The Bankhead Amateur Radio Club is an incorporation comprised of local amateur radio operators dedicated to public service and general camaraderie towards the radio operators of the world. We are fortunate enough to be active participants in the Skywarn network serving the Tennessee valley as well as recreational radio activities.
Meetings are held monthly on the 2nd Tuesday Night of the month at the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency at 7:00pm. The EMA is located at 555 Walnut Street, in Downtown Moulton. Meetings held in December are scheduled for irregular times and are discussed in detail at the November meeting.
A Message from our President, Ed Weatherford, KS4B…
In 1982, I became a ham, and as a Novice received the call KA4VZU. My old friend Greg, WA4III, who lived in Lexington, gave me my Novice Exam and Code Test. At the time there were not many hams in Lawrence County. I soon upgraded to Technician and could use two meters. The only repeater close by that was accessible was 147.700 in Decatur. Using it regularly, I met and became acquainted with other hams in the county, namely N4AKW, Cliff, K4JLE, Jim, WA4TLD, Pete, K4CZG, Gary, WA4AUX, Joe (Limestone County), and later Norris, N4IDX.
Having an interest in severe weather, I associated myself with the Civil Defense in Moulton and Cliff, Jim and I worked a lot of tornado watches and other severe weather events, from their office in the basement of the Lawrence County Courthouse Annex, working with the Director, Lehman Wood. During these times discussions were had and we decided to start a Amateur Radio Club in Moulton. Our organizational meeting was held and we organized as the Bankhead Amateur Radio Club, naming ourselves after the William B. Bankhead National Forest. We wanted to not only attract members from Moulton, but all of Lawrence County. Our initial set of By-laws were established, and Cliff Robison, N4AKW, was elected as our first President. Our charter members were:
– Cliff, N4AKW (SK)
– Ed, N4GKE (now KS4B)
– Jim, K4JLE
– Norris, later N4IDX (SK)
Soon after we decided to Incorporate and filed the necessary paperwork with the Probate Judge and became Bankhead Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
We decided that our first mission was to establish a two meter repeater in Moulton. We filed the necessary paperwork for the coordination of a two meter repeater pair, and we were given the frequency of 147.075 (+). With frequency in hand we finally located a repeater and purchased it from Chester, WA4IEN. It was a GE tube type transmitter and receiver. Greg WA4III and Joe came over and we set it up at Cliff’s house in the carport and went to work tuning it to frequency, along with the duplexers. Permission was given to locate the repeater at the Courthouse, and we set it up near the roof in a storage area and mounted an antenna. It worked but not very well, but BARC had its first repeater on the air, although it was limited to about 20 miles coverage. Many hours were spent at the Courthouse trying to improve it.
As the club progressed, donations were taken and we ordered and received a Hamtronics Repeater, and it was decided to change the location to a water tank on Hillsboro Mountain. Permission was granted from the water authority and we moved it there, where it remained for a year or so.
Always looking to improve the system, and by working with the Civil Defense, we were granted permission from Alabama Public Television and the Forest Service to move the repeater to its present location on Penn Mountain. During this time our frequency was re-coordinated to 146.960 (-).
One of our Charter Members Norris, N4IDX, passed away and working with his family and the Vanity Call Sign System, we were able to obtain his call for our club call.
Many year have passed since our humble beginnings, and we have been fortunate to have a great relationship with the EMA, now with our 5th EMA Director. Our club’s desire and pronounced intent in our incorporation to support the EMA and having dedicated, concerned hams, has proven to be vital to our success.
Our commitment to the NWS SKYWARN Program is also evident as 146.96 is part of the local area linked frequency, and is vital link to all amateurs in the North Alabama area, during times of severe weather.
We currently sponsor our Bi-Annual Tailgate Party, held on the last Saturday in April and September of each year and we are active on Field Day of each year. We also have three secondary repeaters, two UHF repeaters (442.425 [+]; 444.775 [+]) and a back up VHF repeater (145.27 [-]).
Many friends have been made as a result of our organization, and many have provided their time, efforts, and dollars to make our Club a success.
Our Lifetime and Honorary Members…
– Lehman Wood, Civil Defense Director (Deceased)
– Hillard Frost, Lawrence County EMA Director (Retired)
– Greg Walker, WA4III
– Neil Taylor, N4ION
– Harlie Henson, KB4CRG
– Tammy Vinson, KK4LIB
– Johnny Cantrell, Lawrence County EMA Director
Our members who are now Silent Keys…
– Norris Howard, N4IDX
– Pete Armor, WA4TLD
– Gary Wells, K4CZG
– Lloyd McCulloch, N4KIF
– Clifford Robison, N4AKW