History of the Club

In 1978…Some dedicated amateur radio operators saw an opportunity and acted on it. Those hams realized there was not a general interest amateur radio club on the west side of Portland. Some of these had been members of a previous club based in Newberg that had existed primarily as a “contest club.” It had been known as Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club. Founding members: George Morgan WB3ELG, Bob Orr KB7CC, Norm Roberts KB7CD, Warren Winner W7JDT, and Mac McQuary W7KBR, held the first meetings at Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus.


Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club - Our Story

A group gathered at the Rock Creek Campus of Portland Community College for the purpose of creating a new club. Present were: George Morgan WB3ELG; Bob Orr KB7CC; Norm Roberts KB7CD; Warren Winner W7JDT; Mac McQuary W7KBR. The club moved to Sambo's Restaurant which was located at 185th Avenue and Sunset Highway in Hillsboro.  Soon outgrowing the meeting room, a moved to Elmers' Restaurant in Beaverton Mall. Programs were produced by Bob Orr and a newsletter was created by Norm Roberts. Membership in this new club hovered in the low 20s. Dues were set at $5.00 a year!

The first project was getting incorporation papers signed and validated by the State of Oregon (May 8, 1978).  Officers elected for 1978 were George Morgan WB3ELG, President; Dave Marlow AF7G, Vice President; Bill Altman WB7CHU, Secretary; and, Warren Winner W7JDT, Trustee. Dave Marlow AF7G was selected President in 1979 with Bob Orr KB7CC as his Vice President.

The 1980 Board included Al Berg, W7SIC, President; Winn Tatro WB7TYR, Vice President; and Carter Harrison WB7WHO, Secretary-Treasurer. This group developed a vision of growth for the club, setting a goal to double membership during 1980 and to gain recognition as a Special Service Club within the ARRL. It reached eighty members (nearly tripling in size) and the ARRL granted recognition of the club as a Special Service Club. The club set their 1981 membership goal at one-hundred-seventy-five.

During the early 80s, the club hosted a booth at the Clark County Hamfair, held a campout in the Gorge, partied with a Barn Dance and Halloween event and created a “contest group.” A monthly raffle was run by Doug McMurdo W7XI, as a fund raiser for club activities and equipment purchases. The first Christmas Party was held at the Bergs, who more than filled their home with hams.

Special Interest Groups and Club Jackets first appeared in 1981. The members were actively providing leadership for amateur radio in Oregon with Section Manager Dale Justice K7WWR, and Washington County Emergency Coordinator Wes Allen W7WWG as members. The Rusty Key Contest was established to encourage CW activity on ten meters. The contest was held quarterly on the night after club meetings. More than twenty-six members participated on a regular basis.

The Club Meetings moved to North’s Chuck Wagon to allow larger gatherings and a longer meeting. The club made a commitment to provide care for members and families with serious illnesses and during times of loss. Don Stanley KC7CN was the first recipient of the club’s concern while ill. The Christmas Party returned to the Berg’s home with one hundred-twenty in attendance in 1981.

Once again, in 1982, the Club moved it’s meetings to the PGE Building at Murray and Scholls Ferry Road. We needed the seating space (300) and facilities for programs and food service. Again outgrowing the meeting space, and a desire for food-service led to a move to North's Chuck Wagon relieved the pressure. The club reached 285 in membership during this period.  Bunny Hunts were established once a month. A Survey was undertaken to better serve the membership. The average age of members came in at 41 and most members were General Class licensees 44%, with 16% being Novice or Technician Class and 28% Advanced or Extra Class.

In June, 1982 the club began assisting with the Oregon State Ham Convention held at Seaside. A “Club Motel” was selected and booked for members attending the convention. The Club found it difficult to get members to “pay up” $5.00 annual dues in a timely manner, but otherwise was running smoothly, with more than a hundred at many club meetings. The Club newsletter introduced Ollie, the club mascot, designed by Carl J. Henniger KA7GHR (SK), to the club.

In 1983, the club moved meeting sites once again, this time to the Beaverton Elks Club. The following year, the Seaside Convention became the ARRL Northwestern Division Convention, SEA-PAC. Club membership reached 229, the highest in our history.  Our bylaws were amended to make a quorum reasonable for a larger club. It had been 75% of active members, or 172 members under the older provision. More than two hundred-fifty newsletters were being printed on a club copier each month.  Some editions went to thirty-two pages. The Christmas Dinner Party moved to a Christmas Party as a potluck meal at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in 1985.

In 1994, the club doubled its annual dues to $ 10.00 to allow for more projects and cover the cost of printing and mailing the monthly newsletter. Greg Milnes W7AGQ ARRL Northwestern Division Vice Director and former club president (1986) became Division Director with the untimely passing of Director Mary Lou Brown NM7N in 1998.

The Club newsletter became The OSCILLATOR in the 90s. With a new millennium a new editor, Everett Curry W6ABM picked up the keyboard from Dale LeBarron W7FBP. Dale carried this monthly role since it was given up by Les Turner KB7SSE in 1997. At the new millennium the club had a membership of one hundred-sixty-three.

Club dues increased to $ 15.00 in 2003 with an action by the membership to continue increasing annual dues until it reached $ 20.00 in 2008. The club first offered an email version of THE OSCILLATOR in 2004. Most members elected to receive the electronic version.  The Club membership stood at 174 at the end of 2004.

Don Stettler KK7TN picked up the Presidential role in September 2003 with the untimely passing of Harold Landers.  Don became the longest serving President, continuing through 2006.  The second longest tenure was held by Betty Mickley N7REX who served for three years. JD Fort K7JDF took up the reins from Betty in 2000.  He has served on the Board in other roles and taken major leadership in public demonstrations of amateur radio, including Field Day. 

Stability in leadership has been a strong factor in OTVARC over its history. Five living Presidents in the last decade continue in some leadership position in the club in 2007.

In 2007, the membership stood at 177 at the beginning of the year.  Robert Crocker WN7O, active in club leadership for several years, was elected President for 2007 and served in 2008 and 2009.  Bob worked to strengthen ties with the Washington County Amateur Radio Foundation, Washington County ARES, and MARS, personally carrying leadership roles in each.  

The 30th Anniversary of the club was celebrated in 2008.  By mid-2009 the club exceeded 210 members and is splitting the seams of its meeting site. This Washington County based club continues to serve a wide area as a "full service" amateur radio club.  A renewed emphasis on identifying member interests and featuring them in both programs and activities has made this a strong year.   

Patrick Roberson W7PAT served in 2010 and 2011 as president (due to a shift in program year, Pat served until May 2012). His administration featured a search for a larger meeting place, during which the club tried several locations. Settling on an invitation from Warren Winner W7JDT to consider Sunset Presbyterian Church, the club found a new home.

Herb Hirst K7HLH was elected to serve as president in 2012. He led the club through the celebration of its 35th year in 2013 and strengthened the structure of the SEA-PAC Committee and the club's commitment to this project. During this period a transition in leadership for the Convention too place. Herb was the first presiding officer who licensed as a result of the club's education programs. At the close of 2014, the club membership stood at 212, its highest total to date.

[Al Berg, longtime Club Historian, promises to correct early history data above]



Updated December 30, 2009     Send web updates or corrections to otvarc webmaster.