Once upon a time all was silent on the North Fork.
John Rieger (SK, originally KB2NOL, then N2WQA, and then K2JRR), had the privilege of having Ralph Williams N3VT as an Elmer. After he had upgraded to Technician and acquired a 2 meter handheld, he noted that there were no active repeaters on the North Fork of Long Island.
In a discussion of the situation with Ralph Williams, Ralph remarked, “John, you started a commercial FM Radio Station in Garden City, so go with the repeater.” And so he did.
In October of 1992, after having decided that the Greenport water tower would make an ideal location for a repeater, John tentatively approached Greenport’s Village Board of Trustees for permission to use the water tower site for it’s antenna and transmitter, always stressing the repeater’s potential for enhancing local communications and the traditional role of hams in helping to safeguard life and property in emergencies.
The Village Board was most attentive and asked perceptive questions about the exact location of the antenna on the tower, the possibility of interference with other communications services on the tower, the location of the transmitter components of the repeater, and that the professional installation codes are upheld, together with insurance policies required for the project. John felt that all the requirements that was set up by the board could be met and felt pleased that the board had viewed his proposal favorably and that the ball had started rolling.
A few days alter Ralph Williams set up a date with Don Fisher N2QHV and Charlie Burnham K2GLP at Don’s office in the Southold High School. They seized upon the idea with immediate enthusiasm, and the four threw themselves into the project. While John pursued the Village Board, Ralph secured a frequency assignment from TSARC (440.050 MHz) and accepted responsibility for the repeater by becoming it’s trustee. Charlie and Don, later joined by Howie Malone K2AQ, accepted the task of gathering and assembling the equipment needed for the repeater. The lengthy list of contributors to the project testifies to their Herculean efforts.
At a meeting on November 15, 1992, the four decided to form a new radio club to go with the repeater. As a first step, John unleashed a barrage of releases to the local radio stations, newspapers, cable TV, and High School bulletin boards. The response was most gratifying.
On January 20, 1993, John, Don and Ralph made a formal presentation to the Village Board regarding the proposed repeater project. Don and Ralph were the authors of the presentation and impressed even the most skeptic member of the board. Five days later, after a second round of publicity to the media by John, the group held a meeting in the Southold Public Library and some 30 Hams and prospective Hams showed up with enthusiasm to discuss the proposal to form a new Radio Club on the North Fork.
At a subsequent meeting on February 5, 1993, a formal organizational meeting was held. The club was given a name, officers were elected and the radio club was officially launched as the PECONIC AMATEUR RADIO CLUB (PARC). The constitution and by laws were drafted and at a subsequent meeting adopted by a majority vote.
The N3VT repeater was on the air serving the North and South Fork and beyond in the spring of 1993.
In short order Penny Burnham (XYL of K2GLP) devised a handsome logo depicting a transmitting tube which was adopted and used on all of our stationary, newsletters, web page, etc.
Don Fisher N2QHV, Ralph Williams N3VT and John Raynor N2RAW, organized an operational and tested ARES group in conjunction with the Southold Police. A team of volunteer examiners was assembled under the ARRL VEC Program to encourage new prospective radio operators.
The first Amateur Novice, Technician, and Technician Plus Adult Education Course was established on November 1, 1994, in the Southold High School, and taught and supervised by the volunteer members of PARC.
The clubs future relies on public service, education, fellowship and enjoyment communicating in different modes with others locally, regionally, and world wide