ALBANY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB, INCORPORATED
for this HISTORICAL OVERVIEW has been obtained from records of
the Albany-Dougherty County Bicentennial Committee, Minutes and
Records of the Albany Repeater Society, Albany Radio Operators
Club, Albany Amateur Radio Club and historical records of John
C. Davis (W4ATO), Leon Perrett (K4GCR) and John Crosby (K4GBL).
There were no amateur radio clubs or activity
in the greater Albany, Georgia area prior to 1931. The Federal
Radio Commission issued the first amateur radio operator’s
licenses to John C. Davis and James A. Engram (W4ATP) in March
1931. The first commercial radio station was constructed in
Albany in 1933 and was assigned the call letters of WGPC.
In 1939, area amateur radio operators formed
a group called the Albany Radio Operators Club. It met in the
old Haley Motor Company building at Jackson Street and Pine
Avenue. Radio operations were limited to the 160-meter band with
special operations permitted on the 75-meter phone band due to
The first emergency operation was conducted
as a result of the tornado that struck Albany on February 10,
1940. The wire communications systems in place had been
interrupted and amateur radio operators were used for several
days as the only source of communication.
During World War II, amateur radio operations
were suspended with the exception of those authorized to
continue under the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
(RACES). John C. Davis served in that capacity and with the War
Department’s Radio Signal Corps from 1942 to 1944. Following
the war, amateur radio operators resumed normal operations.
The post-war group of operators began meeting
again using the name Albany Amateur Radio Club. The first
charter and by-laws were adopted for the club. Meeting locations
included the City Commission Chambers in Albany’s City Hall,
the studios of radio station WGPC, the National Guard Armory and
the New Albany Motel.
In 1949 John C. Davis began operating the
first Amateur Television Station in Albany. It is thought that
his station may have been the first one in the world. His
transmissions on 432 megacycles started with still pictures but
later progressed to live pictures by 1952. In 1954, Asa Tift
(W4PGK) constructed another television station. Tift and Davis
transmitted the first two-way live amateur television
communication in the world from Albany, Georgia.
John C. Davis was elected as the first
trustee for the Albany Amateur Radio Club’s license. The
initial call letters assigned to the club were W4GSV. They were
later changed to W4MM in honor of Bill Ashbey (W4MM) who had
been a long-time active member of the club.
The South Georgia Rag Chewers Net was
established in the late 1950’s. It was a popular feature for
many years. It was held each Sunday afternoon at 2:00 and always
started with a prayer highlighting the "golden rule"
of "doing unto others as we would have them do unto
The Albany Amateur Radio Club applied for
Incorporation on April 24, 1957 and was approved for a period of
thirty-five (35) years on May 3, 1957. The organization
continues its corporate status with the office of the Georgia
Secretary of State.
Amateur radio operators from Albany continued
to provide emergency communications and communication support
locally and in the adjacent areas. There was a period of general
inactivity for about five years in the late 1960’s. The
Southwest Georgia Amateur Radio Club was formed to include
amateurs from all across the southern part of the state. In
1972, a group of amateurs who were interested in VHF repeater
operations formed the Albany Repeater Society. The first
repeater station was established at the Naval Air Station at
Turner Field with the call sign of WR4ADM. On November 11, 1973,
the Federal Communications Commission granted the club’s
request to re-obtain W4MM as the club call.
A noteworthy event for the Albany Amateur
Radio Club, Inc. was a special event station in Plains, Georgia
on January 20, 1977. That date became a significant mark in our
state’s and country’s history as the thirty-ninth President
of the United States was inaugurated. The hometown of Jimmy
Carter became a busy place as Albany’s amateur operators
filled requests for hundreds of contact confirmation cards
(QSL). Walter Burnett (WA4HGS), who was instrumental in
coordinating the event, presented the club with a presidential
QSL card signed by President Carter. The FCC approved a special
event call sign for the operation of ND4JC. Those letters stood
for "National Democrats for Jimmy Carter".
A second repeater was licensed that included
auto-patch telephone capabilities. Locations for these repeaters
have changed within the Albany area over the years, but still
serve to provide effective communications for fellowship and
It was soon found that the mission of the
repeater club was the same as the Albany Amateur Radio Club that
had lost its corporate status due to inactivity. The group
reapplied for Incorporation in February of 1974 and was, again,
granted corporate status. The club and the society "joined
forces, facilities and function" to fulfill the like
mission. John G. Crosby was appointed as Trustee and continued
his active leadership of the newly formed organization.
Amateur Radio Club, Incorporated still provides services as
outlined in its corporate mission statement:
to promote interest in amateur radio,
to encourage persons to become licensed
amateur radio operators,
to provide skill, knowledge and aide to
amateur radio operators,
to provide wholesome recreation to
members and friends,
to provide, through such organization,
emergency radio communications,
to promote the interests and activities
of the American Radio Relay League,
to conduct activities and projects to
carry on the above mentioned objectives and purposes.
Further information about
the Albany Amateur Radio Club, Inc. may be obtained by
contacting Bob Smith, K4PHE at
or by writing to the Albany Amateur Radio Club, Inc. – Post
Office Box 70601 – Albany, GA 31708-0601.
ALBANY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB INC.,
P.O. BOX 70601,
ALBANY, GA 31708-0601