YCCC: Its Birth & the Early Years - Part V
by Jeff Briggs, K1ZM

[Back to Part IV] [ Go to Part VI ]

[We left the story with both MM and NECC members, assembled in separate meetings, having voted to merge and form a new club. We pick up in this issue with the unification meeting that was held in Worcester in early 1977 to form the new club.]

The New Club is Formed and Gets a Name

The unification meeting that was held in Worcester was probably the longest YCCC meeting in the club’s history because of the incredible amount of official business required to form the new club. We had an enormous turnout at the meeting; the event had been well-publicized and enthusiasm was high.

The core working committee had produced a recommended slate of officers which was presented and voted on by the group. These were:

President Jeff Briggs, K1ZM
Vice President Roger Burt, N4ZC
Secretary John Kenny, W1RR
Treasurer Bob Cjazkowski, N1TZ
Activities Manager Charlie Carroll, K1XX

After this was done, the next order of business was the process of selecting a club name. I do not remember them all but I know they included the following:

Murphy’s Marauders

NorthEast Contest Club

Eastern Avalanche

Yankee Clipper Contest Club

I was always partial to the name Eastern Avalanche myself. It had a great motto: "Eastern Avalanche – we bury the competition!"

Much discussion was held about these names and a few more. One comment passed by George, K2DM, was that Y triple C sounded pretty neat. There was already an N triple C and an S triple C – why shouldn’t there be a Y triple C? Then, when you tried to pronounce it, it came out with something that sounded like "Yech!". Maybe that wasn’t such a good name after all!

There was sentiment expressed that the name "Yankee" in the title denoted a club of New England origin which was appropriate and that the word "Clipper" in the title was nautical which was also fine since much of the club’s territory is composed of states bordering on water.

There was discussion also about keeping the name MM or NECC but, after a while, it seemed clear that most people wanted to really make a complete break with the old and have a completely different name.

After about an hour, we put it to a vote. Murphy’s and the rest all received votes but YCCC was a clear winner and a motion was made and seconded to call ourselves the "Yankee Clipper Contest Club" or YCCC - A Club of DX and Contest Oriented Amateurs in the Northeastern USA. This later slogan, by the way, appeared on the bottom of the original club QSL cards printed for club members for several years. (By the way, does anyone remember who it was who actually named our club? In case you’ve forgotten, it was Roger Prince, W1BR (K1KDP) who came up with the name at our first meeting. Roger, by the way, is still an active member of the club and can often be seen with his longtime buddy at meetings, Jack Rosiello, K1KNQ. Thanks, Roger! It was a good name and it has stuck!)

After a break, we read aloud the club constitution and there was discussion on this topic as well. It was ratified with a few minor modifications. We then selected club area managers and gathered information on each prospective member to form a final roster for submission to ARRL HQ. (There was a lot of paperwork after the meeting and I can tell you that personally don’t ever want to have to do it again!)

A vote was taken to elect everyone present who wished to join as members of the new club. This may sound odd, but there were a number of former MM members who actually came to the meeting just to see how things progressed. One who joined, then left to rejoin MM and then came back again to YCCC was K1RM, Vinnie Sgroi. I remember receiving a most thoughtful note from Vince at the time, too. As far as I know he is now back in the club again – glad to have you Vince!

This was one of the beauties of the YCCC charter. It allowed membership in more than one club. A number of guys became members of the new MM for participation in the SS contest and threw in with YCCC to participate in CQ WW and the ARRL DX Test. That was perfectly acceptable under the YCCC charter and we surely appreciated the points.

The Newsletter Gets a Name, Too

After the dust settled from the meeting, it was time to write up the story in the club newsletter. But we did not have a name for it yet. I had a few ideas (none of them good) and called Roger Burt for some help. (I always enjoyed calling Roger. He was in the Coast Guard and when you reached the base, he never could be reached directly. So, when the call was routed to him from the switchboard, he would never actually know who was calling and would answer with a crisp, "Mr. Burt". The military still clings to the formality of the "Mister" title for its officers.)

It was the "Rajah" who came up with the name of the ‘Butt. It went this way:

We were talking about it and all of a sudden he blurts out, "How about calling it the Scuttlebutt?"

"How come?", I said.

Rog sez, "Well, you know what a scuttlebutt is, don’t you?"

I said, "Of course I do. You know I was in the Navy – it is the name the Navy give to a drinking fountain. What the blazes does that have to do with YCCC?"

Not to belabor this too long, the deal was that Roger actually had a great idea. Here’s why:

1.) Navy personnel always congregate at the drinking fountain and kind of BS with each other (very often instead of doing any real work!).

2.) The stories and information swapped later become known as "Scuttlebutt". One seaman will be overheard saying something like, "Did you hear the latest scuttlebutt about this or that?" It was another name for the latest news or rumors about goings-on.

3.) Since our club had a nautical name, a Navy/Coast Guard term also fit well.

4.) No other major club that we knew of was using the name at the time.

So that is how the ‘Butt got its name! The "Scuttlebutt" became YCCC’s journal to tell members about the latest news and rumors going on within the club. And, it happened just that way a couple of days after the YCCC’s initial meeting. Kudos again to the "Rajah"!

By the way, if you have never had the chance to see one of the original ‘Butts you should do so, (I am told K1AR has a complete collection from issue number 1) as they were quite different from the slick publication we have today. These were hand typed at my office at work on weekends and the masthead was made by hand using stick-on "Letraset" letters. The masthead also contained not only the club name but also a picture of a clipper ship with the letters "YCCC" emblazoned on its hull. Behind the clipper ship also appeared the words "The Clipper’s Wake" with a picture of several boats floundering around aimlessly in the wake with their hulls labeled NCCC, PVRC, FRC, etc. Various quotes would also appear on the masthead from month to month such as "#1 is more FUN!".

These newsletters were Xeroxed by a friend at work in the lithograph department in order to save money. They were then collated and addressed by hand in order to conserve club funds. Thusly, we were able to do the early newsletters for the mere cost of the postage. By being a member of YCCC, you got about 8-9 newsletters a year for the mere annual dues at that time of $5 a year – what a deal!

The Story Continues

By now it was Spring and our next official meeting wouldn’t be held until October at the New England Division Convention in Hartford. I submitted the ARRL paperwork and out charter to the League and we became officially sanctioned as an ARRL affiliated club. That first summer we held many pizza and beer gatherings to maintain the interest in the club. One was held at W1ZM’s QTH. Earlier that same day, Ted Gamlin (K1OX) and I (along with a large ground crew) hoisted up a monster 40m Yagi with a 74’ reflector at Gerry’s place. That night, after we had hooked up the coax, K1OME put it through its paces and remarked that it sure made the band come alive! A number of similar gatherings were also held in MA/NH and NY. Interest in the club continued high.

The New England Convention

The Fall meeting in Hartford at the convention was memorable for several reasons. It brought with it the original version of the "Eimac the Magnificent" routine jointly done by yours truly with able assistance from K1DG as Ed McMahon. Members were treated to questions and answers that were drawn from popular television shows at that time. These five drew the biggest laughs:

(DG) Answer: Eight is Enough!
(ZM) Question: How come Arnold doesn’t run 15 KW on 75 meter phone?
(DG) Answer repeated: Eight is Enough!

(DG) Answer: WKRP in Cincinnati!
(ZM) Question: What is the last entry in K1AR’s Sweepstakes log?
(DG) Answer repeated: WKRP in Cincinnati!

(DG) Answer: The Incredible Hulk.
(ZM) Question: What’s the best kind of amplifier to use in the Sweepstakes Contest?
(DG) Answer repeated: The Incredible Hulk.

(DG) Answer: Walton’s Mountain.
(ZM) Question: How come W2YV can’t run JA’s?
(DG) Answer repeated: Walton’s Mountain.

(DG) Answer: The Electric Company.
(ZM) Question: Who collects half of W2HCW’s monthly retirement check?
(DG) Answer repeated: The Electric Company.

And so it went. Everyone seemed to enjoy it! DG gave it a name – "Briggs-Mac". It was the forerunner to Rich Gelber’s, K2WR, current routine which gets resurrected every couple of years for an encore, with new material.

The meeting’s turnout was well over a hundred and we signed up around 15 new members. Strategy was planned for the upcoming CQ WW with K1XX helping coordinate stations and available operators. Early plans were made for the upcoming club expedition to KP4EAJ for the CW test.

At one of the breaks, WB2CHO/VP2ML, Chod Harris, dropped in and passed out leaflets announcing the formation of a second generation Murphy’s Marauders and soliciting members for the new club. The idea was fine, but I always thought the timing and choice of venue to sign up members (after all – this was a YCCC formal meeting no less!) was both in poor taste and bad judgement.

Our First Club Contest – CQ WW 1977

An all-out push was made our first year in CQ WW, we had multis all over the place with W2PV, W1ZM, W2YV and others leading the way. Our natural New England advantage gave us a big boost and we had a big number at the half-way mark. A group of us decided to go to KP4EAJ to try to eke out a win with a semi-major multi expedition which included K2DM, N4ZC, K1OME, K1ZM, and Chet, KP4EAJ.

One comedic happening during the expedition was around 10PM Friday night of the test. I was running a pile on 20 CW when the phone rang. Chet picked it up, handed it to me, and said, "It’s for you!" Now I thought he was out of his mind because nobody was expected to be calling me at KP4EAJ. I picked up the phone and it was Fred, K1VR. He wanted to know if he could fly in and join the expedition! It thought he was "Bats", but by mid-Saturday, Fred had arrived and helped us round out the team for the rest of the contest. Monday morning Pedro, NP4A, called in to advise us that UK9AAN, Willy, was on 20m wanting to know who had won the MM class. As luck would have it, KP4EAJ was world high that year and had beaten all comers including Willy’s MM team at UK9AAN.

We took some slides while there at Chet’s place and showed them as highlights at our next club meeting. In one of them, K1OME was shown lifting a galvanized garbage can with a 40m sloper tied off to one of its handles as an anchor point. We called that one, "K1OME rotating the 40m array!" It drew a big laugh from the crowd at the meeting.

[ Go to Part VI ]