Members of the Milwaukee Radio Amateurs’ Club (MRAC) celebrated the radio club’s 100th anniversary of ARRL affiliation during the 2019 ARRL Central Division Convention, held September 27 – 28. The convention, held during the HRO Superfest, was hosted by Ham Radio Outlet at its Milwaukee location.
MRAC was formed in January 1917. In 1919, after World War I, ARRL introduced the concept of having local radio clubs officially affiliate with ARRL to formalize a network for relaying message traffic from coast to coast. MRAC was granted ARRL affiliation on December 5, 1919, as one of a group of 10 clubs. In 1970, MRAC was recognized as the only one of that first group of clubs that was still active, making it the oldest ARRL-affiliated club.
MRAC sponsored the first-ever ARRL Central Division Convention in 1928, and it organized an ARRL National Convention in 1948. The club produced a video in 2017 that recounts its rich history.
MRAC today has a full calendar of annual activities that include regular club meetings featuring speakers and presentations covering a variety of topics. The club participates in ARRL Field Day each June, conducts regular license exam sessions, and holds an annual swapfest. A group of club members are currently developing an Amateur Satellite station and related resources, which they plan to use to support a local school as part of an educational outreach program. Club members are also Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) volunteers, supporting public service communication for events throughout the region and during emergencies.
The MRAC affiliation centennial attracted members and guests for a celebration during the Central Division Convention banquet on Saturday, September 28. Those attending included ARRL Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA; Vice Director Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA; Section Managers Patrick Moretti, KA1RB (Wisconsin); Ron Morgan, AD9I (Illinois); and Jimmy Merry Jr., KC9RPX (Indiana), and ARRL staff members CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX; Marketing and Communications Manager Kathleen Callahan, and Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R.
Michel, Carlson, and Luetzelschwab honored the club by presenting a plaque to MRAC Club President David Schank, KA9WXN, on behalf of the ARRL Central Division.
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