Club officers 1996
- John Brown KE4HIE, President
- Lehn Lambert KF4CTA¹, Vice President
- Geraldine Atchison KC4WNF, Treasurer
- Debra Brown KF4BOR, Secretary
The first full year began with a critique of Hurricane Opal by Wayne Sowell Covington County EMA director at the January club meeting. Also in attendance was John Chumley with The American Red Cross. The ground work also began for activating the ARES/RACES for Covington County. As February began to approach, and in conjunction with severe weather preparedness week, plans developed to have a SKYWARN Spotter class. Mr. Gary Beeler from the US Weather Service Office in Mobile presented a SKYWARN Weather spotter's class to SARC members and other interested people from the South Alabama/North Florida area. In March, Lee Joyner KD4UKU, the EC for Covington County, presented the Emergency plan and SOP for the Covington County ARES/RACES. Thus the activation of the Covinton County ARES/RACES became a reality. In the summer members took pictures for their ARES/RACES ID badges and continued training during the year. A mock Severe weather net was conducted in the fall to test the Emergency plan and equipment. After the net concluded, members gathered at Hardees and critiqued the plan.
On May 4th 1996, The first Swapfest was held at the Andalusia National Guard Armory. The SARC actually made a slight profit after all expenses were paid! Everyone had a fun day despite the hard work club members did to bring this event to a reality. Membership continued to grow and the club began to plan toward the next years' Hamfest. Since the first weekend in May was not occupied by any local hamfest, club members decided to keep this date as the date for future HAMFEST. Planning began for the 1997 Hamfest to be held May 3rd at the National Guard Armory in Andalusia from 8:00 - 13:00 local time.
While plans for the next years hamfest were beginning to formalize, club members focused their efforts to Field Day in June and the Armadillo Roundup Special events station in August. Members decided to use Bruce's call sign (N4ZEZ) at the Special events station for the Armadillo Roundup. The station was a great success with more than 80 contacts with the farthest station in Washington state. Jennifer KE4DSJ drew a sketch of a cowboy riding an armadillo for use on the Special Events certificate while Bruce ( N4ZEZ) designed a certificate with the scanned logo and mailed them.
Several members also increased their station range by installing towers. Margaret Gross N6XWV had a tower raising party in the middle of July. Club members helped her get her antenna on the 40 foot Rohn 20 tower that now increases her capabilities. In October, KF4GRA also increased his station capabilities by installing a tower at his QTH with a Ringo Ranger and 11 element Cushcraft atop a 50 foot Rohn 20 tower. George Skirven KE4MHU replaced his tower and both vertical and directional antennas after they were destroyed by a lightening bolt!
From it's early beginning in July 1995, SARC members had dreams of calling the SARC 2-meter net on a repeater frequency. In February 1996, The Enterprise Amateur Radio Society gave the SARC a 2 meter repeater they were no longer using. Thus the dream of a repeater pair for club use came one step closer to being reality. Application was made to the Alabama repeater coordinating committee for a repeater frequency and the first choice of 147.260 was approved in May with the call sign of repeater trustee Jerry Atchison KA4IHE. SARC members voted to give the Enterprise club a donation once the repeater became operational.
A momentous event occurred in July 1996, when the KA4IHE repeater went into test mode with 4 WATTS of power. The repeater remained in test mode for about a month and members anxiously awaited the day when it could be placed at its present location on the tower owned by Joe Rose. On November 23rd, 1996 the antennas were mounted on the tower location and the repeater began operation a few days later. At last the dream of a repeater by SARC members had become a reality. Jerry Atchison KA4IHE is trustee of the repeater and Mr. Joe Rose who provided the tower and antennas is technician for the repeater. A special thanks also to Mr. Ivan Bishop for providing the cable to connect the antennas and repeater.