YCCC: Its Birth & the Early Years - Part VI (Conclusion)
by Jeff Briggs, K1ZM

[Back to Part V]

[In the last ‘Butt, the events of the April 1977 reunification meeting were described which launched our club and gave it its name YCCC. Highlights from the club’s first year were also reviewed including summer gatherings, the October/NE Convention meeting in Hartford and the club’s first DXpedition to KP4EAJ. The story continues this month with other highlights from the club’s first two years.]

YCCC Makes Big Splash at Dayton

One of the first orders of business following the reunification meeting was to get out the word that a major new contest club had been born in New England. We wanted to establish ourselves in some way and Dayton, which was coming up in three weeks time, seemed a great way to get started.

In those early years, Jeff K1IU, ran a part-time travel agent business and if you wanted to get a room at the "Biltmore" (which was THE place that contesters stayed at) plus a plane ticket to Dayton, you definitely needed to work through "Itchy". Somehow Jeff had struck up a relationship with BOTH the manager of the Biltmore and the social director of the hotel and YCCC was really connected on this one! (Jeff continued to run his "shuttle service" to Dayton for several years after the club was formed and I always looked forward to it.)

We decided to host a hospitality suite all three nights at Dayton and passed the hat among YCCC Dayton attendees to cover beer and pretzels which were provided compliments of YCCC to those attending. Word was passed all day long at the flea market and by sun down each night, the YCCC Suite was the number 1 game in town – we had at least 300 guys in our suite, down the halls, in the bathroom, on the terrace – it was great and excellent publicity for the club. You could look around the room and you could not help but notice some of the biggest and best in contesting in those early years – guys like W7RM, W4BVV, W2PV, N6DX, W6HX, K0RF, K4VX and on and on.

There are two vignettes from that first year that need to be revisited because they were classics. On Friday night, around 10 PM we asked for quiet and Jim, W2PV, began conducting a slide show review of his station for the crowd. One guy, who I shall not name, was pretty blitzed and started interrupting Jim to ask questions. At first, although it was an annoyance, the questions seemed rational. But, he kept it up and would even interrupt Jim while he was trying to answer. It became a bad scene very quickly and you could tell that Jim was getting very frustrated by this guy.

It was then that Ted, K1OX, who was standing next to this guy took action. I was pretty close to Ted and, if you know or have ever met Ted, you know he is a big guy – he used to lift a lot of weights and you didn’t want to mess with him. He reaches over and grabs this guy by the scruff of the neck and whispers just loud enough for those in the immediate area to hear, "Look buddy – I am going to give you two choices. You either shut the Hell up or I am going to see you well you fly from the 10th floor!" And that was the last that was heard from the drunk kibitzer. Later on, when he was sober, he apologized to W2PV.

The second story happened later that same night. We were getting pretty low on beer and we still had Saturday night to go through, so we needed to collect more funds. We had put a coffee can out for donations but, as usually happens, most guys pretended not to notice it (you know the story, right?). We were discussing the problem when Fred, K1VR, joined the conversation. Fred said, "If we need more beer money, there’s a real easy way to get it. Let me handle this one!" So, Fred picks up the coffee can and for about the next two hours busts into each and every conversation on the floor and dangles the coffee can in front of everyone’s nose until they cough up some bucks. As he proceeded to seek out his next "victims" a group of us could only laugh and marvel at the audacity of it all. (I guess it takes a big pair of stones to be a successful Massachusetts lawyer! But it worked, and Fred collected more than enough to cover Saturday night’s beer by being aggressive!) Yea, Fred!

That first year YCCC also hosted a small contest dinner at the Tall Timbers Inn. Rush Drake, W7RM, and Ted Gillette, W6HX, sort of make the thing click and it became an annual event after that. In 1978, with a little more organization, we had over 100 attend the YCCC contest dinner. Word traveled very fast around the flea market!

CQ WW 1977 - Continued

YCCC did very well in the aggregate competition that first year, but we didn’t win. I think FRC did and we placed a strong second if my memory serves me well. We got a great write-up in CQ Magazine from Frank Anzalone, W1WY, who wrote something like "Newcomer YCCC came out of nowhere to finish #2! It looks like this club is going to be breathing down everyone’s necks from now on!" The next year, Frank Anzalone even came to a YCCC meeting to give out plaques won by the club which was a very nice gesture. He was a good friend to all and very gracious to YCCC in that first year.

Elections 1978

After a really exciting first year, it was time to elect a slate of officers to carry us into our second year. Sadly for us, Roger Burt, N4ZC, had finished his 20 years in the Coast Guard, and had decided to retire to his farm and a new home in North Carolina. We had held a going away party for him at Mort, W1UQ’s, place that summer and I was sorry to see the Rajah move on. He had been a major force in shaping YCCC and his contribution was definitely missed. (He would continue making great scores from North Carolina however, including some of the biggest that have ever come out of that state!)

I was asked to stay on and agreed to do it for one more year. The complete staff of club officers in 1978 was as follows:

President Jeff Briggs, K1ZM
Vice President Jeff Bouvier, K1IU
Secretary John Kenny, W1RR
Treasurer Bob Czajkowski, N1TZ
Activity Manager Doug Grant, K1DG

(It should be noted that Bob, N1TZ, continued to serve for many years as the club’s "financial whiz" and did a superlative job at it. He probably deserves an award as treasurer Emeritus of YCCC!)

1978 - Another Successful Year for YCCC

In 1978 we re-did Dayton with another suite that was a huge success. As already noted, the YCCC dinner at the Tall Timbers Inn was the premier event at Dayton and attended by over 100 of the best known contesters.

Dayton that year also brought with it another "classic" happening on Saturday night. The YCCC suite basically never quit, lasting until breakfast on Sunday morning. When you walked down the hall towards our suite, there were beer cans all over the hall about six inches deep. You almost had to have a navigator just to get there. I was standing in the hall with Gary Firtick, K1EB, when the guy across the hall came outside of his room. (To being with, this was a major "faux pas" because K1IU was thought to have made a deal with the Biltmore’s manager – there were not supposed to be any "civilians" staying anywhere on our floor in close proximity to the YCCC "war zone". But somehow this guy had come in late, needed a room, and was put directly across the hall from our suite.)

Well, he comes out of his room, sees all the hundreds of beer cans in the hall and goes into a rage! He began cursing all the noise from our suite and went on bitching about the fact that he couldn’t sleep at all that night. So Gary, in perfect deadpan, says to the guy, "So, what’s your problem buddy?" This enraged the guy even more and the last we saw of him was this guy yelling that he was going off to find the manager and kicking his way through beer cans all the way to the elevator bank! Little did he know that we were "hard-wired" with the manager, but we left it to him to find that out on his own!

K1RQ Comes Through…Again!

In 1978, the club ran a whole host of bulk purchase deals for members. Many of them were the brain trust of Dana, K1RQ. Dana put together at least three major tower orders that I can remember amounting to around 8000’ of various sizes of Rohn stuff at big discounts for YCCC members. He later followed with deals on rotators as well.

K1DG put together a deal on hardline that was enormously popular. I think members got the equivalent of RG-17 hardline for around 2 cents per foot on huge telephone type reels. I can tell you that there was a real shortage of U-Haul trailers in New England that second summer of 1978. Everybody wanted in on that action.

The 1978 DX Tests

In the ARRL DX Contest, N4ZC treated us to N4ZC/KH6 - Kure. It was good stuff, and I worked Roger on 5 bands, missing only 160 from W1ZM. In CQ WW, we had Bill, N1GL, in the Caribbean somewhere and Buzz at VP1AJ. Major multis again took place at W2PV, W1ZM, and K1OX in New Hampshire.

Scenes We’d Like to See Again Department - 1978 or Thereabouts

Elections - 1979

In April, it was time to do it all again. The club was now two years old and well on its way to being a contender again. It was clearly time to pass the baton to someone else and we were fortunate to have K1DG ready and willing to try to "turn the club into a winner" to paraphrase Doug’s first editorial in the ‘Butt as the club’s new President. The new slate of club officers for year three were:

President Doug Grant, K1DG
Vice President Fred Lass, K2TR
Secretary Bill Myers, K1GQ
Treasurer Bob Czajkowski, N1TZ (Mr. Emeritus!)
Activity Manager Mark Pride, K1RX

Final Comments

With the election of a new team it was time to take a breather and focus on some other personal priorities that needed attention. All of the principal objectives we had set out to achieve had been accomplished and YCCC had become a recognized force in club aggregate contesting.

We had also managed to build a club where ALL contesters, big and small, with monster arrays and kinky wires, were equally welcome. Looking back 15 years, it has been a pleasure to note that "how to" programs like the current YCCC Contest Universities are still with us helping to keep interest high for the new blood coming into the club. Club meetings continue to be filled with interesting programs that keep attendance high!

In large measure, this has been the direct result of the excellent leadership that YCCC has managed to maintain over the years. I am thinking of guys like K1AR, KM1C, K2VV, K1KI, K2TR, N1AU, KC1F, K2WR and the others who have remained actively involved in giving of their time in order to make YCCC what it continues to be today… one of the best damn contest clubs in the USA and a great place to have fun! Let’s hope it remains that way – and, here’s to the next 15 years!