“History of GARS”
Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society was formed in 1973 at Scientific Atlanta’s Pleasantdale Road main plant. The Scientific Atlanta Radio club members had lunch time and after work classes. Most of the employees taking the classes brought family and friends to study for their amateur radio licenses. SA had a heavy concentration of employees from Gwinnett County. Other hams were invited to attend the SA club meetings and field day activities. Several hams in Gwinnett County were interested in forming their own group more central to the county. The SA club was located at the Gwinnett County and Dekalb County line at Pleasantdale Road.
The two groups worked and played cooperatively in many activities like field day etc. Field day was set up at SA’s “Gwinnett Antenna Range on Cruse Road. This was a 200 acre plot with towers and other structures to support antennas for most all bands. SA furnished many trucks and vans with generators and air conditioning for the field day ops.
The first project for GARS was to set up a repeater. Members of both groups donated money, equipment and much time to get the first repeater on the air. It was located at the hospital in Buford. The repeater and duplexer was homebrew. I lead the effort to build the repeater in the lab at SA, Pleasantdale.
Whenever a repeater is moved from one location to another everything must be recalibrated. I found notes that I made on Saturday February 20, 1982 at 5pm, “Checked GARS duplexer, transmit cavities detuned, retuned to precise band pass and band reject”. “Found transmitter frequency off 1300hz, retuned to correct frequency”. Found receiver frequency off 500 Hz, retuned to correct frequency.
Names of the original GARS members listed with their call signs at the time of the first GARS meeting.
AL PATRICK, WA4URT
FRED RUNKLE, K4KAZ**********SILENT KEY
RICHARD HUCKABY, N4JQI
SAM BAXTER, W4HYO
SEARCY HOLLIS, W4HBL*****************SILENT KEY
STAN McDONALD, WA4IZI
Dr. LARRY CLAYTON , W4LDB***********SILENT KEY
GLEN ROBINSON******************SILENT KEY
BURL SEXTON, WA4ZBH***************SILENT KEY
CHARLES OSBORNE, WD4MBK
HULL TEGARTEN ,WA4DDL
JIM FARMER, K4BSE
JOHN COX, WB4DDS
JOHN WOOD, CE3???
JOHNNY FEARON, W4WKP**************SILENT KEY
BILL KAUFMAN, W4UHF
KIETH BROWN, WB4DDR**************SILENT KEY
ROSE BROWN, WB4DDN
MIKE WOLCOTT, WB4OEX
RANDY RHEA, N4HI
RAY LEWIS WA4DCL
RICHARD BARNES, W4IXN****SILENT KEY
VIC FARR, K4RUL****SILENT KEY
We have collected much more data in MS Excel which is available on request.
Note by writer “A little history about Scientific Atlanta”.
Glen Robinson and six other Georgia Tech researchers (including Robinson’s former professor James E. Boyd and EES director Gerald Rosselot) each contributed $100 (for a total of $700, worth $16,000 today) and founded Scientific Associates on October 31, 1951, with the initial goal of marketing antenna structures being developed by the radar branch of the EES. Robinson worked as the unpaid general manager for the first year. The relations between Scientific Atlanta and the EES were initially strained due to an unrelated dispute over station finances between EES director Gerald Rosselot and Georgia Tech vice president Cherry Emerson that coincided with Scientific Atlanta’s foundation. Specifically, Emerson believed that surplus funds realized through research contracts should be returned to Georgia Tech, while the Georgia Tech Research Corporation and Rosselot felt they should be retained to foster additional research.
A strict conflict of interest policy was enacted, and researchers were forced to choose between the two entities; the initial investors had all kept their faculty jobs, and most returned to them. After the fledgling company’s first contract resulted in a $4,000 loss ($85,000 today), Robinson bought out all but one of the original investors and paid them each back their original $100. Consequently, Robinson left EES and became president and CEO of the new company, which would eventually be renamed to Scientific Atlanta. Boyd stayed on as a member of the board of directors; Robinson’s friend Larry Clayton, previously involved in Robinson’s radio business and now having graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in physics, became the head of the new company’s research and development. Years later, the school would promote Scientific Atlanta’s origins at Georgia Tech, and Scientific Atlanta has been a longtime financial contributor to Georgia Tech. Scientific Atlanta helped NASA establish ground stations for communication with astronauts during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects.
When John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 on Mercury-Atlas 6, his voice was transmitted and received by radio antennas designed and equipment built by Scientific Atlanta. In the 1970s, Robinson recognized the potential combination of communications satellites and cable television. Ted Turner purchased one of Scientific Atlanta’s first satellite systems, which formed the basis of Turner’s “Super Station” that was broadcast around the country to other cable providers. In 1975, HBO and TelePrompTer used Scientific Atlanta equipment to transmit the first live satellite-delivered cable event, the “Thrilla in Manila” heavyweight boxing championship bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Scientific Atlanta is perhaps best known for pioneering television cable set-top boxes and equipment worldwide and the development of satellite Earth stations.
Robinson remained CEO of Scientific Atlanta for 20 years, and chairman of the board for an additional eight years, until he retired from the company in 1979. Scientific Atlanta grew dramatically; it earned $3.1 million in revenue in 1962 ($48 million today), approximately $200 million when Robinson left in 1979 ($849 million today), and $1.9 billion in revenue in 2005 ($2 billion today). Scientific Atlanta also served as a regional business incubator, with hundreds of companies tracing their roots back to it.
“Stan McDonald – KI4H.”
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