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80 YEARS OF 'HAMMING IT UP': Muskegon amateur radio club celebrates milestone anniversary

In November 1941, the Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council was established. 80 years later, the membership continues to grow and fill the ham radio airwaves.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — At its core, what is a hobby?

It's something people are passionate about and use as a diversion, of sorts.

A group of hobbyists in Muskegon is celebrating 80 years of being "on the air," communicating with fellow radio broadcasters from all over the world.

It was November 1941, about a month before the attack on Pearl Harbor. A group of ham radio operators decided to have a picnic at Pioneer Park in North Muskegon. 68 people attended, and with that, the Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council was born.

"We have an amazing legacy," said Tom Porritt, 75, and club member since 1992. "It's truly been an electronic progression from that time to today."

The club's membership level hasn't shrunk much in 80 years. Today, it stands at 65, and includes ham radio aficionados from all over Michigan.

"We actually have a clubhouse deep in the woods off Scenic Drive in North Muskegon," Porritt added. "We have our monthly meetings there."

Ham radio is defined as the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting and emergency communication. 

"It's extremely addictive," said Rick Fyan, 65, and vice president of the council. "We have some club members who do it 24 hours a day."

The club is always looking to add new members. They offer mentorships to help those interested get started, and you can take the test to become licensed at the clubhouse.

"None of the founders of the club are with us anymore, but it continues on," said Porritt. "We're all about growing our membership so the next generation can carry it on for 80 more years."

If you're interested in learning more, or becoming a member, click here and you'll be redirected to the Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council's website.

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