by Allen Griffith
We have an unwritten policy or protocol concerning hospitality and courtesy in the operation of the Club’s 34/94 repeater. When a ham passes through the area we try to acknowledge their call out of courtesy and curiosity. Sometimes they need help. At other times they may just be testing the friendliness of our ham community.
I recall one such contact. Almost 9 years ago. Now you would think that the QSO would have to be quite interesting for me to remember for such a long time. As I recall the fellow just gave his call and we exchanged pleasantries and small talk. It didn’t take long to know he was a class operator with correct repeater etiquette and nice demeanor. What was unusual was his call. In fact, I didn’t remember it except it was long and had a hint of DX sound to it. It wasn’t a QSO that gave out memorable details but I sure remembered that number in the call.
It must have been about six months or longer before I heard it again and got more curious why his call came up again. I asked him, “I see you are in the area again. What brings you here?” He said something to the effect, “Oh we’ve been down here for a while. We moved in by the airport, fixing up a house and going to make this place our home.” “Well great!” I said. “Perhaps we’ll see you around sometime.” We gave our calls signing off.
Time went by and the stranger became acquainted with the pilots that hung out daily at the airport for he owned an airplane. He also eased his way into our club and our hearts. We found out the fellow was quite handy with electronics and repeaters.
As time went by he rose in popularity and rank in our little club. It also helped that no one else wanted the thankless job he accepted!!
While this stranger with the strange ham call was in this job there were a number of milestones or goals obtained. The following are just easy to recall.
1) Under his watch, the older club repeaters were relocated from the KXOE tower to its present location. Initially, Kevin, KB5ZVV, because of his contact with his former employer obtained the site and physically moved the equipment to the old tower.
Eventually, the site owners wanted to replace the aging tower with a new, higher, free-standing tower. Problem was it was in the flight path of the Brownwood Regional Airport. The stranger, with the strange ham call, and familiar with FAA and FCC rules got a waiver permit for the cell phone company. It was great public relations and may have saved the company thousands of dollars of tower costs. Because of that, and Kevin’s relations with the owners, we got our antennas and repeaters relocated to the new tower and the new air-conditioned radio building. It all worked together for good
2) Under his watch maintenance relief was given to Kevin, KB5ZVV, who has maintained our older repeaters very well for many years. Under his watch, we have obtained two new Yaesu repeaters. One is in operation as the 34/94 machine and one as a backup to either the two meters or the Motorola UHF machine.
3) Under his watch, we have been introduced to digital communications through his personal, Yaseu Fusion repeater. It’s not a club repeater but who would have brought that technology to us? He has helped take down towers and antennas, helped other members with antenna erections, repair of equipment and contributed advice to the less knowledgeable.
4) Under his watch, the Club has received thousands of dollars of equipment by his close association with Bill Price of Air Stream Trailer fame. Because the club was eager to help out the Air Stream Rally, Bill asked the stranger with the strange call sign if the club needed equipment. Thank you, Bill, and thank you, stranger!
5) Under his watch, ARES activities continued in SETS to prepare us for the unexpected. Field Day activities and eating meetings along with participation in SKYWARN. He has maintained the two Facebook accounts that keep us informed of our regular Tuesday night net and its net controls.
6) Under his watch, the treasury grew to record amounts by obtaining equipment worth thousands of dollars, holding and storing equipment and as of late selling our unused and unwanted generator.
7) Under his watch organization was a top priority for the stranger with the strange call. He streamlined the meeting agenda and probably has set all-time records for the briefness of regular club meetings. At the same time, Whataburger’s gross income has jumped on the third Monday night of each month!
I’m quite sure you know who I am speaking of. The stranger is Rich Dugger and the strange call is WD9ARW.
Rich did a fine job of leading us by example from 2015 through 2018. On behalf of the Brownwood Amateur Radio Club, I present Rich Dugger with this token of our appreciation.