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 Blake - W4ZEB. A Club constitution was adopted July 28, 1955 and on September 26, 1955 the Club was first incorporated.  In the early 60’s 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 September 1979. In the summer of 1992 the Club received its 25-year ARRL award.      The club has never had a home of it’s own. But, thanks to the many community organizations the club has been able to conduct monthly meetings. Some of the meeting places included: the Bishop Planetarium, the Red Cross bldg. (when their building was on Manatee Ave.), the downtown Library, the Bradenton Herald offices, the auditorium at Manatee Vocational Technical School, and the Trinity United Methodist Church and today the Red Cross Building on 59 St.      In approximately 1976, when two meter radio was becoming popular, members of the radio club and hams from Sarasota formed a repeater club in Bradenton and named it the Manasota Repeater Association, operating on 146.820 MHZ under the call WR4ALZ.  The only equipment purchased was a GE Master Pro Receiver.  A 60-watt transmitter and a rack power supply that was donated by the “Detroit Repeater Group” (formally members of the Great Lakes Repeater Assoc.). A J-pole antenna was donated by the Sarasota Radio Club. All other equipment and some money were donated by individual hams.

Charter Members:

  • WB4AS.............Dr. Berrnard Karpel
  • W4BGR.............Wally Blakslee
  • 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

In 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 Wright...........President
  • K4WV..................Corby Pratt..........Tech. Committee
  • WD4KLS.............Wesley Smith.......Tech. Committee
  • K4JQW................Donald Pratt..........Tech. Committee

Several other club members provided support.  After the repeater was on-line a bottle of Andre champagne, supplied by WD4KLS, was opened.      A roster dated April 1981 revealed a change in the repeater call sign to K4WV (Corby Pratt); also 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 Blake 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
  • K4FCJ................George Gual
  • KB5MSB............David Ihle
  • KB8YF................Frank Levinson
  • WB4CLG...........Fay Wilson
  • WD4CRS............Joe Wright
  • K4IEK.................Virgil Yarbrough

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 when it was changed to N8EHZ (Charlie Brooks).
Several attempts were made over the years 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 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 consisting of: NS8D - Archie Carpenter, KC8DO - George Byrd, and N8EHZ - Charlie Brooks.  This group met with the clubs’ 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 notice where published in the clubs 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 147.195MHZ. In 1996 the 146.82 repeater was temporarily relocated to the Manatee County Administrative Building due to interference from numerous commercial radio installations a top the Desoto Towers. Finally, in September 1997 the 146.82 repeater found a new home high a top 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 perspective 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(146.82), 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 the first Tuesday of every month. A monthly newsletter is also published and distributed, September through May via E-Mail. The club maintains a Web Site (http://www.manatee-arc.org/) where currant information cad be decimated.      The club membership over the years has ranged from 15 members at it’s 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