About Us

Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club banner at Field Day

Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club banner at Field Day 2010 flying above the entrance to the Talcott Mountain Science Center.

The Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL-affiliated amateur radio club in Bloomfield, Connecticut just north of Hartford. We work with an active VE team (administering monthly license exams), we operate a weekly net and a 2m (146.820 MHz) repeater, and encourage participation in ARES and public service events across central Connecticut. We are one of several Hartford-area clubs, each with a different atmosphere and interest, and we work closely with the other clubs on mutual projects and ARES events.

Every year, we participate in ARRL Field Day and have a good time. We encourage those with an interest (or even curiosity) to join us on Field Day and see what modern amateur radio is all about. We use the Field Day as an opportunity to compete for points, try out new equipment and techniques, demonstrate amateur radio to the public, and have even administered license exams on site.

Diverse Interests and People

The club membership is a diverse group: engineers, students, retirees, insurance professionals, entrepreneurs, all ages and backgrounds. Some of our newest members joined while they were students assigned to Hartford-area businesses as co-ops or interns. Other members now live far away but still regularly keep in touch via amateur radio. The membership includes hams who have been licensed for more than 50 years, and those who joined on passing their technician exam.

The club expresses the diversity of amateur radio itself: some members are interested in only CW (morse code) operation, DX (foreign stations), satellite communications, building equipment, emergency response, or education. Some of our members operate mobile, from apartments and homes, or rarely get on the air at all – preferring instead the opportunity to tinker and experiment with communications technology.

Click here to read some of our member’s stories.

Club and Callsign History

The Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club became an ARRL affiliated club on January 23, 1965. The callsign W1CWA was acquired after the tragic passing of club member Don Clark. Today the only surviving charter member of the club is our past trustee, Don Moore, the owner of Bloomfield’s landmark Moore’s Sawmill.

New Information on the History of Our Call (Updated November 13, 2012!)

Courtesy of Skip Colton, W1FTE (November 6, 2012):

“Attached are copies of pages from the old call book at the ARRL.  I did this during my tour guide duty the past two weeks.  I started in 1920 and went through 1954 where I found the first listing for W1CWA 1955, Donald Clark of Hartford, CT.  A few years later he moved to Rockville, CT.  1960 the listing for W1CWA is the Bloomfield Club.  But very interesting there is a listing for WN1CWA, a novice class license.  That class back then was good for one year only!  Suspect there was an error in the FCC records or the call book.”

– 73 Skip  W1FTE

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Jack Barber, W1PRT/7 on the Founding of the Club and the Call W1CWA

Thank you to Jack Barber, W1PRT and Roger, K1PAI for contributing to this history!

The origin of the Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club:

“You have asked about BARC’s origins.  Ruth K1IIF (to be) and I had moved to Bloomfield in 1948. I had been was a co-founder and volunteer in the East Hartland fire company,  so it was natural to sign with the Bloomfield Center Fire Co, a mile from our creaky old house at the end of Gabb Road.  My fellow fireman George Hart W1LIH (he was sales honcho at Hatry & Young radio store in Hartford) and I knew the FD  badly needed communications, so we promoted a bulky pair of G.I. surplus transceivers and set them up  on the ten meter ham band.  We were much into emergency radio .  This was an unheard of advance in those postwar years.  George and I and a few local hams then decided we should have a radio club separate from the FD, for both fun and emphasis on emergency work, so BARC was named and created.  (Don’t confuse W1LIH with the well-known George Hart of the ARRL). George later retired to Florida and became W4LIH.

That’s it briefly, according to my spotty memory.   Corrections, omissions, etc. are welcome!  We sold the town on ham radio pretty much. When they built the new town hall we were allotted space, put up a tower etc. as time went on – after I returned from recall to the Korean War.   In those days it was assumed your rigs were home-built.  Store-bought was rare but beginning to define us .  So basically the radio club is the offspring of the BCFD. Our first club mobiles were 2-meter Gonset Communicators. Gonset ventured successfully into manufactured ham gear.  There were some areas those 15 watt AM rigs wouldn’t reach but we enjoyed Halloween and other special events with them.”

– Jack Barber W1PRT/7. November 13, 2012.

and on the club’s call:

“Your info is accurate.  W1CWA was the call of Donald Clark of Bloomfield, Blue Hills area.  He also had a younger brother Pat, also a ham, I forget his call. Both guys were active in the Bloomfield radio club (BARC). Your Dad was an active, enthusiastic member and assistant EC.   I think I was the local EC and radio officer at the time, 1960’s.

To our sorrow Don Clark, an active and vigorous member, was diagnosed with cancer.  I don’t know what kind etc.  At the age of 28 he began to slow down.  I’m told Don died at home, unexpectedly and peacefully, after some months.  He was resting in his armchair.  It was a real shock to all of us. Most  of us went to his funeral in West Hartford.  Anyway, we’d heard about memorial club calls, something new at the time I think. We liked W1CWA, a reissued call, second time use.  It sounded like an old time call, also sought by the Conn. Wireless Assn, but we had the deceased member excuse.   So we put in to the FCC and the club call came thru….”

– Jack Barber W1PRT/7. November 7, 2012.

What this means also is that our club is older than many of us thought (established 1960, not 1964!)

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