K3IW & ECARS Early Years

I have had a long and fun history with ECARS.   The primary reason I did not check into ECARS before May 1969 was I enlisted in the US Air Force in 1968. After basic training and technical school my first duty station was Pope Air Force Base near Spring Lake, NC. While on leave before packing for North Carolina, I traded my venerable DX-60 and HQ-110AC for a little National NC-200 transceiver. I sought permission from the base safety people to install a ground-mounted vertical outside our enlisted troops' barracks, but was turned down. Undaunted, I resubmitted an application to install a 40 meter dipole between two trees nearly perfectly spaced outside our second-floor barracks window. That flew. I was on the air.

My first ECARS log entry was on May 12, 1969 with K2AGZ as NCS. I hope some old-timers recognize early occupants of 7255kHz in my log entries. Many of those folks ran phone patches for me and some of my roommates. We had no convenient telephones then. Notice I checked in a couple of times with "ECARS founding member Jim Lightfoot, WA1KRN."

Through the years I always enjoyed trying to help service control pick signals out of the mud--especially mobile operators. ECARS was always the best place to check how a new or repaired antenna was working, too. During weather events that closed schools or workplaces, there was no better place to hang out than 7255. Rather than arranging skeds by picking a frequency, it was always much more efficient to check into the net, say, "Contact!" and then find a clear spot. One always had the anchor of ECARS if we lost the contact station or needed to try another meet-up frequency.

Happy fiftieth anniversary, East Coast Amateur Radio Service. Thanks for what indeed is a great "service."


Robert A. "Rick" Barrow, K3IW (ex: KN3WPI; K3WPI)
ECARS #3533
First licensed: 1963