond looks at photos of himself during the early days of the club.

Ray Sipe got involved in ham radio after traveling to the Gulf Coast with Lutheran Disaster Response to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. To better prepare for another possible disaster, Sipe and others in the area obtained their amateur radio licenses.

Sipe, who is the club’s chairman, said he grew up enjoying the radio as a child.

Club members, along with members of the community, gathered Saturday afternoon at Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Richfield as Sipe gave a presentation on the club’s history. There were also historical memorabilia, including old radios and QSL cards, which are written confirmations of two-way radio communication between two amateur radio stations, on display.

The radio club was founded in 1956 and was created as a form of civil defense. The idea was to create a communication network around the county in the event of a disaster. The members of the club are radio amateurs (or amateurs).

The founding members of the club were Lee Melton, Lewis Sides, Raymond Barker, Bill Hatley, WH Seaver and Carl Doby.

Ray Sipe brings the history of the Stanly County Amateur Radio Club to the public.

Over the years the club, with a K4OGB call sign and currently around 45 members, has grown and become integrated into the county. Members help by providing radio communications for races, parades and festivals. They also organize electronic fox hunts to search for hidden transmitters and have a station in the basement of the courthouse that they can tap into if communications in the county somehow drop.

The club also works with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), which is a public service organization whose purpose is to provide communications in the event of an emergency. Last year, the club contributed 1,027 volunteer hours to ARES, according to club member Dr Keith Andrew.

There are currently nearly 200 amateur radio operators with call signs in Stanly County, Sipes told the crowd. An instructor teaches an amateur radio course at Stanly Community College, and club members help test students and present them with amateur radio licenses.

The club meets once a month at Stanly Community College and hosts special events such as field days in the summer and winter.

Stephen Merithew, who got his radio license in high school, has been a member of the club on and off for 20 years. He enjoys communicating with people from Europe and Africa on his Yaesu FT-920 radio.

According to the club’s website, amateur radio operators can communicate via voice, Morse code (CW), computers, amateur television and satellites using the HF, VHF and UHF bands using various modes such as AM , FM, digital, sideband and text.

“There’s a whole bunch of stuff we do, so we’re a very active and busy club,” Sipes said.

Sipe told the crowd that the club has something for everyone, as long as they have a basic interest in amateur radio.

“No matter what kind of interest you might have in amateur radio, there’s something for everyone,” Sipe said. “Whether it’s Morse code, satellites, or helping to organize public service events like races…”

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