I’ve been reading through some of the back issues of the Daily Collegian and its predecessors looking for more information about the club and its founding, since the 100th anniversary is (apparently) upon us. And if we’re claiming to be 100, it would be nice to have some proof of it.
So the first place I looked was in all the State Collegian issues from 1909, which were really interesting in and of themselves. There was a new railroad being built to service the area, mail delivery was just starting in the dorms, and Penn State beat the snot out of the Franklin and Marshall team. But unfortunately, there isn’t a single mention of wireless telegraphy, radio, or any other wireless technology.
The first mention of wireless technology comes in the November 24, 1910 edition of the State Collegian, where the paper mentions that a wireless station is being built that will be “thoroughly equipped in every detail”. The paper goes on to say that the station will be better equipped than any in the nation. I believe it’s safe to assume that an undertaking of this magnitude, that needs a monstrous amount of funding, would take some time to get rolling. So, in all probability, a small group of people would have started an organization the previous year geared towards amateur radio, and they had begun construction on a physical station the following year after getting enough funding.
But the concrete proof of the club’s founding date came gift wrapped with the perfect example of the club’s utility and purpose on campus. From the February 10, 1953 edition of the Daily Collegian, where it notes that the radio club is turning 44. It also recounts the story of how, after the radio station had gone online, there had been a giant sleet storm that brought down the telegraph lines that communicated with the signal stations along the new railway line. With the the telegraph knocked out, trains couldn’t start running until someone re-established communications. And the brand new Penn State Amateur Radio Club did just that, communicating with Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, and getting the trains running again.
I keep finding more cool stories, but that’s all I have for now. For those of you noticing some posts missing, they’re still online, you just have to log in to see them. No use criticizing an organization after they’ve already agreed to mend their ways. But those articles might resurface if they start slipping again.