Special to The Dorchester Banner/Kenny Thomas
Tinsley Meekins, vice president of EARS and the only charter member of club who still belongs with Sen. Addie Eckardt, and Jack Gottschalk, club president.
EASTON — The Easton Amateur Radio Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary at a regular meeting on April 21 at the Talbot County Emergency Operation Center. The special guest for the evening was State Senator Addie C. Eckardt, who presented a Maryland Senate Resolution of Respect and a Governor’s Citation, signed by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan to club President, Jack Gottschalk, whose radio call is K8PBJ. Other special activities for the evening were; a Power Point presentation of events out of the club’s past, special acknowledgement of all past presidents of the club, and recognition of Tinsley Meekins, K3RUQ, who is the only Charter Member of the club who is still a member. The evening also featured a “swap meet” in which members brought various pieces of radio related and electronic equipment for sale or trade, and was capped off by a treat of cake made by the daughter of one of the club members and vanilla ice cream made by one of the members. A custom made 50th anniversary badge was also presented to each member present. The local radio club was founded in January of 1965 by a group of six local amateur radio operators, also known as “hams.” The original purpose of this small group was to enable the local amateur radio operators from the mid-shore area of Maryland, including Talbot, Queen Anne, Caroline, and Dorchester counties, to share their varied interests in ham radio. Since its meager beginnings the club has evolved into a very stable and active organization. Its members hold all classes of licenses, from Technician through Amateur Extra, and represent all age groups. The interests of the membership and activities of the club run the entire spectrum of the hobby, including DXing (long distance communications), contesting, Morse code, Satellite, moon bounce communications, VHF/UHF communications, digital modes, meteor scatter, emergency/disaster communications, and low power operations. In the early 1980’s the local club repeater featured an “auto patch,” which gave the members the ability to make a phone call from their private vehicles. This was really a “big deal” at the time. Since 1965 too many changes have taken place in the world of communications to itemize. To mention a few: the transition from vacuum tube oriented equipment to solid state, the compactness and lower power requirements of equipment, increased portability, the introduction of “no code” amateur licensing, the personal computer, the internet, digital communications, and the expansion into VHF and UHF operations. In spite of the advances in communications technology the number of new amateurs being licensed is still growing slightly each month. One thing that has not changed is the willingness of amateurs to volunteer their services and equipment in time of emergencies when normal channels of communications are either impaired or completely shut down. Today E.A.R.S. is an active, friendly, and growing club. It is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League and involved in many types of activities. To name a few the club has provided communications for numerous civic activities including triathlons, Tour de Cure, and Six Pillars bike events, conducted amateur license classes and testing, has operated Special Events stations on several occasions, and some of its members are active in a local R.A.C.E.S. (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) group, and have been called out several times during severe storms and/or local flooding to provide communications between the E.O.C. and various shelters. The local club gives real meaning to the slogan of the American Radio Relay League, which is “When All Else Fails.” Club meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Talbot County E.O.C. at 605 Port St. Anyone who may be interested in being licensed as an amateur is welcome to attend, or call club president, Jack Gottschalk at 1-443-838-5504.