The year 2010 marked the 50th year of the existence of the Elliot Lake Amateur Radio Club. In September 1959, VE3HK (Harold Kenny) arrived from the Porcupine area to take up a position teaching at the Elliot Lake Secondary School. Among the first local residents, he met Mr. Maurice De Cheveigne and Lembit Tirrul, the owner and service technician of Top TV, A radio and television sales and service enterprise. Having previously been a code and theory instructor for the Timmins Radio Club, He persuaded both to join him in instructional sessions around the Kenny kitchen table. Together with Dave Todd, A local miner, the three graduated in the spring of 1960 as VE3ETB and VE3ABE. Some months later, John Isaac (VE3APD) already a licensed operator, arrived from the Kingston Ontario area. These five amateurs formed what we know as The Elliot Lake Amateur Radio Club. All but VE3HK are now silent keys.
Although the cancellations of the uranium contracts by the United States in the fall of 1959 had immediate and devastating effects on the town and, although VE3AZC returned to France, and VE3ABE died, the club persisted with its diminishing membership. Some years there were barely enough members for an executive staff. classes were to be held whenever a prospective member presented him or herself as a possible member. A news letter was published more or less frequently. North Shore Hams, Ken Hagger (VE3FKJ) of Blind River and Dick Boutet (VE3BYH) of Cutler, joined the club. Some of the stationery from this period still exists, complete with its uranium symbol logo.
Throughout the 60's up to the 80's this adhoc method of dealing with issues continued. In this way our current president at this time, George Palm (VE3AGP), our long time member Jim McCourt (VE3EXG), along with Mike Ladouceur (VE3JIG), plus numerous others were added to the roll. Persons such as Dave Campbell (VE3EGC) a Bell Canada employee, were examples of those who came and went during this period. One of our most notable additions during this time (1975) was Grace Sutherland (VE3HBZ), a White-Caner who has become E.L.A.R.C.'s best known member and is one of the most capable net controllers in Ontario.
However it was not until the mine closures in the early 1990's and the advent of Retirement Living with its relatively low housing costs, which attracted a huge influx of people into Elliot Lake, that our membership increased dramatically. Among those were a number of Already Licensed Radio Operators and an even greater number of seniors who were looking for activity, such as Amateur Radio to fill their retirement hours. Ham Radio Classes were conducted annually. The Elliot Lake Amateur Radio Club had been revitalized. A formal Constitution was drafted in 1992 and thanks to a succession, our activities grew exponentially.
These Days, our members hold steady just under the 30 member mark. Like most Amateur Radio Clubs, we are a group of oldsters for the most part some young ones as well. and aiming for more in the future. As a general rule, silent keys diminish our members, new arrivals keep the membership numbers almost constant. With few exceptions, technical activity is minimal. our goal is for all intensive purposes a social club. but we are good at it.
Submitted by the founding president
Harld Kenny (VE3HK)