Morris Radio Club, Inc.

W2YD – E-Mail: 

Club History

Author: Ed Weed, K2BO (SK)

The first Morris Radio Club was founded shortly after WW-I and closed in the early 1930’s. The club had a small membership (names and callsigns are no longer known) and had a ham shack -meeting room at the home of a member in Morristown.

The present Morris Radio Club traces its roots back to the Spring of 1941 when several local amateurs formed a disaster communications unit for the Red Cross. Needed equipment for the headquarters control station and the mobile units were constructed by the amateurs. Many drills were conducted using this equipment including a simulated disaster on December 7, 1941. Most of the amateurs participating in that drill didn’t find out about the real disaster, Pearl Harbor, until they returned home and were greeted by weeping wives. The amateurs associated with the Red Cross disaster communications unit were among the first in the nation to be activated under the War Emergency Service (WERS). Under WERS, the amateurs established and equipped WERS radio units in Morristown, Morris Plains and Morris Township and after WW-II continued to support communications for the Red Cross.

On February 23, 1949, twenty-four amateur radio operators including Guernsey Day W2OYH (SK), Art Lince W2DAE(SK), Tom McCann K2CM (SK), Bayman McWhan W2GAX (SK), Ben Orchard W2WCM, Pent Sumner K2BI (SK), Jim Troe W2ZWD(SK), Frank Walters W2OEW(SK), Ed Weed K2BO(SK), and Tom and Elizabeth Winternitz W2YTH(SK) / W2YTI met to consider formation of a radio club. Those who joined later and who were or are still active in the club are Harry Dellicker W2RCP(SK), Arnie Freeman W2YD (SK), Ed Ladd W2IDZ (SK), Ron Levy K2CO, Bill Rawson K2AX(SK), John Schrage W2WKL(SK), Kay Sanders W2WCL (SK), and Bill Wadsworth W2ZKE. The initial Constitution and By-Laws of the Morris Radio Club were formally adopted by the membership on June 14, 1949. The first President was Tom McCann and the first Treasurer was Guernsey Day.

During WW-II, there were many spotting stations on the East coast to watch for enemy planes. A very sensitive device was developed that would detect the sound of an approaching aircraft before it was audible to human ears. Both this device and the later design, construction and installation of the first air traffic control system at the Morristown Municipal Airport were done by Bayman McWhan, one of the above mentioned founders of the Morris Radio Club. The club has always been active in community affairs and is proud of its support of various Morris County Civil Defense organizations and public service groups in the years following WW-II.

Now, the club is very active in providing radio communications for parades, walk-a-thons, bike and foot races, some Boy Scout functions, and special celebrations such as Morristown’s First Night. Many of the club members are active in the county and local Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) groups. Some club members recently built, equipped and donated a “Ham Shack” for the Boy Scouts at Camp Allamuchy.

Editor’s Note: The following paragraph has been edited to reflect the current status of the Club.

The Morris Radio Club currently consists of about 20 members most living in the greater Morris County area. The club meets the third Monday of each month (except for January and February when the meetings are on the fourth Monday due to school closings) at the Madison Community House in Madison. Club programs are informative, timely and delivered by experts in various technical fields. Activities of the club include conducting training classes for individuals interested in becoming a radio amateur as well as classes for amateurs wanting to upgrade their class of FCC license, an annual June dinner instead of a meeting, and a December Diner for members, their spouses and their friends. The club has a tradition of participation in the ARRL sponsored Field Day. The original club call, W2OYH, was recently changed to W2YD honoring Arnie Freeman.