The Contoocook Valley Radio Club was originally organized on April 5, 1959 at a meeting called by Ken Dermon, K1BGI SK. Fourteen Henniker area amateurs were in attendance including George Beardsley K1JYI, Ken Wilkins K1MID, Lloyd Tewsbury W1KJS, Robert  Wood W1MAS, Wilfred French K1DFQ, Louise French K1LAS, Ken Dermon K1BGI, Sid Blanchard K1CKL, younger brother Jerry Blanchard K1BBQ SK, Dean Morrison W1HTI and Vic cvrc_club_house_smKrzyzaniak K1OXO. The drive and determination to make a success of the club was evident at the first meeting. Officers were elected with Robert W1MAS President, Ken K1BGI Trustee, Louise  K1LAS Secretary and Janet Willard Treasurer. A legal committee was formed to arrange incorporation and a Field Day Committee was appointed. A 99 year lease was obtained on a site for a clubhouse.

At the second meeting a week later, the name Contoocook Valley Radio Club was adopted. Amateur was not used in the club name, as  there was no Citizen’s radio service to be confused with. Incorporation papers were officially accepted at a meeting on April 30. The group  agreed to request the call sign K1BKE in memory of friend Robert Willard. At the June 25th meeting, Ken K1BGI announced the bad news that K1BKE could not be assigned to the club as Willard had never been a club member. Disappointed at this news, the club dispatched a letter to Senator Styles Bridges, at the time a ranking member of the U.S. Senate, to enlist his aid to see if the club could be assigned Willard’s call,  or to make an exception to the membership requirement. In August 1959,  the membership received the good news that the F.C.C had assigned the call letters K1BKE to the CVRC.

For 14 years the Club participated in many amateur radio activities. Activities included home-brew equipment, Field Day operations, ARES activities and the construction and maintenance of a clubhouse and ham shack at Warner Road corner in Henniker. The clubhouse donated by K1BGI was  originally a corncrib and then a hen house, before being converted to  the club’s ham shack. When the first meeting was held in the shack, the building was still three-sided. The club erected a tower, built a club  station and obtained grants of equipment and a generator for its ARES activities.

The duties of club secretary were far more varied then than now. Louise, K1LAS, says that she would have thought twice about taking the position had she known prior that as well as recording minutes of club meeting, the job included shoveling the path to the shack, building the fire in the wood stove prior to meetings and digging the hole for the outhouse.

In June 1972, the CVRC was disbanded because of lack of participation of old members in club actives, a lack of new members and recruitment  and a general lack of interest. Although in disrepair and no longer property of the club, the club house still stands today. The tower was relocated and for many years served the K1DFQ/K1LAS ham shack.

Ken Dermon, K1BGI, again led the reorganization of the CVRC by hosting a meeting in April 17, 1987.  1987 members included five  original club members plus newer amateurs from the Henniker and Contoocook area. Regular monthly meetings were resumed and have continued ever since. The club has grown to over 90 members with a wide  variety of interests and activities. Much to the surprise of many members, the club was recently presented a plaque by then Section Manager Warren Rothburg, WB1HBB, for 25 years of affiliation with the  ARRL … about 7 years late!

The  club now owns and maintains the K1BKE 146.895 repeater on Pat’s Peak in Henniker; supports the K1BKE packet node on Oak Hill in Concord; participates annually in Field Day and the New Hampshire QSO Party; runs  Volunteer Examiner Test sessions; runs an ARES Net; holds Novice,  Technician and General Class License Classes; and provides  communications for over a dozen public service events annually in the Concord, Henniker and Hillsboro area. Club members participate physically and financially in the maintenance of UHF repeaters and packet nodes, and in VHF/UHF/GHZ mountain topping contests.

There are many facets to the amateur radio hobby and CVRC club members participate in many of them. The CVRC is a full-service club and  there are no-doubt activities of interest to any active amateur. Pay the  Club a visit and learn more. Club members should continuously be aware  of the need to provide a variety of activities that will interest all and make welcome and recruit new members else K1BKE becomes a Silent  Key for a third time.

The CVRC meets monthly on the second Tuesday at the Hopkinton  Community Center in Contoocook, NH.(1)  Rag-chew begins at  7:00PM; the meeting begins at 7:30PM with an amateur radio related  program; refreshments; followed with the business meeting. All amateurs and those interested in the hobby are invited; you need not be a member to attend. Talk-In is on the 146.895 -600 Khz repeater.

[Ed. Thanks to Paul, N1PIA SK for his research for this article, and Louise, K1LAS for club history and for her anecdotes.]

(1)  During 1999, the CVRC moved its monthly meetings to the Community Room at the Hopkinton Town Library, Pine Street, Contoocook, NH

Updated 3-18-98 WA1WOK
Footnote added 2-10-00 K1JY
K1BBQ added as 1959 member; 4-30-01 K1JY
Updated 8-10-16 by KB1WTI and K1JNE
Edit 8-26-18 K1JY

Contoocook Valley Radio Club