Countdown to event:   
THIS 2011 EVENT IS OVER.
See http://www.historic-prospect-hill.org/2012eventnotice.htm for our upcoming February 2012 special event.

THE BUTLER COUNTY AMATEUR RADIO ASSOCIATION ("BCARA")

will be conducting an amateur radio "special event" in commemoration of the early amateur radio history and broadcast radio history of Hamilton, Ohio on September 24-25, 2011 (Sat-Sun) at 329 North C Street, Hamilton, OH 45013 where early amateur radio history and broadcast radio history was made.

The event is being held at the original site of the Doron Brothers Electrical Co. amateur radio stations "D5" (pre-1911), "8AJT" (1912-1915), Special Land Station "8ZU" (1915-1919), and "WRK" (1922-1930) which was the first broadcast radio station in the City of Hamilton and our country's 57th licensed broadcast radio station.  (More information lower on this page)

 

Transmitting/Receiving Information
(House and radio exhibits information are lower on this page)

BCARA will be using its club call sign W8WRK for the special event and will be operating from 6 AM EST Saturday, September 24 to 6 PM EST Sunday, September 25 on the following bands: 10 Meter at 28.410, 20 Meter at 14.245, 40 Meter at 7.220, 80 Meter at 3.838.  The operating time may be extended and, depending upon band conditions at the time of event, there may be band and frequency changes.    For up-to-the-minute station status when the event starts click here

A special QSL certificate confirming reception will be issued.  To view the QSL certificate and mailing instructions click here.   

The W8WRK Special Event will be transmitting from the original station building of the Doron's radio stations 8ZU (1915-1919) and WRK (1922-1930) using antennas suspended from WRK's original antenna tower.  The old WRK antenna tower may be one the country's last standing original towers from the 1920's era of broadcast radio!

Brief history of amateur station 8ZU and broadcast station WRK

During December 1914 and January 1915 the Secretary of Commerce sent radio inspector J.F. Dillon to visit several amateur stations in the Ohio Valley flood district to set up an emergency network of amateur stations.  The Doron’s regular amateur station 8AJT was visited January 7, 1915 by inspector Dillon after which it was immediately granted a Special Amateur Special Land Station license 8ZU.  Originally 8AJT operated with a 480-watt transmitter but when radio inspector Dillon visited the station the Doron’s had already upgraded to a 2,500-watt transmitter with a range of at least 250 miles and was the most powerful transmitter in the city of Hamilton, Ohio and more powerful than any of the sixty regular amateur stations in the general area. 

The “Special Land Stations” were typically called the “X”, “Y”, and “Z” stations.  Most of the Special Land Station licenses were for experimental “X” stations commonly used for business firms and private individuals, and for technical and training “Y” stations commonly issued to colleges, universities and other schools for training radio technicians and operators.  However, there were very few “Z” stations which were the “special amateur” Special Land Stations requiring high proficiency operators and equipment requirements.  In fact when the Doron Brothers officially received their “special amateur” Special Land Station license in March 1915 there were only fourteen “Z” stations in the United States. 

The “Z” stations were commonly used for “relay” work across the U.S. and to provide links to other amateur stations.  On Washington’s birthday February 22, 1916 the American Radio Relay League ("ARRL") conducted the first cross-country amateur radio message relay in the United States to show how effective, fast, and useful amateur stations could be in relaying messages nationwide.   The Doron's Special Land Station 8ZU was one of the twenty-seven pre-selected "primary receiving and relaying stations" involved in this 1916 historic message relay!

The special amateur "X" and "Z" stations also were the source of many advances in wireless communications developments and were the forerunners of actual broadcast radio when some of these stations began to broadcast to the general public on a regular basic before broadcast radio was regulated in 1921.    For example, the forerunner of Pittsburgh's broadcast station KDKA (the first broadcast station to be licensed in the United States) was Frank Conrad's amateur station 8XK and then the temporary 8ZZ station which broadcasted election results on November 2, 1920.  Many radio historians and researchers proclaim Conrad's 8XK and 8ZZ being the "first" stations to broadcast to the general public although other historians and researchers assert that a few other stations pre-dated them with similar activities.   

Without wanting to start or continue the long-standing debate of who was "first" in broadcasting to the public or to re-write early broadcast radio history it is a fact that the Doron's 8ZU was the forerunner of WRK and that the Doron's 8ZU was broadcasting to the general public as early as 1919 as supported by very old newspaper documentation. 

1) An old newspaper article we have with a picture of the WRK control room and a short commentary about the Dorons stated: “and in 1919 as Station WRK broadcast one of the first church services in the nation from the Trinity Episcopal Church”.                                 

2) Joseph Doron Jr.’s obituary in another newspaper stated: “In 1919, the brothers were operating radio station WRK, in Hamilton, and broadcast one of the first church services in history, a service from Trinity Episcopal Church in this city”.

3) A third reference in an old newspaper article stated the following: “Station WRK is one of the oldest radio stations in the country.  It was licensed under a special permit of the naval department in 1919, to Doron Bros.  Two years later, the letters WRK were assigned and this continued to 1927……..”. 

The owner of the Doron family property is currently investigating how far back the Doron's were actually broadcasting to the general public on a regular basis and is trying to confirm whether their broadcasts go back as far as 1916 or possibly 1915.                                                                             

The complete written history of the Doron Brothers Electrical Company amateur radio stations and broadcast station and photograph files is available at http://www.historic-prospect-hill.org/doron.html and on the Butler County Amateur Radio Association's ("BCARA") website at http://www.bcara.net.

 

SPECIAL EVENT VISITOR INFORMATION

The Butler County Amateur Radio Association’s (“BCARA”) special event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  You can see one of the last remaining 1920’s broadcast radio station antenna towers and the 1915 station building of one the first fourteen special amateur Special Land Stations (8ZU) and the country's 57th licensed broadcast radio station (WRK).   

In addition to being able to listen to BCARA's amateur radio station operators making contacts around the United States and the world, there will be exhibits of very early wireless radio equipment and radios.  BCARA will have an amateur radio related information table and you can ask our members questions about amateur radio.  

For people who are just interested in Victorian homes and antiques, the Doron family's 1889 Victorian house will be open for visitation (house hours and details are further down on this page). 

 "Kick-off" time for visitation by the general public is Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM

FLAG RAISING CEREMONY: BCARA members will be hoisting the American Flag up the old WRK antenna tower at 10 AM Saturday, September 24 followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by  a moment of silence to honor our troops killed in action and to honor "Silent Keys" (amateur radio operators who passed on) around the world.  Please join us in this ceremony.

Special visiting hours for amateur radio operators: Although public visitation for the Victorian house and antiques and the old radio exhibits is 9:30 AM until 9:30 PM each day of the event, all amateur radio operators (whether you are from another club or are not a member of any club) are welcome to visit us at any hour during the event and meet our club members.  Our members will mostly be in and around the garage where we will have tables and chairs and/or we will be in the old 8ZU station building and/or around a campfire at night... all in the rear of the property.     

Modern amateur radio enthusiasts, early radio history buffs, or people just interested in Victorian era homes and antiques come join your old friends or make new friends at this event.


House tours: The Doron house; a rare Victorian shingle-style house listed on the Ohio Historic Inventory; will be open for visitation daily at 10:00 AM to 9:30 PM during the two-day event.  The house was built in 1889 by Joseph Doron who built several very prominent buildings in the City of Hamilton including the Dorona Apartments and the Verona Apartments both on High Street and both on the Ohio Historic Inventory.
 

PLEASE… no children the house unless accompanied by an adult!

Early wireless equipment and radio exhibits:  Doron Brothers Electric Company early wireless equipment from the pre-1910 to the 1915 era and Doron radios and equipment from the 1920’s will be on display on the first floor of the house along with some 1920’s radios made by other former manufacturers in Ohio.


Directions:
From I-75 go west on route 129 into downtown Hamilton (High Street) and cross the bridge over the Great Miami river.  When crossing the bridge stay to the right and the lane will curve onto Park Ave.  Go one block on Park Ave. then turn right on North C Street.  329 North C Street is two blocks up the hill opposite a wooded area. The event gathering area is in the backyard.  Visitors should walk up the driveway to the carriage porch area and come through the yard gate where you can either enter the Doron house from the kitchen door for visiting the house OR you can proceed to the rear of the property for the amateur radio operations.

Parking:
There is street parking on only one side of North C Street at the top of the hill.  There is very limited parking along the fence of the property in the alley between North C and D Streets. (The south end of the alley is off of Jackson St. between C and D Streets)  Parking in the backyard is reserved for the event's station operators and hosts.

Facilities, activities:
Sitting and gathering areas are located around the backyard in the gardens, on the deck, and in the garage.  There is a children's play area with swings and a slide.  Soft drinks and snacks will be provided in the yard, garage, and the kitchen. 
Bathroom on first floor near the kitchen for ladies please.  Outdoor toilet facility in backyard for men please.

 

Contacts for information (you will need JavaScript turned on to view any e-mail addresses below):

Doron house hosts: Bob and JoAnn Anello.   (Bob 513-236-9402)   E-mail to:

Event organizers:
Butler County Amateur Radio Association ("BCARA") website http://www.bcara.net

Doron Bros. Electrical Co. radio history and Doron family history webpages: http://www.historic-prospect-hill.org/doron.html

QRZ special event forum thread for the event: http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?309593-W8WRK-commemoration-of-historic-Land-Station-8ZU-WRK-and-Hamilton-OH-radio-history 

eHam special event forum thread for the event: http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,77029.0.html

 

 

Last edited on 01/20/2012 01:35 PM