The first known ham in Springhill was Robert E. Bar and his call sign was W5GHF. He was elected SCM of the Louisiana Delta Division of ARRL in 1950. He was very active in message handling within the ham radio national traffic system. Morse code and AM modulation were his primary modes of communication.
Following World War Two, many veterans used their military communications training in electronics and Morse code as the stepping stones to get a ham license. The GI bill also paid for individuals to receive training in radio and TV repair when they were released from service. These were much needed vocations at the time as TV and FM radio was now technology. This vocational training also increased the ranks of the local hams.
The Springhill Amateur Radio Club was organized in the summer of 1960 as a result of area Civil Defense Operations. The club began operating “field day” annually as a national emergency preparedness exercise. Field day is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League which is our national organization. Charter members of the club were Charles Russell (W5VSU), Harold Stevens (K5ELJ), Gene Winfree (W5ADE), Milton Parker (K5ELM), Val Marshal (K5WOD), Lavelle Hughes (K5TSN) and Bennie Don Pearson (K5QNK). The original club call was WA5EPP. The current club call is W5KJN. Val Marshal chose this call sign as the KJN sounds like “Cajun” (reference to Louisiana Cajun population).
Over the years the club operated field day and simulated emergency tests to prepare members to function efficiently in public service communications responsibilities. The club has also participated in several actual emergencies such as tornados and has on numerous occasions assisted the National Weather service SkyWarn Program as official spotters and weather reporters.
On May 30, 1991 the club became incorporated as a non-profit organization with the State of Louisiana under the name Springhill Amateur Radio Club, Inc. On August 2, 2018, Springhill Amateur Radio Club, Inc. was notified it became an IRS designated 501c3 tax exempt entity with an effective date of July 25, 2018.
The Club maintains a VHF repeater at the 500 foot level in Springhill, LA on the frequency 146.73- with carrier squelch. The Club also maintains a UHF DMR repeater at the 500 foot level in Springhill on the frequency 443.750+.
Our primary fundraising activity in the past has been selling hamburgers at the local Lumberjack Festival in October annually. The club is the only organization which has participated in every Lumberjack Festival since inception. The club organizes a ham radio demonstration booth at the festival in an effort educate the public of the service the club performs for the community.
The club conducts amateur license classes to assist newcomers in obtaining their Technician Class amateur radio license. Several of the members of the club are FCC Volunteer Examiners (VEs) and can assist in administering an FCC amateur examination in Springhill. The club participates in the annual field day emergency exercise and occasionally holds a hamfest in Springhill. We also line up all the parades in town and participate in other civic activities when asked to lend a hand with communications, etc.
The Club established the www.springhillhamradio.comwebsite in 2018 and is working toward other club projects to educate the public and individuals as to the benefits to the community offered by the amateur radio service. Such projects are an ArkLaTex network of DMR repeaters that connect Springhill, Shreveport, Texarkana, El Dorado, Monroe and all points in between for SkyWarn spotters and other emergency response needs. We are planning a Facebook page and twitter account to help recruit new hams through these channels that they use daily. The club is in the process of establishing long term goals to set the stage to move the club into the next era of ham radio and satisfy the backup emergency communications needs of Springhill, LA in the future.
We welcome all new hams an well understand that you will be the future of our club. With you rests the backup communications responsibility of the Ark-La-Tex r