The Richardson Wireless Klub is one of the oldest and longest continuously active Ham Radio clubs in Texas. We are aware of the tradition and generations of hams that came before us and we hope to continue to “advance the radio art” in the spirit of Amateur Radio.
Club Origin and Collins Radio (1950-1960)
In 1950, Collins Radio expanded and built a production facility in the new city of Richardson Texas (now a northern suburb of Dallas). With the plant, came the relocation of “more than a few” engineers and technical staff that were well versed in all things radio. Many were also hams. It wasn’t a stretch for them to congregate and form a club – the Richardson Amateur Radio Club.
Collins Radio has a rich history and is almost synonymous with ham radio. Among the Collins engineers that were prominent members of the RWK was Warren Breune W5OLY who some have referred to as “the inventor of SSB”. While Warren didn’t “invent” SSB, his team at Collins in the 1950s did more to advance and make SSB technology practical for use that anyone else, and his work on transmitters (particularly the Eimac 3-400Z/3-500Z) is still in wide use today. The RWK has named it’s most prestigious award in Warren’s name.
The Age of the Microchip (1960-1970)
Texas Instruments, having expanded rapidly, in 1955 purchased 250 acres bordering both Dallas and Richardson, Texas, for a corporate campus. With the campus open in the late 50s, many technical people would work and eventually live in Richardson. It was here that the integrated circuit was conceived and perfected. While not strictly a radio business, TI would employ many hams as well, and many of them also found their way to the RARC.
It was during this period that the club became known for its contesting and field day operations, consistently scoring in the top tiers of the entry class. RWK placed first, second, or third in the class they entered (1A, 2A, or 3A) for maybe a decade. The members who were big into contesting left the Klub and founded the North Texas Contest Club.
A New Name (1970-1980)
In 1970, the Richardson Amateur Radio Club renamed itself to the Richardson Wireless Klub to align with the K5RWK callsign that it had assumed from member William (Bill) Baugh (SK) after his death in 1968.
Other companies in the Richardson area that contributed members to the RWK were Electrospace Systems Inc (ESI), a major defense and communications company (now part of Raytheon).
Richardson Grows Up (1980-2000)
During the 80s, Richardson expanded greatly and with it many technical industries. It became known as the “Telecom Corridor” for its US headquarters of Northern Telecom (NorTel) and many other telecom related companies.
A New Century For RWK (2000-Present)
After several years of declining membership with the increasing age of the original members, the club once again started acquiring members and is now one of the largest clubs in Texas. We have a proud tradition to uphold!
– 73, K5RWK