SVRC FAST FINDS:
HAM RADIO operators and their families from across Sangamon County and beyond turned out in force on Sunday, August 2, for the Sangamon Valley Radio Club's All-Hams Family Picnic at Southern View Village Park. The Club reserved the Martin Pavilion, offering everyone shade, a place to sit and munch on lunch or early supper, bring items to sell or swap and set up listening posts using a vertical antenna, buddy pole, or classic 20 meter antenna, an informal field day with lunch on the side. Youngsters had their choice of swings, and slides to play on. Mother Nature cooperated too, providing a breeze throughout the afternoon despite rumblings of thunder earlier in the day, well north and east of the village park. Requests are already in to make it an annual event!
DEBUT: Springfield's first television station, WICS, made its debut in 1953. Then WICS promotion manager and weather caster John Beague holds up a sign advertising the new station. The sign notes that it "affiliated with the nation's top television networks," among them NBC, CBS, and ABC. As competition grew between area TV stations, offering programs from all of the networks waned. The changes in commercial radio and television in Central Illinois will be among the areas covered in the SVRC programs in September. Photo courtesy of Doug Quick.
From Telegraph to Television:
Sangamon County's Long Leap
With a successful Sunday, August 2 family picnic under its belt, the Sangamon Valley Radio Club returns to its normal first Thursday of the month meeting calendar on Thursday, September 3 with a “sneak preview”-albeit one with a more technical accent-of the “From Telegraph to Television: The Amazing History of Sangamon County’s Electronic Communications” program that will make its public debut in Springfield on Tuesday, September 15.
Both programs will be illustrated with a Powerpoint show. The photos were gleaned from sources ranging from the City of Springfield’s Lincoln Library’s vast Sangamon Valley Room photo collection to personal photo collections and websites compiled through the years by communications history buff Joe Armstrong (K9ATG), Mitch Hopper (K9ZXO), a veteran television broadcast engineer, retired radio reporter and photographer Ben Kiningham (K9IDQ), Peoria-based television broadcaster Doug Quick, and area commercial, public, and ham radio and television sources.
Armstrong and Hopper will provide both the often amusing and amazing anecdotal stories as well as the technical insight that goes with tracking the pattern of change as the area moved from telegraph to television.
Armstrong, who holds an extra-class amateur radio license, first got his ham ticket in 1996 (formerly KB9OPY). His education in electronics and computer networking led to a career in information technology, for the past 24 years with the State of Illinois.
Armstrong has had a lifelong fascination with radio, especially portable operations like the “winter” field days that can find him operating amid the snow banks at local parks. He’s also a big fan of communications history. Check out Armstrong’s early radio history website, k9atg.com for a trip back in time. The site includes photos and details about some of Springfield’s earliest radio communications.
Hopper, who holds an extra-class amateur radio license, has been associated with broadcasting and electronics since 1969 when he started his career at WJJY-TV in Jacksonville, Illinois. In 1970 he was named Chief Engineer what would later become the Illinois State Board of Education broadcast teleproduction and distribution complex, retiring in 2005.
As a certified quadruplex videotape engineer, he founded Custom Video Systems Company in 1976 and operates the media engineering company to this day. During his employment with the ISBE, he also operated as Assistant to the Chief Engineer for WBHW-TV thru its change to WRSP-TV, leaving in the late 90s. He also filled in as Chief Engineer for WBAK-TV in Terre Haute, and WFHL-TV in Decatur. From 1982 to their change to WQQL-FM, Hopper was Chief Engineer for WVEM-FM. Since partially retiring out of broadcast, he and his company, CVS Co continues to provide engineering services to the Illinois Information Service at their satellite uplink facilities as well as the Department of Electronic Media at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Second Presentation September 15
Geared to the general public and history buffs, the second presentation of the program will be held on Tuesday, September 15 at 5:30 p.m. in Carnegie Room North, the auditorium-sized meeting room at Springfield Lincoln Library, 326 South Seventh Street, Springfield. Free underground parking is available after 5 p.m. as is street parking.
Expected to be slightly longer but less technical, the September 15 program is co-sponsored by the Sangamon Valley Radio Club and the 600-member Sangamon County Historical Society.
Both programs are free and refreshments will be served. Members and guests of the Sangamon Valley Radio Club are welcome to attend the second session and participate in a question and answer session that will follow.
The SRVC September 3 session will be held, as usual, at 7 p.m. at our headquarters at the American Red Cross Building, 1045 Outer Park Drive, Springfield. Everyone is welcome to attend both programs