Straits Area Amateur Radio Club

120 E. Lake Street

Petoskey, MI 49770

Phone: 231-487-0692

Fax: 231-487-0313

The History of the SAARC

On the evening of February 5, 1950, a small group of Ham Radio Operators met at the Pellston Airport to form what is now known as the STRAITS AREA AMATEUR RADIO CLUB." In April, 1951, a club license and call sign, W8GQN, was issued by the FCC with Ken Ford W8OAF as the station trustee. Membership has increased to around 100 covering an area of 80 miles radius of Petoskey, with youngsters of 10 to elders in their 80's enjoying the hobby.

The club owns a communications trailer with portable tower utilized for civic events, annual field day exercises, and available for disaster relief work as needed. We maintain a 2 meter repeater at Stuttsmanville on a 1930 (MSL) foot tower, 660 feet above groundand 1090 feet above Lake Michigan. Our antenna is at the 400 foot level.We participate in the National Weather Service "Storm Watch" Program with direct radio contact with the Gaylord office.

Our club has furnished communications for the St. Ignace snowmobile Enduro, Mackinaw City Dog Sled Races, the Mackinaw City and Harbor Springs Bike Tours, Top O'Michigan Outboard Boat Races, the 24 hour Wolverine Equestrian Enduro in Petoskey, and the Harbor Springs Swim in Little Traverse Bay.

In 1956 or 1957, we provided services for the State Powder Puff Woman's Air Race from Flint to Pellston and also the 1975 National Woman's Air Race from Riverside, CA to Boyne Mountain with high frequency direct contacts with Riverside and enroute checkpoints across the country.

Ham Radio has come a long way since the days we had to lug 50 - 60 lb. transmitters and separate receivers from place to place to set up stations at Cheboygan, Topinabee, Indian River and the Allanson Bridge/Locks for the Top O' Michigan Boat Races. Today, one can have a small package of less than 10 lbs. with a 100 watt transceiver and power it with a 12 volt car battery.

Our old gang, circa1950:

John Schaufler W8DQQ, Pellston, President, Deceased
John Gibbs W8RHD, Petoskey, Vice-president, Current local resident
E.A. Throop W8CRB, Alanson, Secretary, Deceased
Ralph Babcock W8DWB, Harbor Springs, Treasurer ???
Leo Vachow W8CPY, Mackinaw City, Activity Mgr., Deceased
Richard C. Welch W8BQO, St Ignace, Deceased
R. Kahle W8CIH, Pellston ???
John Cross W8FGM, Petoskey, ???
Ashton Hayes W8FFD, Petoskey, Deceased
Ken Ford W8OAF, Petoskey, Deceased
Harold Hilborn W8BIL
Lloyd A. Lovaasen W8FDO, Pellston, Retired, Living in Oregon
Ken McFadden W8SNK, Cheboygan, Deceased
Wade Bogard W8??, Cheboygan, ???

Can anyone account for: Babcock, Kahle, Cross, Hilborn, Bogard???