From Small Beginnings

A Brief History of the Guelph,
Kitchener-Waterloo and the
South Waterloo Amateur Radio Clubs.

Produced by the Kitchener-Waterloo Amateur Radio Club.

It is with regret that we announce that Jim VE3AAI became a Silent Key in 1997

Jim Sweet VE3AAI James L. Sweet
38 5th Avenue
Cambridge (Galt),

First Licenced:
December 1934

Callsign since then: VE3AAI
The first meeting of the Radio Club of Galt was held in the basement of my home at 28 Cameron St. Galt in late 1933.

How I Got Interested In Radio and Became A Radio Amateur.

Early in life as a young man, I moved from my home in Galt, Ontario to Detroit USA. After working in Ontario as a bank clerk for five dollars a week, the pastures seemed to be greener south of the border.

My first job in Detroit was with the DXL Radio Corporation. This firm made condensers for telegraph and radio use and this work was my first introduction to anything pertaining to electronics. I listened to the few broadcasting stations that were on the air in the early twenties and became interested in finding out what went on behind the scenes in the stations. When the company put WDXL on the air I was right there and was thrilled to listen to the piano being played in the front office, to see all the needles on the transmitter panels moving, to smell the ozone-like air in the transmitter room and to feel part of something that was changing every day life for most of us.

I next went to work for Western Electric helping to install switching equipment in telephone offices and in working with landline repeaters and telegraph equipment in general. All this type of work was preparing me for the day when I would become a radio amateur. So it was that when I went to work for the Jewett Radio Corporation I worked with a Mrs. Seymour who owned WJR known as the Goodwill station.

Now I had more time on my hands so started experimenting and building my first radio receiving sets. Coils were hand wound on cardboard cylinders; old discarded superhets were mine for the picking up so I was able to get lots of parts for what I needed. At this time my work was mostly repairing radios and phonographs.

In 1929 I decided to move back to Ontario as my brother who was with me in Detroit had just died. I started work for the Grimes Radio Company. This company is now Electrohome in Kitchener. I was living in Galt now and was running into some of the radio amateurs in the area. It did not take long for some of their enthusiasm to rub off on me and I decided to be a radio amateur too.

The first radio club in the area was formed in 1933 and was called the Galt Radio Club. I must have been very much involved by now as the first meeting was held in my own home. I remember Bill Barrie who lived on a farm outside Galt, being elected the first president of the club. My home then was 28 Cameron Street and that street is now part of the city of Cambridge.

The original members of the Galt club were as follows: James L. Sweet, Bill Barrie, Bill Scott, Mate Wilson, Lloyd Jones. There may have been others but these are the only names I can recall now. Some of the original members still did not have their amateur licences and I was one of them. I studied hard so was able to be licenced in late December 1934 or early January 1935. My call sign was and still is VE3AAI.

The club continued to flourish and to attract members from all the districts in the area. Around 1936-37 Howard BLACKIE Taylor organized the Progressive Radio Club with Bill Barrie being its first president. Meetings were held monthly in various locations around Kitchener, Guelph and Galt. Dues were 50 cents a meeting according to some old records. Maybe that was fifty cents a year as fifty cents in those days meant as much as 5 dollars to us now-a-days.

Some of the members from Guelph were Gord MacPhail, Fred Holm, Mac Gammon, Fred Hammond, Roy Chappell, Ralph Bartlet, Crawford Robinson, Howard Matthews and others.

In Galt we had Blackie Taylor, Mate Wilson, Johnny Bolt, Lloyd Jones, Bill Scott, Bill Barrie, J Stauffer, Connie Gorth, Gord Clarke and Jim Sweet. Going over to Kitchener & Waterloo we note the following: Newt Good, Norm Friedmann, Don Russell, Hubert Stumpf, Earl Stickney. There may have been others but I have no record of them.

The Progressive Radio Club continued until the outbreak of World War II and was briefly reorganized at the end of the war but then with the area population so much increased, each district formed its own club. Guelph ARC, KW ARC, SWARC all came into being and continue to flourish to the present time.


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