The San Angelo Amateur Radio Club (SAARC), based in San Angelo, Texas, celebrated their 100th anniversary on October 15, 2022. The club has engaged in a century of community service; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; emergency preparedness, and disaster response.
Founded in 1922, SAARC held their first meeting on June 14 of that year, and membership today has grown to 40 members. The celebration took place at their clubhouse, and included a tailgate swap meet that began at 9 AM, amateur radio operators working to make contacts with 100 stations, and the Boy Scouts Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA).
The club call sign, W5QX, honors Carl Brinegar, who originally held the call sign 5QX before the “W” prefix was added. He was one of the earliest members of SAARC.
SAARC is currently working in partnership with Angelo State University’s Mayer Museum, located on the campus of Angelo State University, to create an exhibit that will tell the story of local radio pioneers. Topics will include amateur radio operators, retail radio businesses, public safety radio innovators, and broadcast radio stations that formed in the Concho Valley area in the 1920s and 1930s.
Club member Mike Dominy, KD5URW, said SAARC is the only club within a 70-mile radius of San Angelo, Texas. “Our club and Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers cover 14,000 square miles with a population of 165,000,” Dominy said. “With cell phone coverage only along major roads and highways, amateur radio is the only communication during storms and tornadoes.”
Dominy added that there are only 381 licensed amateur radio operators in the area, and the club is working on grants to add and upgrade repeaters under a 5-year plan.
SAARC is an ARRL Affiliated Club.