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Russellville High School Amateur Radio Club - WA4FPX (historical)

Earlier this year, Russellville H.S. principal Rex Mayfield, KD4MQD told me of a fascinating discovery:  he had uncovered materials from an amateur radio club that once existed at the school!  Though I knew that long-time amateur Bill Robinson (AC4W/ex-W4WLR, SK 1996) taught science there in the '60's and '70's, I did not realize that he had been involved in promoting amateur radio as a student activity.

Looking back on my academic career at RHS from 1997-2001, I can only think of four licensed students that attended; I was really the only one that was active.  Interest, like it seems to be in many places these days, just wasn't there.  But oh, to have been an RHS student in 1961...

In 1961, science instructors Bill Robinson, W4WLR (later AC4W, now SK) and Ernest Clevenger, K4NMV, built a 6-meter station from the ground up and led at least five RHS students to become licensed amateurs themselves.

The club was formed as part of a grant awarded by the American Chemical Society based on an application sent in by Clevenger that proposed a study of 6-meter propagation in an attempt to solve "UHF communication problems existing between north and south Alabama posed by the elevation of Spruce Pine Mountain [...]."

A Heathkit HW-10 kit (image & specs, pops) was purchased to use as the transceiver.  Every student in the General Science course was allowed to assemble at least one part of the radio, with the major electronic assembly done by Clevenger himself, with assistance from students.  They also built a 4-element beam that was installed on a 52' power pole installed by Russellville Utilities and was turned with a CDR rotor.

I have reproduced the report in full here -- take a look and find out who the student members were and what they accomplished!

New window with full text of report

The project also received coverage in the Franklin Citizen-Times.  You can click on the article image at right for a larger version (482k JPG, pops).  In some browsers, it may be necessary to click on the "larger" image to zoom in once it opens.

Copyright 1999-2005 Christopher Arthur