History of MARCI

History of the Manatee Amateur Radio Club Inc

The Manatee Amateur Radio Club Inc (MARCI) was organized in late 1950.  The club’s first president was David Blacke – W4ZEB.  A club constitution was adopted on July 28, 1955, and September 26, 1955.  The club was first incorporated.  In the early 60s, enough of its members belonged to the ARRL to qualify as an ARRL club.  Many of the early club documents either did not contain dates or were missing.  The first club newsletter was published in September 1979.  In the summer of 1992, the club received its 25-Year ARRL Award.  The club has never had a home of its own, but thanks to the many community organizations, it has been able to conduct monthly meetings.  Some meeting places include The Bishop Planetarium, The Red Cross building formerly located on Manatee Avenue, the downtown library, the Bradenton Herald offices, the auditorium at Manatee Vocation Technical School, the Trinity United Methodist Church, and the Red Cross Building on 59 Street.

In 1976, when the two-meter radio was becoming popular, members of the radio club and hams from Sarasota formed a repeater club in Bradenton.  They named it the Manasota Repeater Association, operating on 146.820 MHZ under the call WRR4ALZ.  The only equipment purchased was a GE Master Pro Receiver.  A 60-watt transmitter and a rack power supply was donated by the “Detroit Repeater Group” (formerly members of the Great Lakes Repeater Association).  The Sarasota Radio Club donated a J-pole antenna.  Individual hams donated all other equipment and some money.

WB4AS – Dr. Berrnard Karpel

W4BGR – Wally Blackslee
W3BNL – Lewis Rice
WN4CVN – Bob Boylston
K4DYB – Ozzie Osborne
WB4EZA – Lester Long
W1FBJ – W.A. Ramsdell
W4FKR – Lamar Graham
K4FQM – Harry Andrews
WB4HZE – Norman Rosedale
WA4BYV – Robby Terry
WA4VJE – Paul Hintz

May 1979 Dave Blake – W4ZEB Provided a repeater site at the Desoto Towers and an “Antenna Erection Party” was held 14 stories in the air by the following:

WD4CRS Joe Writer, President
K4WV Corby Pratt, Technical Committee
WD4KLS Wesley Smith, Technical Committee
K4JQW Donald Pratt, Technical Committee

Several other club members provided support.  After the repeater was on-line a bottle of Andrew Champagne, supplied by WD4KLS was opened.  A roster dated April 1981 revealed a change in the repeater call sign to K4WV (Corby Pratt) and a membership of 182, including 56 from Sarasota County.  In 1980 a few local hams saw a need for a second repeater for emergency communications and formed the “Palma Sola Repeater Group” on 146.925 MHZ, and in March 1980, reached an agreement with Black Memorial Hospital to provide “Emergency” radio communications to Blake and the community in the event of a disaster, in exchange for a repeater site.  The following are listed with the hospital as charter members of the Palma Sola Repeater Group:

KC4VA Craig Anderson
K4FQM Harry Andrews
W4OHA Bobby Canup

In 1982, the Palma Sola Group sold the 146.925 repeater to the Manasota Repeater Association.  With WB4CLG Fay Wilson as repeater ID until September 1987, it was changed to N8EHZ Charlie Brooks.  Several attempts were made over the year to merge the Repeater Association with the radio club.  In January 1987, the board of directors from each club met in one of many attempts to iron out our merger differences.  The items discussed at this meeting helped lay the groundwork for future proposals.  In March 1989, three hams were picked for a merger committee: NS8D – Arch Carpenter, KC8DO Gorge Byrd, and N8EHZ Charlie Brooks.   This group met with the club’s directors in mid-April of 1989 and presented their proposal.  Approval was received to present the proposal to all members of both clubs.  Many meetings were held, and notices were published in the club’s newsletters stating the date of the merger vote.  In October 1989, the merge was approved with only two dissenting votes.  All transactions were completed, and the merger was effective January 1, 1990.  New by-laws were written for the Manatee Amateur Radio Club Inc. and the two repeaters 146.820, a top Desoto Towers and 146.925, a top Blake Hospital, then operated under the club call K4GG for ID.  In March of 1994, the 146.925 repeater frequency was changed to 146.955 due to interference from other area repeaters, and again, in late 1994 or early 1995, it was changed to 147.195 MHZ.  In 1996, the 146.820 repeater was temporarily relocated ot the Manatee County Administrative Building due to interference from numerous commercial radio installations at the Desoto Towers.  Finally, in September 1997, the 146.820 repeater found a new home high above the ten-story Shores Retirement Center in downtown Bradenton.  Manatee Amateur Radio club members have participated in numerous activities throughout the existence of the club.  Some of the activities have included The Annual ARRL Field Day, conducting training classes for prospective Hams, serving as volunteer examiners, conducting the club annual Fox Hunt, maintaining a packet BBS, operating a weekly information and training net on two meters 146.820, assisting incapacitated HAMS and families of deceased Hams, and provided staffing for the local ARES?RACES.  Additionally, the club sponsors an annual picnic for all hands.  The annual awards dinner is held each December.  The club holds a monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of every month.  A monthly newsletter is also published and distributed via e-mail from September through May.  The club maintains a web site manatee-arc.org, where current information can be disseminated.  The club membership over the years has ranged from 15 members at its beginning to over 200 members.  Membership fluctuates with time and interest.Originally Compiled: 10/92 by Charlie Brooks N8EHZ

Records & Data: Be Persall – KA9QJS
Rev: 11/93
Rev: 08/96
Rev: 03/98
Rev: 04/09 Bob Somerville – KD4EFT
Rev: 01/21 Ed Skalecki – NI4MX







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