(This is an unedited historical file from the archives of the Potomac Valley Radio Club and courtesy of club historian W3GN-sk)
The concept of a radio club to specialize in contest and operating activities in the Washington area was first discussed among the hams at the Pentagon's Army Signal Center following resumption of amateur radio at the close of World War II the emergence of the idea into reality is the saga of PVRC.
First organizational meetings were held during the summer of 1947 at the home of W4KFT in the Aurora Hills section of Arlington attended by a dozen or so active amateura from both sides of the Potomac and resulting in a club constitution with the following signatories as charter members: W3JTC, W4LRI, W4LUE, W9NWX/4 (now WONNX) W3MTQ (recently deceased), W3NHB, W4JUY, W4KCX, W4EFC, W4EFT, KH6DD/4 (now W4RQR), W4RXN (W3GRF-sk) and W4MKK (now W1AAE).
Objectives of the club as set forth in the constitution are outlined as follows:
"The promotion of interest in amateur radio communications and experimentation within the club; the maintenance of fraternalism and a high standard of conduct amongst its members; the fostering of participation in amateur activities."
The club was first called the "Aurora Hills Radio Club," but the present name was provided a few weeks after its organization"'when W9NNX/4 suggested: "Potomac Valley Radio Club" the name by which the club is now known to hams the world over.
The first election of officers was held in September 1947 with the following named to office:
President - N. C. Richardson W4EFT
Vice President - V. C. Clark W4KFC
Treasurer - L. Chertok W3GRF
Secretary - C. E. VanPelt W4LRI
Activities Manager - R. Mitchell KH6DD/4 (now W4RQR)
An intensive drive was started to obtain members who were contest and DX minded and a partial list of those who became members during the 1947-1948 season follows: W4CC, W4BFO, W4FF, W4IA, W4EMJ, W4WI, W3RJS/9 (now W4WKQ) WlMV/3 (now W1MV), W3KZQ, W4QYG, W4KZQ, W3FQB, W4KVM, W4WO, W3EIV, W3EIS, W4VE, W4LAP.
Prior to entering its first Sweepstakes competition on a club basis, PVRC challenged the Washington Radio Club to a match in that affair; the challenge was accepted with a gavel to be presented by the loser to the winning club. PVRC members assembled a total of 1,150,000 points in the 1947 "SS" and the gavel won now is used to conduct business at PVRC meetings. A subsequent challenge by the Washington Radio Club led to the presentation of a gavel to that club by PVRC following the 1948 VHF Sweepstakes. PVRC's forte thus was clearly established in the communication-frequency amateur bands below 30 Mc/S.
Meetings during the first three years were held in the WAR transmitter building at Battery Cove in Alexandria Virginia. The advent of the Korean war forced a move from the military establishment, and meetings thereafter were held either at members' homes (particularly during the summer) or at the Printcraft building in Washington, D. C. For the past several years meetings have been held in the Arlington Red Cross Chapter building on Arlington Blvd in Arlington, Va.
From the time of its formation, PVRC has avoided lengthy technical talks at meetings, concentrating instead on review of contests, DX or other activities engaged in by PVRC members in the period prior to the meetings. Discussion of forthcoming operating activities, club projects and other items of special interest such as brief talks byout-of-town visitors or forums on amateur radio political or legislative activity. The club sponsored W4IA for Director of the Roanoke Division in 1948 with results of landslide proportions. W4KFC was elected to the office of Virginia SCM and served a two year term. He was succeeded by PVRC member W4FF who served two terms.
Through the years as contest and DX minded hams from other parts of the world and this country have been in Washington they have visited the club. Some of those who have honored us with a visit are: KP6AB, KL7PJ, G3BXN, JA3AF, CE30K, DL4WA, TA3AA, HB9AW, ZC6JM, WIBDI, WLBUD, W210P, W60EG, W7PJS, W0PNQ, W6AVM, TI2BX, VE3EU, EP4VD, DL4DX, and many others.
Contest and DX-minded hams who came to live in the Washington area for various lengths of time usually joined the club. Among these have been W9ERU, W6MUR, W7ESK, K6GS, W90LU and W5DWT.
Past and present members of PVRC have operated from every continent. Calls of some of our members when overseas are of interest- DL4JN, TA3AA, SV7AA, KAGAA, KH6DD, KL7AWB, KZ5AZ, VP7NG, KG1JB, HC3AW, YV3AW, SV0WP, SVOWR, F08AJ, ZP3AW, KB6BJ, DL4AB, and many others. There is presently at least one active exPVRC member in each of the ten U. S. call areas. How many QSL cards do you have, thanks to PVRC?
Special projects or activities in which the club has engaged since its formation in 1947 include the following:
1 Novice night. A meeting was held in 1952 which was devoted entirely to the entertainment of the Washington area novices -- more than 50 NN's attended and carried away prizes.
2 Hamfest participation. PVRC members assisted in staging the Atlantic Division convention held in Washington in 1948. Six PVRC members attended the first postwar National Convention in Milwaukee, 12 attended the National Convention in Seattle, five made the trip to Houston, Texas for the Convention there, a representative group was in Chicago last year, and of course the entire club is on hand for the convention in Washington in 1958.
3 Club banquets. Banquets have been held on several occasions as "payoffs" on club competition and to celebrate special occasions. The former have been termed "crowfests" since the hosts have traditionally been the crow-eating losers in intra-club competition.
4 Joint meetings with Frankford Radio Club. A high spot on the PVRC annual calendar is the annual get- together with the Frankford Radio Club of Philadelpliia, Pa. These meetings alternate between Philadelphia and Washington; this year the meeting was in Philadelphia. They are usually held immediately following the annual ARRL SS contest. Each of these meetings has been an outstanding success; the objectives and interests of the two clubs are along the same lines and the meetings have demonstrated a high degree of compatibility of views and opinions.
Club members range in age from 15 to over sixty, the majority of the club members work for the U.S. Government in either civilian or military status. One of our most distinguished member is W3WV, Leo C. Young, who is one of the codiscoverers of the principles of radar. Several of the club members are recognized authorities in their fields of work.
For local rag-chewing and communications the club has a fixed frequency net on 146.7 Mc/s. Club membership averages about 40 but at times is well above that number.
We are rather proud of our records of performance in various contests on both a national and an international basis.
Our SS and ARRL DX accomplishments for example:
Year PVRC Score National Ranking
1947 1,149,780 Third
1948 3,496,634 First
1949 2,616,335 Second
1950 2,752,924 First
1951 2,947,619, First
1952 2,772,753 First
1953 2,730,341 First
1954 3,698,555 First
1955 3,178,487 First
1956 3,828,933 First
1957 4,287,698 Second
ARRL DX TESTS
Year PVRC Score National Ranking
1948 213,901 Seventh
1949 1,592,841 Fouth
1950 2,107,941 Third
1951 1,491,394 Second
1952 1,502,427 Second
1953 1,884,093 Second
1954 2,370,687 Second
1955 2,314,488 Third
1956 5,120,854 Second
1957 9,996,585 F irst
Once a member of PVRC, always a member, hence our membership is literally world wide. Our contesers, on the other hand, are local, those living in the Greater Washington Area. The active ones follow: W3AEL, W3BKE, K3CBQ, K3CIO, W3CPB, K3CYS, W3EIS, W3FYS, W3GRF, W3HVM, W3KA, W3KDP, W3KZQ, W3MCG, W3MFJ, W3MSK, W3MSR, W3RBW, W3RNY, W3TMZ, W3UE, W3VOS, W3WG, W3WSF, W3WU, W3WV, S3ZQ, W6HOH/3, W1UGW/3, W4ABY, W4APM, K4CAX, W4CC, W4CXA, W4ELG, W4EZL, W4GF, K4GMX,W4JAT, W4JEE, K4JZR, W4KFC, W4NH, W4PNK, W4RBY, W4RQR, W4TKR, W4WBC, W4YE, W4YHD, W4YZC AND W4ZM.
At present, our active overseas PVRC alumni are SV0WP (W3JTC), DL4AB (W3EIV), KB6BJ (W3PZW), SV0WR (W4YKO), K4ORQ IN EQ land and W4IA in DU land.
This, then is the Story of PVRC. You'll always hear us in full cry as active participants in any contest, be it Sweepstakes, CQ DX Test, ARRL DX Contest, in lesser voice in the Novice Roundup and the Communication Department (CD) Parties of the ARRL, anytime and anywhere that competition is the stimulant. If you've never tried a contest , give one a whirl - look for us - we'll be there. Glad you stopped by our booth at this biggest and best of the ten National ARRL Conventions.
Best regards and good DX.
The Potomac Valley Radio Club. (1958 article)