From Small Beginnings

A Brief History of the Guelph,
Kitchener-Waterloo and 
South Waterloo Amateur Radio Clubs.

Produced by the Kitchener-Waterloo Amateur Radio Club.

Chapter Eight
The KWARC Coffee Club

Location: The Texas Bar-B-Q Restaurant, Waterloo Square Shopping Mall, Waterloo, Ontario.

The information presented here was effective as of 20 July 1983 and since that time several of the members have become Silent Keys. marked as (SK) and updated May 1998

  • Jack Gervais VE3JAG President (SK)
  • Newt Good VE3CY (SK)
  • Jim Sweet VE3AAI (SK)
  • Jim Camden VE3GZ
  • Albert Wilson VE3BJZ (SK)
  • Eric Enns VE3BB
  • Norman Friedmann VE3NQR (SK)
  • Jack Ross VE3NQT
  • Jack Fortune VE3VO
  • Bob Clark VE3DIZ
  • Marshall Killen VE3KK (SK)
  • Ross Carruthers VE3CEA (SK)
  • Ralph Bartlett VE3BJX (SK)
  • Gord McPhail VE3IH
  • Charlie Shedden VE3NV
  • Aaron Kuehl Studying
  • Ken Taylor VE3CHN
  • John Enns VE3AIM
  • Lincoln Wisemen VE3LZT  (SK)
  • Ted Welsman VE3WW (SK)
  • Eric Rush VE3XL (SK)
  • Gordon Clark VE3HDA (SK)
  • Lorne Dykeman VE3BOV
  • Carl Wittie VE3GUU (SK)
  • Earl Stickney VE3QW (SK)

In the middle of the summer we would expect the attendance to be down what with several members away at their cottages. But that Wednesday was typical.

You may wonder " Who started this club"?, " What do they do?", " What does it cost them?", and several other questions including these " What is it that draws these men together?" and " What do they get out of it that draws them back week after week?".

Let's look back a few years - particularly 1973. In that year I met an old old friend of mine Ted Welsman VE3WW recently retired from Bell Canada and now living in Waterloo. Ted was a long time commercial ship radio operator, also an amateur radio operator. I had known Ted since early 1915.

I invited Ted to have a coffee in K-Mart and a chat. He liked this contact with the past and soon we were meeting each Wednesday at 10:00am. Soon we added another man, Eric Rush, a Federal Department of Transport radio inspector who was not in good health. The outing, the discussions and so on were a tonic to Mr. Rush and he enjoyed the weekly meetings.

So the KWARC Coffee Club started in this small way and progressed rapidly. The members are all radio men and really enjoy radio talk of technical topics, such as satellites, etc.

It is a peculiar club. It has no organization, no membership, no dues, no official meetings, no secretary, no minutes and in fact nothing but a group of technical men talking about their favourite subject. I am theoretically the President and do any "official" acts, when and if required. Mr. Marshall S. Killen VE3KK is the unofficial secretary and looks after any secretarial work if and when required.

The club also arranges for visits to see things of interest, such as TV stations and transmitters, DOC stations, etc. The club does not require financing. Each man buys his own coffee or tea and contributes ten cents to a gratuity for the waitress. When a club member dies the club helps the executor of the estate to sell the radio equipment belonging to the deceased.

The Coffee Club assists the KWARC in projects in which they can help such as Public Relations exhibits, Emergency Measures projects, contests, conventions, parades, etc. Back in 1975 the Coffee Club presented a three day demonstration in Fairview Mall in Kitchener. Working equipment, message handling, etc. were of great interest to the public. The Coffee Club also helps the KWARC in welcoming and looking after visitors from other clubs, provinces and countries.

In 1970 the Coffee-Club were asked by the Doon Pioneer Village to recreate a Morse Sounder that could be used as part of the Petersburg Train Station that was moved to the village.  Ross Carruthers led the project who along with CNR telegrapher Norm Perrault VE3DEQ developed a rotary disk that opened and closed the relay thus sounding the message in Railway Morse "greetings from the doon pioneer village".

Norm VE3DEQ is shown above during a recent cleaning and lubrication of the code wheel.

The members of the Coffee Club originated a birthday system for themselves. When a member's birthday occurs in a particular week of the year, the member arranges with the restaurant for a supply of doughnuts for the Wednesday meeting nearest his actual birth date. The member pays the cost of the doughnuts plus everyone's coffee or tea.

The so called President of the Coffee Club arranges a special party for the Wednesday meeting between Christmas and January 1st of the new year. The president felt the wives of the members should be compensated for the absence of their husbands every Wednesday. He proposed the wives should be invited to this special party and the suggestion was very much welcomed.

At the 1982 party there were 37 persons present, including the wives of 2 deceased members of the club. This party meant that the wives learned about the various members and their wives and the whole thing was a great success. It appears to be a standard feature now of the club's operations.

The club continuous to grow and may require a move to quarters which will care for the increased number of members. In the meantime we enjoy each other and the camaraderie which exists between the members.

Some of the activities which the club put on were a trip to the Ontario Hydro Nuclear Power station at the Bruce on Lake Huron in June 1980, a visit to the D.O.C. monitoring station at Acton on June 6, 1983 and the Amateur Radio Demonstration at Fairview Mall in Kitchener on April,14,15 and 16,1977.


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