There were twenty-four people at the first meeting of the RHARC on March 8, 1976; three hams and twenty-one individuals who desired to obtain an amateur radio license. The three hams were...
- Gary Mork (WA6WFC)
- Bernie Hanks (WB6ISR)
- Thomas R. Polley (WA6GEV)
The scene was the Board Room of the Rio Hondo College in the City of Whittier. A former teacher of the College’s Radio Communications class had been
Bob Gemmell (W6GNS). Unfortunately, he died suddenly and in Bob’s memory his call was taken by the newly formed club as the Club Call.
Charter members of the Club were: Kirk Schneider (WA6ADJ), Daniel Granda (LU8AEO), Anthony Esparza (WB6DOK), Andrew Acevedo (WA6DPR), John Nida (WA6DVX), Annette Thompson (AK6E), Jerry Delp (WB6EES), Ken Miller (WB6EEZ), Bill Overman (WB6ELG), Jeff Glassman (WA6ENI), Larry Schwalley (WB6FWR), Roy Johnson (WA6GCV), Richard Thompson (AK6H), Gordon Roberts (WA6JTA), Joseph Joiner (AC6L), Bob Runyen (WB6OSQ) and Cathy Runyen (WB6OSR).
By the second meeting, the Club Constitution and By-Laws were written and adopted. At the end of the year, the Club had over thirty members and established a tradition of holding a picnic; Christmas party; and an annual birthday party, generally on the second Monday in March. During the early years (1976 to 1980), the Club numbered over 100 members.
Our first President was Tom Polley (1976-1978) with Gary Bader (WB6RXW) as Vice-President. In 1979, Wayne Hodaway (WA6WAZ) and Roy W. Johnson (WA6GCV) were President and Vice-President, respectively and in 1980, Michael Efseaff (K6JSY) and Dave Oudin (WA6RDQ) served a term as President and Vice-President, respectively. In 1981-1982, Vi Barrett (W6CBA) served as President and succeeded by Tom in 1983. Rick Wilson (KF6RP) served a term as President in 1984, followed by Don Barrett (KA6DJK) in 1985 and succeeded again by Tom Polley in 1986. During the eighties, other members who served in various capacities were: Bill Girard (K6SBV), Bill Overman (WB6ELG), Cathy Runyen (WB6OSR) and Bernie Hanks who served as the first Treasurer of the Club and held the position for many years.
The Club repeater system in the Whittier Hills was established in 1977, filling the geographic gap between Los Angeles and the Anaheim hills. The original system was purchased from WR6ALH, with donations from the Club members and other users. The 2-meter, open access repeater has, over the years, proved to be one of the most reliable and popular repeaters in the Los Angeles basin. Former organizations who used the repeater were the Downey Amateur Radio Club, Edison ARN and the Los Angeles Unified School District ARA. The Club used to hold Hidden Transmitter hunts (T-Hunts) on the third Sunday of each month during the seventies and eighties on the Two-Meter Repeater. The purpose of the T-Hunt was to hone the hunter’s skills in the use of Direction Finding (DF) equipment in locating the hidden transmitter. The starting point of the T-Hunt was generally near the microwave tower on Bell River Road off of Colima Road in the Whittier Hills. Winners were judged on the basis of least time and shortest distance from the starting point to the hidden transmitter. Refreshments at the hidden transmitter location became the focal point of each month’s T-Hunt.
The Club currently has three active repeaters:
Two-meter: 146.175 (+600 Hz / PL 156.7 Hz)
220-MHz: 223.940 (-5 MHz / PL 100 Hz)
440-MHz: 445.560 (-5 MHz / PL 100 Hz)
We have a Wednesday night net on the Two-meter and 440 MHz repeaters at 8:00 PM. We have a roll call and Club news report. Visitors are welcomed to check in to the net.
The Rio Hondo ARC is very active in the promotion of Amateur Radio. We support the City of Whittier in emergency communications including Slow Scan Television (SSTV) in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Through Vi Barrett, the Club provides ham operators for the 5K walk sponsored by the Shelter’s Right Hand, who give support for abused women and children. The Club also has a cadre of instructors who teach the Technician License training class with an accelerated method of instruction. Members of the Club are also active with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Disaster Communications Service.
The Rio Hondo Amateur Radio Club Meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at the Parnell Park Community Center, 7:00 PM, at 15390 Lambert Road at Scott Avenue in the City of Whittier. Guests are cordially welcomed.