The South Bay Amateur Radio Club found its start as the Carson Amateur Radio Club in 1971 – 1972, having about 30 members. It was founded in the early 1970’s to fill the void between the Marine Club of the South Bay in the West, the Associated Radio Club of Long Beach in the East, and the United Radio Club of San Pedro in the South. Jim Holland, W6UDE, was elected the first President and Art Reynolds the Secretary. These two started many a thing which has been carried over to our present day South Bay Amateur Radio Club. The” Arc Over” was named in about 1974. As explained by Art-WA6PQY, its purpose was to provide information and knowledge, by “Arcing Over” to a few local hams.
Many Public Service events provided the continued growth of the Carson ARC by poviding opportunities for supporting events with communications such as Walk-a-Thons, Bike races, Hobby shows and numerous other events. The WR6AVQ was one of the first 220 repeaters in the South Bay and found its origin during that time period. As a matter of fact, it found a home in Palos Verdes and was used for the first time, with some minor problems, for the March of Dimes event late 1977. The President at the time was Clarence Carson, K6PUI, (no relation to my knowledge to the City of Carson). Joe Lanphen, WB6MYD, also found his spot and was elected Secretary in 1978. One other familiar name was Dick Perkings, W6ATT, who was elected Vice President in that year’s election. Both Dick and Joe filled each and every spot as officers for many yearsj, including President for Joe in 1975 and 1976.
In 1982 with Scott Simpson, KI6BIA, as president, the Carson ARC Club found that the name isolated the group from covering more activities in the South Bay. Scott developed the present day Logo used on our club gear, and offered new T shirts with the logo on it. The club was suffering from lack of members and meeting places and had to reach out to the ham community in order to provide support for the public service events which requested our help. Field Day 1983 was held in Wilderness Park, Redondo Beach and the 1984 Olympics were asking for support. Field Days prior to this had used a spot at Cal State Dominguez until it was no longer free. At that time, the FCC would only offer 4 test sessions a year, and then discussion started about allowing local groups to provide a testing service to the ham community. The ARRL “Special Service Club” designation was given to the South Bay Amateur Radio Club in 1982, and we soon found ourselves overwhelmed by requests for our services.
Ray Grace, WA6OWM, joined us in 1988 and suggested we try Blue Ridge Mountain for our 1988 Field Day site. This was done with some success by the diehard group participating. Dick, W6ATT, managed to have the City of Torrance declare “Amateur Radio Week” during that period as well. This turned out to be a welcome publicity event and was much appreciated. Things were starting to move in the right direction for the club. Field Day 1990 was held on top of the Hughes parking structure in El Segundo. A much better Arc Over was started by Tony Reeves, N6XQU, utilizing his computer skills.
Ray, WA6OWM, was elected President in 1990 and Tony, N6XQU, started classes for new hams. The March of Dimes Walk was held in Marina Del Rey for the first time. The “Special Service Club” designation from ARRL provided the club with extra benefits. Hamcon 1992 was on the horizon and our participation as a Delegate Club was accepted. Our 1992 Field Day on top of the Hughes parking structure was rudely interrupted by the earthquake that year.
The South Bay ARC’s first ever “VE Session” was held on the 2nd Saturday of even months by Tony, AB6GA (new call, formerly N6XQU). Meetings were held for the first time at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in June, 1993. The club held its first Field Day on top of the parking structure at Torrance Memorial Medical Center West parking structure this year. QSL card sorting, one letter, was started by Ray, WA6OWM, on a monthly basis as requested by the 6th area QSL Bureau. Many new and very interesting special events were initiated or started in the 1990’s leading to an increase in membership beyond belief.
The ARRL SW Division Convention was held at the Los Angeles Marriott Hotel by the airport in 1992, the club actively participating by providing Hospitality and Parking assistance. This was also a time for our membership to come together and wear our blue jackets and polo shirts with the embroidered logo, just like our present club gear. Meeting locations became a problem due to the numbers of members attending. The Torrance Airport community room was provided at no cost and was ideal for a number of years until demolition took care of that. A search was on for a new location. This was found at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center by our members Debbie and Bob Smith. Bob worked at TMMC as an engineer and was our contact with the Hospital. We did promise to help set up an emergency radio communication room within the hospital and further assist by providing support when needed. In 1995 we provided Santa Claus communications for kids in the Pediatric ward for the first time to the delight of hospital staff. George Fishback, KE6SBY, known as Dr. George the weather man from channel 7 honored our request for his presence at the Torrance Earthquake Fair that year, and he accepted an Honorary SBARC Membership. Another interesting event during that period was our very first amateur radio blood drive organized by Dick Perkings, W6ATT, in conjunction with TARA and the Hughes Amateur Radio Club. One more item during 1995 was the installation of the new officers for 1996 during our holiday event in December.
Lots of other milestone events and activities followed. The Torrance Armed Forces Parade during the month of May came into the picture. The club assisted the Torrance PD in staging the participating units for the parade. Sometimes as many as 5 different Divisions took part in the parade. This was all accomplished due to Dick, W6ATT, and his contact with the City of Torrance. The club picked up W6SBA as a vanity call, and with the 220 repeater announcing our call all over the southland it became well known throughout the area.
VE sessions are being held on a regular basis on the 2nd Saturday of even months. The annual Field Day has become a very important event for the club. It is now being held on top of the West Parking Structure at Torrance Memorial. The hospitality the Medical Center offers is greatly appreciated, and we continue to nurture our relationship with them.
The Club sponsors many social event such as picnics and luncheons. Breakfast after the TRW swap meet is a popular event, as well as so many other gatherings. We have had some challenges, as some may see us as having an aging membership which needs less physical activities, but loves social gatherings. These days, cell phones and other technologies are taking over, and it is proving challenging to get younger people involved.
The membership numbers have been maintained as a result of the hard work of the officers. The club repeater remains active in providing free access for our members, as well as the ham community at large. Respect and admiration for the club, and being recognized by our fellow hams, is an important goal for any club. The South Bay Amateur Radio Club, W6SBA, celebrates at least 45 years as a beacon for new hams, as well as the older hams in our midst. We thank all those having made this success for our club possible.