A Little History Of W4IBM ARC

In the beginning, IBM wanted the ability to communicate with any employee’s located in a disaster area should regular communions be interrupted. Sometime in the late 70’s, the IBM company purchased radio equipment, antennas, supportive equipment, and with the help of radio amateurs working within the company, the “Atlanta IBM Amateur Radio Club” was created.

The callsign was W4IBM. (Whiskey 4 India Bravo Mike).

The HF radio equipment at that time was a complete line of DRAKE equipment including a TR7 100 watt transceiver, an L7 1500 watt linear amplifier, phone patch, and PWR/SWR equipment.

The VHF equipment was a commercial Motorola repeater and was located on the first floor of building 2 on Glennridge Drive in North Atlanta.

The club had approximately 150 members at that time. Many of the members were IBMer’s visiting Atlanta and attending the education facility at Glennridge Drive. They could join the club for $1.00/year membership and they could use the radio equipment anytime while they were in Atlanta and any time they returned during that year.

IBM later upgraded the facilities by moving the Repeater site atop the 9 story building at 1500 Riveredge in North Atlanta. A new Superstation Master antenna was installed giving the usable coverage area within a 50 mile radius.

The HF radio station was moved to the 11th floor of the Hillside building at 4111 Northside Parkway in Atlanta. There was a new Log Periodic antenna on a 20 ft tower installed, along with an All Band HF vertical and a Dual Band VHF UHF antenna. With the antennas and the radio equipment at the new location, many contacts were made to points all over the world.

As Years went by:

The radio equipment was later up graded to a new ICOM 765 transceiver and a ICOM 706 backup.

Later when the ICOM 765 failed, it was replaced with a ICOM 746.

Eventually we retired the Drake TR7 and donated it to the Raleigh IBM Amateur Radio Club. And the ICOM 765 and the Drake L7 were privately sold.

The new W4IBM Amateur Radio Club:

In 2012 IBM was downsizing and discontinued all of the IBM Clubs including the Atlanta IBM Amateur Radio Club.

The radios and equipment were donated by the old members to the newly created W4IBM Amateur Radio Club.

The repeater was relocated to the 1st Baptist Church in Lower Roswell. Unfortunately, at the new location, the coverage of the repeater was limited to only a few miles and became almost unused a repeater.

The HF equipment is stored and only used during Field Days and Special Events.

A New Home for the W4IBM Repeater:

In the Summer of 2019, Rick Bowhall K4ZMW, the club Treasurer, volunteered to put the W4IBM repeater at his home which is about mid-way between Dallas and Douglasville, GA.

Unfortunately Rick became ill and passed. He is now a "K4ZMW/SK" as of September of 2019.

In the spring of 2020 the repeater will move again to a new location which is still in the planning stage.

The W4IBM repeater is still active on 145.290 MHz, Minus offset, 85 Hz tone.

By Charles Turner - W4IBM Club President