|Section Index||Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio||17-Jul-2007|
By Willis KA0KEL
The “first” club was from the 1960’s. I have no first hand information on it, other than hand me down information. Names like Gene Kispert, Charlie Srsen, and Justin Spinler have been bantered around. Also some minor stories about “Field Day” in a chicken coop, and similar figments of the imagination come up from time to time. I even heard one about very high placement during ‘Field Day” back then. I guess that one could assume that the statement about “The Good Old Days” must have come from this era.
In 1980 remnants of the club decided to reassemble the club. I think the appearance of 2-meters, and their associate repeaters brought this about. Dave and Kay Wegner owned the “local” repeater. It became the anchor of the club for a good many years to come. I came face to face with amateur radio because the club wished to set up a weather spotter network and I was the Steele County Civil Defense Director. In short order they had my name changed from Willis to KA0KEL, and I have used it ever since.
Nick (WB0JAK) was the keep it running technician, along with the rest of the club used as grunt labor as needed. The early meetings were held at the Happy Chef on Saturday mornings. Later we shifted to the Red Cross meeting rooms. As things progressed with weather spotting a move to the LEC basement was in order.
The civil defense applied for and received a license for 150-165 FM. A tower was acquired and put up, along with FM antenna, 2-meter and scanner antennas. We were in the weather spotter’s business! Intense weather spotting training was also held for all interested club members. We even had our own instructors and provided this service to anyone in the county requesting it. The support of Ben Amen of the Rochester Weather and Radio Station KRFO were key in our successful operation.
Charlie and Bob P. plus others, were relentless in the pursuit of people to train as Amateurs. People were relentlessly reminded and helped to further their license upgrading, this provided for the best possible short call signs for every year “field day” operations. Also the club acquired a frequency pair and purchased and set up a club/civil defense repeater in Owatonna. This repeater is in full operation at this time.
Some members of the past include:
Certainly not all, and I am sure my frail mind could not remember all (this is why I never changed my call), but it sure sounds like a voices from the past, doesn’t it!