A (very) brief history of the Meriden Amateur Radio Club

ARRL Special Service Club badge with ARRL logo.
The Meriden Amateur Radio Club or “MARC” is assigned the call W1NRG by the FCC as a Memorial Station. Designation as a memorial station is rare since the FCC no longer issues special or memorial licenses. The Meriden Amateur Radio Club is one of the few clubs left to have one. MARC has a long history and tradition that goes back to 1947.

In the autumn of 1947 following World War II, the Meriden Amateur Radio Club took form to fill the needs of area hams. The Meriden YMCA was the site of the first meeting of a handful of eager young radio operators.

After a few temporary sites, Dossin Beach Building at Hanover Pond was acquired from the City of Meriden. Things really started to happen. Membership exploded, antennas sprang up, stations were assembled and the FCC issued a call, W1SBF, to the emerging group.

Ed Bisschert, W1NRG, joined MARC after serving his World War II duty as a Navy Chief Radioman. A dedicated club booster, he held several elected posts. He urged all to master the Morse Code and worked with others to help in training for license exams. He was indeed an inspiration and a true “Elmer.” Ed became a Silent Key in 1952 after a brief illness. It was fitting that MARC members sought to memorialize his call. A petition to the FCC resulted in the new MARC call sign – W1NRG.

The club station at Dossin Beach continued to flourish with the addition of several antennas, commercial and home brew equipment. The club facilities included two complete individual stations for Novice and upper class operators alike. Weekly on-the-air code practice was held in addition to regular club meetings and activities.

The club affiliated with the Town of Wallingford in the early 1980s. The Town has provided support for our club, including equipment and training. Wallingford also supplies our meeting space in the Wallingford Emergency Management Building, Hope Hill Fire House (Former Yalesville Volunteer Fire House). In return, many club members areCommunity Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, provide town-requested communications for events, and more.

To better reflect the club’s location for the past 40 years, MARC is doing business as Wallingford Amateur Radio Group.

The Meriden Amateur Radio Club (W1NRG) continues the tradition today. As an ARRL Special Service club, MARC is active in training, field day, JOTA, contesting, packet, exhibits, station/member activities both on and off the air, and a camaraderie unique to Amateur Radio.