We are a Club consisting of about 100 members mostly from the Summit and Portage County area. We range in age from about 10 to 80 years. We are students, business owners, retirees, housewives, teachers, tradespeople and technologists - all with a common interest in ham radio.
We hold meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at the Northampton Town Hall in Cuyahoga Falls. The first meeting of the month is generally a business meeting with an occasional short program following. The second meeting of the month is usually a very brief business meeting followed by a program of some sort. The program topics vary greatly but tend to be ham radio or technology related.
We run two nets on Monday evenings. A 2 meter net starts at 8:30 PM preceded by Newsline starting at 8:01 PM. Checkins, comments and announcements can be heard on the net held on the club repeater on 147.27 MHz. At 9:30 PM we also run an HF net on 10 meters, 28.360 (plus or minus a few KHz as needed) with a more laid back approach.
We sponsor an annual Hamfest get-together that has a large radio, electronics, and computer flea market that provides a chance to buy, sell, or trade equipment. It's also an excellent chance to talk with other hams in person.
We participate in the annual Field Day exercise that provides practice in operating under emergency conditions and is an excellent introduction to contesting.
We own and operate a repeater station in Cuyahoga Falls that provides reliable communications over the greater Summit County area.
CFARC provides classes that will help new people to obtain amateur radio licenses and help current licensees to upgrade their licenses and gain greater operating flexibility.
We publish a monthly newsletter (The Chattering Relay) so that Club members keep in touch with club events.
In the summer months we have hidden transmitter hunts.
The Cuyahoga Falls Radio Club was founded in the Fall of 1955 as an offshoot of the Buckeye Shortwave Radio Association in Akron. The Club's purpose at the time was to provide communications for Civil Defense Zone C (Northern Summit County). The Federal Communications Commission granted the call letters W8VPV to the Club, for use during Club activities. Meetings were held at the city building in Cuyahoga Falls, which was also the location of Club's station. This early station consisted of a National HRO-60 receiver and a Collins 32V3 transmitter, purchased by the City of Cuyahoga Falls with federal matching funds for Civil Defense purposes.
Soon after the Club was founded, some members designed a small dual band transmitter/receiver that operated on the amateur 10 and 6 meter bands. Several of these units were built by Club members and were used on nets that were operated by the Club. About 1958, several more members built some units that were similar, but only operated on the 6 meter band.
In 1961 the Club moved its meeting location to the Civil Defense building on Water Street in Cuyahoga Falls. This location was not a good one for radio, as it was located next to a power substation. The Club moved in 1962 to the American Legion post on Front Street and remained there until 1967, when it was offered a meeting facility at the United Electronics Institute (Now NIT) on Orlen Avenue. In the early 1980's the Club moved its meeting place to the Bishop Scout Center behind the Church in Silver Lake. Here, it was able once again to establish a home station for W8VPV. In 2000 the Club moved to Hope Homes in Stow. In 2002 the Club was able to move back into Cuyahoga Falls and now meets at the Northampton Town Hall.
A retired military officer in North Carolina makes friends over the radio with a ham in Lithuania. An Ohio teenager uses her computer to upload a chess move to an orbiting space satellite; it's retrieved by a fellow chess enthusiast in Japan. An aircraft engineer in Florida participating in a "DX" contest swaps call signs with hams in 100 countries in a weekend. And, in the aftermath of a catastrophic fire in California, hams save lives and property as part of their involvement in an emergency communications net.
This unique mix of fun, public service and convenience is the hallmark of the hobby called Amateur Radio. Although Radio Amateurs get involved in the hobby for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology, regulations and operating principles, demonstrated by passing an examination for a license to operate on radio frequencies known as the "Amateur Bands."
Who's the Typical Ham?
Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life - movie stars, missionaries, doctors, students, politicians, truck drivers and just plain folks. They are all ages, sexes, income levels and nationalities. But whether they prefer Morse Code on an old brass telegraph key through a low power transmitter, voice communication on a 2-meter hand-held transceiver or computer messages transmitted through satellites and packet networks, they all have an interest in what's happening in our world, and they use radio to reach out.
What's the Appeal of Ham Radio?
Some hams are attracted by the ability to communicate across the country, around the globe or even with space missions. Others build and experiment with electronics. Computer hobbyists find packet radio to be a low-cost way to access an amateur-created "Internet on-the-air". Those with a competitive streak enjoy DX contests, where the object is to see how many distant locations they can contact. Some like the convenience of a technology that gives them portable communication. Others use it to open the door to new friendships over the air or through participation in one of more than 2000 Amateur Radio clubs throughout the country.
A Noble History
Nobody knows when Amateur Radio operators were first called "hams", but we do know that Amateur Radio is as old as the history of radio itself. Not long after Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian experimenter, received the Morse code letter "S" in Newfoundland that was transmitted from Wales in 1901, amateur experimenters throughout the world were trying out the capabilities of the first "spark gap" transmitters. In 1912 Congress passed the first laws regulating radio transmitters in the U.S. By 1914, amateur experimenters were communicating nationwide, and setting up a system to relay messages from coast to coast. In 1927, the FCC was created by Congress and specific frequencies were assigned for various uses, including ham bands.
Why the Amateur Radio License?
Although the main purpose of Amateur Radio is fun, it is called the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face. The FCC created the "Service" to fill the need for a pool of experts who could provide backup emergency communications. In addition, the FCC acknowledged the ability of the hobby to advance the communication and technical skills of radio, and to enhance international goodwill. The philosophy has paid off. Countless lives have been saved where skilled hobbyists act as emergency communicators to render aid, whether it's an earthquake in Italy, a flood in India or a hurricane in the U.S.
There are three classes of Amateur Radio licenses. Each class of license requires that a person pass some written examination dealing with radio regulations, operation and theory. The privileges granted to the licensee increase as the license class goes up. All licenses no longer require the knowledge of Morse code as some once did. Morse code is still used in ham radio and provides a unique challenge for anyone without the pressure of it being required for the higher class licenses.
Amateur Radio Bands
Amateur Radio operators are permitted to operate in a series of bands throughout the radio spectrum, from just above the AM broadcast band into the microwave region. This range of operating frequency allows Amateur Radio operators a great deal of flexibility to achieve long or short range communications at all times of the day or night.
Amateur Radio operators are permitted to operate on voice, Morse code (CW), television, teletype, digital modes and satellites (ham radio has its own). There can be plenty of excitement as one explores the newer modes of communication.