Oldest Amateur Radio Club in Mississippi…

I read this month’s CQ Magazine via my Zinio subscription on my iPad. Great way to read media with lots of interesting links as a click takes you there and back without losing your place!

One article is on the amateur radio history of Dedham MA. Using some historical Radio Service Bulletins from the U.S. Department of Commerce (who originally handled the rampantly growing “radio problem”), the author cross-referenced the early licensees for “Special Land Stations” to 1920 Census records. This created a neat table of data for each initial ham along with street address, occupation, and age. Really cool…if you live near Dedham!

Licensed Amateur Stations, 5th District, May 26, 1913


I thought, hey, who is really the oldest club in the state of Mississippi? I didn’t get much of a response from our Section Manager’s email query recently (but thanks anyway W5XX!).  I had issued a challenge to all clubs in Mississippi to document their year of origin, using the year their club license was granted or the first set of dated club minutes. Nada as far as responses. Well, this isn’t going to be easy, I thought. So looking a various club websites in the state didn’t produce much, with a couple of exceptions.

The Jackson Amateur Radio Club’s brochure on their website, msham.org, states:

The Jackson Amateur Radio Club (JARC), Mississippi’s oldest Amateur Radio club, was founded many years ago to promote Amateur Radio and provide resources to new and experienced radio operators.” (http://www.msham.org/documents/Brochure_front_back.pdf)

OK, that’s a definitive statement. I looked at W5YD, the club at Mississippi State University in Starkville, home of MFJ Enterprises and some other industry. I also looked at the University of Mississippi (commonly known as Ole Miss). Each club’s website suggests that they were issued an “experimental license” around 1920. Hmm. Well, that’s a long time ago!

The first bulletin issued by the Department of Commerce which contained listings of licensees is copied to this URL: http://earlyradiohistory.us/1913list.htm. It shows the following licensees in the 5th District. There was only a signal licensed awarded to anyone in Mississippi, a Mr. Clarence E. Albertson in Tupelo. Unless Mr. Albertson quickly formed what is now the Tupelo Amateur Radio Club, that may rule out Tupelo. I continued reading the Radio Service Bulletins located on the FCC website (http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/radio-service-bulletins-1915-1932). I struck pay-dirt with the February 1, 1920 Bulletin. As shown below, both Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College (5YD) and the University of Mississippi (5YE) were awarded “Special Land Station” licenses by the Department of Commerce in January 1920. Well, unless Mr. Albertson is the Godfather of the Tupelo Club, this fairly well settles it. Ole Miss and Mississippi State tie again!

Now, as President Reagan might have said to Premier Gorbachev on that Wall-thing: Jackson ARC, edit that misleading brochure! There are new “oldest clubs” around these here parts!
Have a Happy Fourth of July everyone!

RSB, February 1920


About k4fmh

Frank M. Howell is a amateur radio operator in the U.S. FCC call sign is K4FMH View all posts by k4fmh

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