Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club formed in 1916

Wayne Thalls, KB6KN SK

In late 1990 I sought to confirm the founding date of the club. If the 1916 in our logo was correct, we were approaching the three-quarter century mark. After a few hours pouring over old Santa Cruz newspapers, on microfilm at the local library, I struck pay dirt. An article in the Santa Cruz Morning Sentinel for Friday February 4, 1916 told of the very first formal meeting of Santa Cruz County radio amateurs.
Organization of Amateur Radios

Last evening sixteen local wireless amateurs gathered at L. Short’s home, corner of Church St. and Chestnut Ave., for the purpose of forming a local amateur radio association.
The officers elected are: President, O. Willey; vice-president, R. Reiner; secretary and treasurer, E. Anderson; chief operator, R. Hazelton. The following charter members were enrolled: Oscar Willey, Elroy Anderson, R. Reiner, Harold Manning, Leslie Short, R. Hazelton, Carleton Canfield, E. H. Thomson, William Whittle, Warner Britschgi, Clifford Cox, Edmund Thomson, Charlie Bobby, Wilber Frapwell, Chas. Faneuf, Dudley Bennett.

The April 1916 issue of QST reported the formation of a new radio club in Santa Cruz, California. The magazine was in its first year of publication. ARRL was only a year old.

Ham radio has a long tradition in this community. Few clubs in the world can lay claim to having been founded in the early days of radio communication. The ARRL was formed only a year earlier.
It would be great to say that our club has continuously flourished over the years. It has not. There is no uninterrupted record of club activities for all of those 80 years. Like many organizations, interest and participation has at times waned. At times the club has even gone into hibernation. Each time, a small group of intrepid hams eventually managed to resurrect the association. The last time that was necessary was nearly fifty years ago.
Club By-Laws state that goals of the organization are to; (1) Increase knowledge, (2) Improve individual operating efficiency, (3) Facilitate the exchange of information, (4) Increase cooperation among members, (5) Strengthen the welfare of amateur radio in the general community. Those are the very same reasons the club was organized eight decades ago.
Many of you will be around to celebrate the century mark for the club. That should be an occasion for a great celebration. What do you think our hobby will be like in the year 2016? Do you think the club goals will change? As long as caring individuals continue to serve the organization, it will thrive. Perhaps this is the time for you to make your own personal contribution to history?

—Based on a 1995 article, which originally appeared in Short Skip, the newsletter of the SCCARC

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