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It shall be our purpose to further amateur radio by serving the public; to promote technical knowledge, fraternalism, and individual operating proficiency; and to advance the general interest and welfare of amateur radio in the community.


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The History Of The 
Massillon Amateur Radio Club

 How Did It All Begin ?



Seated left to right Daniel Trubey - W8BAK, WD4NRT,; George Lightfoot - W8KH; Karl "Pee Wee" France - W8FMD, W5QJE, WB8RIO; George Wallace - W8ENA, W7ENA.
Standing left to right Laverne Tragesser - W8HFK; Bill North - W8NP; Charles Schwab - W8ALT; Bill Trook - W8DV, W8DJJ, W4WFC; Mink P. Adams - 8DYB; Harry Hamilton; Russell Schott - W8FMN; Bob Bahney - W8WM; and Ralph Budd - W8EIC

    The early beginnings of the Massillon Amateur Radio Club date back to about 1927. The photo above is believed to have been taken around 1933 at the home of Ralph Budd - W8EIC and depicts Massillon's first radio club. It was during this time that club meeting locations were rotated among members homes. War time arrived and Civil Defense became a part of daily life here in Massillon. Although the club existed without a permanent meeting place, it was still involved in public service such as the wartime radio classes for "future" military members. In 1934 the club became affiliated with the ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio and we received our 50 year plaque in 1984.

    Sometime around the early 1950's, club member Frank Wagner - W8FSM may have been instrumental in obtaining our first real home ... the basement of the No 2 Firehouse. Frank was a long time fireman, and was routinely rotated to No 2 and could "watch over" this new group.

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CIRCA   1950's .....  "Radio Hams Organize Club to Assist CD."

Amateur Radio Operators here have formed a club and plan to obtain a station license from the FCC to serve a Civil Defense Network. The "HAM" operators will meet tonight at 7 PM at the CD Control Center in the No 2 Fire Station to discuss organization plans and hold a practice transmitting and receiving exercise.

The exercise will include radio contact with Ohio's Third Area defense headquarters near Alliance and with Civil Defense workers in Canton. All amateur operators in the area are invited to attend. Frank Wagner has been named president of the operators new club, and David Yob is Vice - President. The group is part of the CD Communications staff headed by Director Al Henry.

    For Civil Defense purposes, radio communications are now operated on a license for a portable station with five mobile units. The club was organized to meet FCC requirements for a fixed station license. After the radio exercise, a motion picture will be shown. The club also plans to select it's official name tonight.

    The above newspaper article and picture depict the "reorganization" of the MARC and announced our inclusion into the newly formed Civil Defense organization in Massillon.  

Seated, left to right are:

George Turkal - W8YHU (Silent Key), Thomas Berbari - W8GBJ (Active), David Poland - W8FRB (Active), Joseph Mrofka - W8BRN (Silent Key).

Standing, left to right are:

David Yob - W8NND (Inactive), Leroy Burckhart - W8CZA (Silent Key), William J. North - W8NP (Silent Key), Robert Rogers - W8NWR (Silent Key), Ed Landefeld - W8DCC (Silent Key), and Leo Yob - W8KYY (Silent Key).

    The No. 2 Fire Station (pictured on the left) would remain our home for the next 35 years. This old No. 2 Fire Station was eventually abandoned by the city around 1980 and moved to a new station. The club stayed at the old firehouse (it was then being used by the city electrical department) until 1985 when the city turned off all the utilities.

    It was then that the City of Massillon stepped in and the club joined with the Massillon Senior Citizens Center and the Western Stark Red Cross Chapter to form a three way partnership on the third floor of the Senior Center. It would be intended that the Center would serve as a disaster relief center when necessary, and the Red Cross would be in control. The MARC function would then be to provide emergency communications using Amateur Radio and also manning Red Cross channels using equipment installed for that purpose.

    During those early years the club grew steadily in membership. As repeaters became popular, the club constructed a 2 meter repeater on what was then the local simplex frequency. Today the repeater serves a tri-county area from its current home on an old railroad microwave tower. 

    For the last 16 years the club has been located at the Massillon Senior Citizens Center in downtown Massillon. Easily distinguished from other buildings as you enter town, the building sports a large multi-colored mural and a 60 foot tower sporting a log periodic antenna from the roof !

    Today the MARC is over 100 members strong, a diverse radio hobbyist group that is involved in many facets of Amateur Radio. Backed by a strong community spirit, active in both local and national public service, communications repeaters, skywarn spotting networks - we are an active and involved radio club. Affiliated with the ARRL and achieving Special Service Club status, we will continue to grow and prosper well into the next millennium. In 2002, the Massillon Amateur Radio Club will celebrate our 75th Anniversary.  



A big thanks to club historian - Perry Ballinger, W8AU for his assistance in the development in this history of the Massillon Amateur Radio Club !




    Our oldest club member signed off for the last time Wednesday evening, at Brennfield Nursing home in Orrville, where he had resided for the last three years. Although Roy spent almost all of his adult years in Massillon, Orrville was his birthplace and now final resting place.

    Roy had been active from Brennfield on HF and 2M FM up until last winter, when it appeared he was not going to be able to continue with ham operation. Son Dick then removed the gear and antennas from the residence.

    Roy was first licensed around 1930, in Orrville, and moved to Massillon in 1931. He was in Appliance Repair at Ohio Edison (then known as Ohio Public Service Company) until the mid-thirties when he joined the fledgling Radio Department which consisted of two persons. He took care of the original Link 2-way equipment which operated near 33 MHz on AM. (No FM at that time. FM came along after WW2)

    The Radio Department grew with returning veterans of WW2, increasing the in size to about 5 or 6 people. By the time of Roy’s retirement in 1972 he was in charge of a group of 8. A number of these were members of the Massillon Amateur Radio Club at various times. After his retirement he worked for Ohio Edison as a microwave construction consultant, overseeing the building of the company’s first microwave network. (6 GHz)

    For many years Roy handled ‘phone patches for NOAA oceanographic survey ships and their crews, using 20 and 15 meters. This went on even after a couple of eye operations had left him blind. His shack and equipment was modified with tape markers and he used "audible" tone indicators to indicate proper transmitter output and SWR. In can be truly said that blindness did not slow him down one bit. He even worked on his own gear, including the High Voltage sections of his 1.5 kW linear amps, sometimes using the "eyes" of xyl Arlene.

    Roy’s talents were not limited to radio, however, as he was very active in local Square Dance circles over the years, and also served as a tour host for Johnson Tours of Akron. These tours took him and Arlene around the world, through air travel and ship cruises. My first acquaintance with Roy was as a youngster of 11 or 12 when my Square Dancer parents traveled to many functions where Roy and Arlene were in charge. (I would later on work for Roy, moving from Goodyear Aerospace to Ohio Edison in 1968.)

    Roy’s involvement with our club began in 1931, when club meetings were held in member’s homes. It was this way until after WW2, when Civil Defense organization mandated a comm center at the old #2 Fire Station at 9th and Tremont SW. Roy was in a group of hams that "reorganized" the club as a participant of CD in 1952, and appeared at a lot of meetings until the late fifties. His last Field Day participation, (as I remember) was in 1962 at the farm of W8OOS in Stanwood, where the club exercised it’s then newly acquired club call W8NP. (Formerly K8APE)

    Club participation after that was sporadic, as he was getting heavily involved in other time-consuming activities, but he always treasured his membership in our group and did come to occasional club meetings, even up until 1999. I’m sure he felt his "active" participation was no longer needed and he could stay in the background, since the club had continued to prosper after his earlier guidance and help. His most recent contributions were of a monetary nature and also included equipment and a generator.

    We will all miss Roy....from the old-timers who knew him personally, up to the newcomers who heard him daily on our 147.18 repeater, looking for any "local yokels" who might want to chat for a few minutes. His senior age did not limit him in conversing with the youngest of hams, and with a few exceptions he was "sharp as a tack" until he went QRT last winter.

    By the time you read this, visiting hours and funeral will be past. Flowers will have been sent and discarded, and an era of sorts will have ended. But Roy and his contributions to Massillon area Ham Radio will continue on with us in memory. 73 and S-9 signals always, to Radio W8CZA.




 This page was last updated on  12/31/09

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