Originally published in The Flash, September/October, 2003
Our club, the Colorado Radio Collectors, had a predecessor organization, which was known as the Rocky Mountain Antique Wireless Association. It was referred to generally as the RMAWA.
In the beginning, it was a small organization made up largely of amateur radio operators and other technical folk. As word of the organization spread, it began to attract new members and to grow. By current measure, it was a small group and meetings were held in members' homes and consisted of general business items being discussed, show and tell, buy and sell, collecting of dues ($3 annually) after which refreshments were served. The RMAWA had a newsletter known as “RADIO LOG” which contained some of the same articles we have today, such as techniques, "wanted/for sale" ads, photos, and club news - any input to make a good newsletter.
As the club grew, we began to need a larger place to meet as most homes could not accommodate a large group. I believe the first such place was the Southwest State Bank (now Vectra Bank) on South Federal Bl., which eventually served the CRC as well.
Early on the RMAWA was involved in annual mall shows. Included in these were the Westminster and Northglenn malls.
The club prospered for many years and we both gained and lost members as interests changed or people moved away. Still there remained the assumed need that one must be technically savvy or you would not be able to join. Even though that was downplayed the club began to struggle and decreased in size. There seemed to be some lack of interest and RMAWA began to flounder as the gap between the "haves and have nots" widened. In the mid 1980's the club essentially came to a halt.
And yet a spark of interest remained and in the spring of 1987 many phone calls were made to see if we might begin again. With the help of Bill Green, a gathering was held at his home in Morrison which included a picnic and swap fest. From that new beginning sprang the roots of our own CRC.
In October of 1988 the first official CRC meeting was held in the home of Ron Smith who is still a member. Other charter members who are still in the CRC are; Rick Ammon, Dave Boyle, Leamon Brooks, Doug Furney, Dick Hagrman, Johnny Johnson, Bob Slagel, Ray Windrix, Barney Wooters and Bruce Young. Please excuse this author if there are others that I’ve missed.
One particularly memorable early CRC event was the crystal and one tube radio contest that was held at Bill Green’s home during one of the first meetings held. We all brought our radios and hooked them up to antennas to see who could receive a signal from the greatest distance.
In October of 1990 the CRC published the first issue of it’s newsletter, the Flash! (see page 7) which has been in continuous publication ever since. The first publisher of the Flash! was Rick Ammon who did a tremendous job for five years. The baton was then passed to Larry Weide who did the publishing chores for the next six years. Today the Flash! is in the capable hands of Steve Touzalin.
When it became apparent that the membership was too large to hold meetings in private homes, we too began a search for a permanent meeting place. A number of short term locations were found, but it wasn’t until the early 90’s that we found a permanent home at the public library on West Bowles. From here, like nomads, we eventually moved on to the public library on West 20th, then back to the Southwest State bank, the Wazee Electric Company meeting room for a short time and finally to our current location at the Museo De las Americas Museum at Sante Fe and 8th Ave..
The CRC attracted a more diversified range of collectors than the RMAWA had and consequently provided the synergy for more and varied activities. Thus we instituted the annual Show and Sale in April, the regularly scheduled picnic, the meeting raffle and, of course, the annual auction in September. The raffle and the auction were particularly important since they provided club income in order to support our other activities.
Throughout the CRC years there have also been many special events associated with other organizations in our community. These would include shows and classes at Belmar (now known as the Lakewood’s Heritage Center), a show at the Denver Symphony Orchestra’s opening night and programs with KEZW, the Denver nostalgia station.
Another great association we’ve had over a number of years is with the Wings Over The Rockies AirMuseum. CRC member Bart Whitehouse is the museum’s Curator of Avionics. Although it’s focus is aviation, the museum has extended the mission of the avionics display room to include the history of communications. Consequently, Bart has enlisted a number of our members to help him with the restoration of many of his artifacts which include “antique radios”. The association with the museum is a cooperative one so that in turn our members have had great meetings and tours in the museum, curtsey of Bart.
Many of us, our club, throughout the USA and around the world believe that the history and artifacts associated with “wireless” is important enough to warrant special attention to it’s preservation. Isn’t it wonderful that we can do this by being part of a great club, so that as a group we have the advantage of enjoying our passion with other like minded folks.
This special Flash! issue is our way of celebrating fifteen years of the Colorado Radio Collectors Antique Radio Club’s continuous existence and success. The CRC is the only center of “wireless” knowledge in the Rocky Mountain region. We can all help to maintain this status by actively participating in CRC activities and contributing to the newsletter.
Lastly, as we look back over the history of the CRC, I think it would be appropriate to take a moment and remember some of those past CRC members and spouses who are no longer with us but are certainly not forgotten.
The Flash September/October, 2003
Early CRC Newsletters