Written by Max Francis VK2BMK (edited by Ken Golden VK2DGT) from club minutes and a few other documents that is available. From about 1990, notes were taken mainly from the “5x9” news letters.
In September 1978 three Coffs Harbour District amateurs, Norm Cameron VK2ZNQ, Brian Slarke VK2ZCQ[sk] and Max Francis VK2BMK, felt that as there was a lack of amateur activity in the area, an Amateur Radio Club would assist in the creation of more activity. With the aim of creating a club, they wrote to all amateurs in the area bounded by Macksville, Dorrigo and Woolgoolga, inviting them to a meeting to be held at the Ocean View Hotel, Urunga on 15th October 1978.
As it was felt that number of local CB operators would be interested in amateur radio, an invitation was issued to the Coffs Harbour CB club and several amateurs attended a meeting of the CB club to talk to the members and let them know the advantages of Amateur Radio.
The first meeting was held at the Ocean View with about 30 interested people in attendance. After an explanation of the reasons for the meeting and a general discussion several motions were presented and carried resulting in the formation of an Amateur Radio Club with the general boundaries of Macksville, Dorrigo and Woolgoolga and the name ‘Coffs Harbour and District Amateur Radio Club’. Several amateurs from the Port Macquarie area also joined to assist with getting the club running. Then assistance in the foundation was greatly appreciated.
A number of those present were CB operators. A provisional constitution, based on one suggested by the WIA was presented and adopted subject to final approval at the next meeting. The date of the next meeting was set as 3 December, again at the Ocean View Hotel. 25 of those present joined the club at the meeting. The initial membership list is thought to have been:- Jack Gerard VK2ADN, Arthur Monck VK2ATM
Harry Alderson VK2NSR-ep, Fred ReidVK2DLW
Paul Ireland VK2DMV, John Lake VK2OK. Stan Glyde
Arnold Austin vk2ada Terry Thorne VK2TL, VK2GC, Morrie Allen vk2qv
Peter Drady VK2NIE-dbi Bruce Telfer VK2NHZ-ddu,
Ken Golden VK2NSJ-dgt, Jim Brinkman VK2IS,
Rick Fletcher VK2NSY-bkv, Noel Hansen VK2AHH
Max Francis VK2BMK Norm Cameron VK2ZNQ-knc
Russel Ashdown VK2NUN Karen Ashdown VK2NUE
Brian Slarke VK2ZCQ, Dave Harding VK2DUR, Eric Collins vk2dah
Brian Lackie vk2dlm, Ray Golden vk2brg
Note - call signs in lower-case were gained later on.
The First Executive was: President Max Francis , Secretary Norm Cameron. Treasurer Brian Slarke, Committee: John Lake, Bruce Telfer, Rick Fletcher, Peter Drady.
It was also passed that the club sponsor the Urunga Convention and Field Day held over the Easter week-end each year.
As the Club had no meeting room at this stage a request was made for the use of a room at the Coffs Harbour Technical College and permission obtained. The first meeting was held on 14 February 1979. The Novice Course began on 21 February. There were several instructors at this stage. Some of them were Tony Langman, Norm Cameron and Rick Fletcher. Hans Schumacher was the CW instructor assisted by several others.
Arrangements were made for the use of rooms in the Manual Arts block at the Orara High School in Bray St. The move was made about June 1979.
Rick VK2NSV, [later vk2bkv] ran the Novice courses until he left the area in 1985 and as a result of his training many operators gained their Novice licenses. Assistance has also been given to many Novice operators to enable them to gain their Full or Limited licenses.
To assist students or operators Harry Alderson VK2NSR, [later vk2ep] conducted an early morning slow Morse training session on the air for various periods between 1979 and 1982. This Morse session was also used by many prospective amateurs outside the club area. The call sign VK2DVF was granted to the club for use as the club call sign and also used by a station at the Orara High run for interested students by Rick Fletcher. In 1988 after the death of Harry Alderson, the club callsign was changed to VK2EP as a memorial to Harry Alderson for his assistance with Morse training.
Sep. Formation of amateur radio club suggested. Local Amateurs and CB operators contacted.
15 Oct. Inaugural meeting at Ocean View Hotel Urunga.
22 Nov. 1st Committee meeting
3 Dec. Foundation meeting at Ocean View Hotel.
4 Dec. Club net commenced.
13/15 Apr. Urunga Convention
June Offer of Yaesu FT2F 2M Transceiver and aerials by Great Lakes Radio Club to be used as a 2M repeater
accepted. Picked up at Port Macquarie Field Day.
11 Jul. Club meeting place changed to Manual Arts Building at Orara High. Club moved to have supper after
meetings. Bruce VK2DDU First ‘tea lady’. Offer of Xtals for repeater by Peter Drady VK2DBI. accepted.
15 Oct. Club news session starts on Net. Rick Fletcher first news reader.
26 Oct. Club to donate Weller Solder Station to Orara High. $10 open order to top electronics student at Orara High.
28 Nov. Xmas party at Sandy Beach.
16 Mar. Family day at Urunga.
19 Mar. Talk by Bill Morris and Allan Wentworth from Integrated Engineering on Basic Digital Electronics.
4-6 Apr. Urunga convention.
9 Apr. Harry Alderson VK2NSR starts morning Slow Morse session.
Apr. Meeting at Coffs Harbour RSL. Farewell to Norm Cameron VK2ZNQ and Peter Drady VK2DBI.
23/24 May. Exhibit at Coffs Harbour Show.
31 May. Exhibit at Bellingen Show.
4 Jun. Start Novice.course #3. 26 enroll.
Rick Fletcher VK2BKV elected club WICEN co-coordinator.
10 Oct. Harry Alderson recommence morning slow Morse.
Nov. Presentation of Weller Soldering station and $10 open order as for 1979.
“URUNGA RADIO CONVENTION” Began in 1949 and was carried on mostly by members from the “Coffs Radio Club”
Compiled by: “Peter Alexander” VK2PA (1985, Peter is now silent key) It was on this expedition to “Point Plomer” north of “Port Macquarie” by VK2ASF, VK2SH and VK2PA for the “National Field Day” contest 1949 that a suggestion was made by “Crieff Retallick” VK2XO we have a “DOO” at “Urunga”, Easter 1949. This was held at “DO MEE” (boat shed there were two) on the banks of the river near the railway and road bridges during “Easter” of that year. It was from this meeting that the “URUNGA CONVENTION” developed into the longest running Amateur Convention Field day in “Australia” today.
After “Crieff Retallick” VK2XO passed away, It was continued on by “Brian Slarke” VK2ZCQ, for many years by himself until a few others amateurs joined him to help keep it going, they have tirelessly built it up to what it is today, the home of “Foxhunting”. The old perpetual trophies are still displayed each year. A very friendly gathering of amateurs keep returning to “Urunga” each year, they are all one big happy family "Urunga is a beautiful sea side village where the quite streets and by roads lends itself to pedestrian and mobile foxhunts. (Hidden Radio transmitters) The fishing, swimming, golf and bowls are popular with the tourist or if you travel up to Dorrigo via the Waterfall Way, you can view the beautiful national parks and the spectacular views from the lookouts.
The convention was a big love of Brian’s , if you wanted something done give it to a busy man , that was Brian he would get it done but had no time for pleasure himself , as he often remarked haven’t got time to scratch myself. (“Brian Slarke” VK2ZCQ “The FOX” passed away recently on 26 th November 2002).
The 2003 Convention was dedicated to Brian's memory. Ken Golden VK2DGT