History of Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club
Compiled by Chuck Orem, KD2AJ
The Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club was founded in 1955 with
nine members. The first meeting was held in April 1955 at the
home of Phil Rickson. The nine charter members were:
Phil Rickson K2HJC
Gordon Underwood K2BIH
Pete Hicks W2NIZ (Club trustee)
Loyal Lecuyer W2UXC (Club trustee)
Kenny Martineau K2BGX
Jim Rickson K2HJD
Vernon Martineau K2HOA
Bob Broadwell K2ETW
Jack Struthers W2OZY
The purpose of the organization was:
"To maintain and carry on a non-profit amateur radio club.
To provide study, training, experimental and demonstration
activities and facilities for the advancement of radio,
electronic and related arts and sciences by the interchange
of information relating to the use, purpose, design,
construction and development of radio, electronics and
similar apparatus and devices
To coordinate and promote the general welfare incident to
such sciences but not for hire or gain or for the purpose of
soliciting or promoting administrative or legislative action
in the relation thereto as such.
To carry on such educational recreational activities for the
benefit of those interested in the purposes of the
corporation as shall be consistent with the foregoing."
Membership in the club was open to:
"Any person of good moral character, interested in Amateur
radio and promotion of the purposes of the corporation,
upon recommendation of the trustees and vote of the
members, shall be eligible for membership ..."
Elections were held annually to select officers to serve for the
next year. Gordon Underwood K2BIH, was elected the first
President of the club. Kenny Martineau K2BGX, the second
President,was elected in 1956.
Meetings were held each month, at which time club business was
conducted and activities were planned. The club tried to
schedule activities to promote interest in Amateur Radio, advance
public service, organize Hamfests, etc. Many of the meetings
were combined with social activities, such as Pot Luck suppers.
The backing of many, many loyal members made it possible for the
Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club to grow from its simple
beginnings of nine charter members into an active, thriving club.
That support can be seen today in the many original members who
are still with the group.
Around 1956 much construction was being done at Plattsburgh Air
Force Base and the CVARC made a bid of five dollars for one of
the old CCC buildings that had to be removed or torn down.
Shortly after, the club was notified that they had won the bid
and had to remove the building from the base.
A small piece building was moved to the new site. It became
known as the Club Shack.
During the years that followed much work was done on the Shack.
The members planed 'work bees' and improved the clubhouse to the
extent allowed by the club treasury and their ingenuity. They
had reason to be very proud of what they accomplished.
Unfortunately, during the early 1970's the club began to decline
and by 1972 was inactive. Bill Goff WA2HSB and Ed Stiles WA2JPM
continued to pay the property taxes on the Shack with the little
money that was left in the club treasury. By 1972 they realized
that the building and property would have to be sold, as they
were running short of funds. The property and the building were
sold for approximately $600.00.
During this period a new organization called the Northern
Adirondack Repeater Association, NARA, had started. The money
left in the CVARC treasury and the money from the sale of the
property and building were transferred to NARA. NARA was an
active organization until 1985 when it was decided by the CVARC
and NARA members to merge into a reorganized CVARC. All money
and equipment were transferred to the CVARC.
In May of 1977, Frank Kennedy K2TTI sent a letter to local Radio
Amateurs informing them of the steps being taken to reorganize
the CVARC. Frank went on to become the first President of
the new organization and once again the CVARC was off and flying.
During the next five years the club sponsored yearly Novice
classes which produced many new Hams and Club members.
The Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC), although based
in Clinton County, New York, consists of amateurs from throughout
Northeast New York, Vermont and Canada. The organization is a
growing, active radio club that is self supporting through dues
The organization's objectives are to take part in regular "ham"
activities, to support a repeater system, to support the Office
of Emergency Preparedness RACES program, to support the director
of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and to promote Amateur
The group meets monthly at the Mae Courrier Building on the Tom
Miller road in Plattsburgh, NY, at 7:30 pm on the second
Wednesday of each month. A monthly newsletter is published by
the organization keeping its members current on local and
national amateur news.
The club has made great strides in providing its members with
repeaters and equipment to encourage the membership to stay
active in amateur radio. They operate two 2 m repeaters, a 1.25
m repeater and 70 cm repeater. The 147.150+ MHz, 224.020- MHz
and 449.775- MHz. These repeaters are located on Rand Hill,
approximately 7.5 miles north west of Plattsburgh. The 147.285+
MHz repeater is located on Lyon Mt, about 25 miles due west of
Plattsburgh, giving wide area coverage. The 147.150+ MHz
repeater has phone patch capabilities for emergency purposes.
By the fall of 1990, there was so much interest in Packet radio
that a sister organization was formed. This group, called DOERS
(Digital Operators Emergency Radio Service), developed and
maintains an extensive packet network in Northern New York.
(See the DOERS section of the CVARC Members Handbook for further
(The following becomes a very important part of the Champlain
Valley Amateur Radio Club history. Those involved and listed here
shall forever be remembered for their contribution to the
Northern New York Amateur Radio world.)
The Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC) is affiliated to
the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) residing in the Western
New York section of the ARRL Atlantic Division.
The Western New York Section covers forty counties from Buffalo
to Lake Champlain and from the Penn state line to the Canadian
border, more then half of New York State.
Members of the Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC) had
for many years felt that they did not and should not fall in the
Western New York Section. From time to time the subject would be
brought up, but nothing was ever done as it seemed impossible to
do anything about it. Chuck KD2AJ, as well as Darry WN2F had
brouhgt it to the WNY Section Managers attention on a number of
occasions and again nothing was ever accomplished as it seemed
they could never get an organized grup behind them.
At the June 1994 Field Day event a disscusion was held in regards
to WNY and why we had to use it as a designater for contacts made
during the event. The answer of course being that thats who we
were and had to use it to get credit for our event.
"July 8, 1994" (a date to remember)
At the July 8, 1994 CVARC meeting, the club asked Chuck KD2AJ if
he would lead them to a new Section and/or at least to the
Eastern New York Section (ENY). KD2AJ knowing full well that this
was an impossible task agreed to get the ball rolling and the
CVARC voted and approved to "attempt to change the ARRL
affiliation of Clinton County." More plainly, it was felt that
Clinton County and its neighboring counties would be better
served by forming there own \ARRL Section.
Later in the same week of July 1994 the Mountain Valley Amateur
Radio Club (MVARC) of Essex County approved a similar proposal.
On July 9, 1994 Chuck KD2AJ called the Section Manager of the ENY
Section and informed him of the CVARC intentions and would the
ENY Section accept new counties. (At this time Clinton and Essex
counties) The ENY Section Manager was to get information on how
to do this.
The second call on July 9, 1994 was to the Atlantic Division
Director. Upon telling Hugh Turnbul W3ABC the intentions of the
CVARC and the MVARC, he asked us to try and resolve our problems
within the Atlantc Division as the ENY section was in the Hudson
Division. Chuck was also informed that the WNY Section manager
would be told of our intentions and that he would contact us.
When (seemingly) nothing came of the conversation with the
Atlantic Division Director KD2AJ wrote an article for the CVARC
newsletter (an article that cut the Atlantic Division and Western
New York to the core) and was sent to the ARRL, Atlantc Division
Director as well as the WNY Section manager.
When the Atlantic Division Director read the article many
telephones started ringing. We were on our way to accmplishing
something that basicly no one else had ever done.
In the weeks that followed letters were sent to all neighboring
counties and soon the
NORTHERN NEW YORK AMATUER RADIO ASSOCIATION
was formed with members from ten counties.
After many months and meetings the writing of the "white page"
some 120 pages long, the execative committee of the ARRL voted
the unanimously to grant us the Northern New York Section (NNY)
to become effective January 1, 1996.
While this would seem like an easy task it in fact was an
impossible to accomplish. With the help of Hugh Turnbull W3ABC,
Atlantic Division Director we will forever be thankful.
There were many jobs and projects to be accomplished to provide
the information for the "white Page" and while we had a lot of
help from each county the CVARC Amateurs listed below should be
remembered for their contribution's to the NNY Section.
WA2RLW Clarence Frenier N2ITE Paul Bedard
WA2AEA Les Schmarder N2JKG Carl Smith
KA2MOO George Pearson N2YTS Alice Bourquin
KB2LML Al Haggett N2HEV Don Rhodes
N2UTY George Warren WA2JPM Ed Stiles
WA2LRE Tony Colonge N2PPE Dennis Lewis
N2RUL John Ducuette KD2AJ Chuck Orem
WB7VMO Don Smith
From its begging in 1955, the Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club
has grown to become a valuable asset to both its members and the
community. Its members are always ready to provide public
service communications. We welcome everyone, whether a Radio
Amateur or interested individual, to attend our regular meetings
to learn more about the club and Amateur Radio.