To the knowledge of this author, prior to the reorganization of South-Cars, there was no attempt to formulate the history of South-Cars in a document that could be passed on for future generations to learn about the history of this long lived net on the forty meter band.
The reorgaization of South-Cars consisted of: Removal of the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasure, Board of Directors, disbandment of the Organizations By-Laws, and discontinuation of membership dues. The leadership and control of South-Cars was bestowed upon a single member in good standing, who became the Net Manager.
In December 1998, when the first South-Cars website was placed on the Internet, we obtained our first written documentation of South-Cars' history; authored by WA4HWN-Ron. His Constructed history provided the foundation for this writing. I thank him for all his hard work and contributions he made over the years to ensure the continuation of South-Cars.
There are many others within our membership who have made significant contributions to the success of South-Cars through the decades of operations. Unfortunately, the ebbing tides of time have washed away the foot prints from the sands of those who were here in the beginning. You will discover many in this writing who have made significant contributions after the reorganization of South-Cars. If I have overlooked anyone, I apologize.
A special THANK YOU goes out to those who provided information for the content of this document. they are:
WA4HWN - Ron, First Webmaster
ND4Z - Rick, Net Manager
W4FJE - Mark, Database Manager
N4LTT - Bill, Longest Serving Net Control Station
N4GUV - Bill, Net Control Station
Throughout the decades, most of the history concerning South-Cars was not recorded and if it was, it was not passed along to the new elected members of management, or it was just lost. However, the net has been in operation for nearly five decades (50 years), unfortunately, documents are not available to substantiate this claim, only verbal history as provided by our oldest members. There have been reports that South-Cars was in operation as far back as ca. 1960, however this is not likely, but most verbal reports close in on the years ca. 1996 or 1997. SO, we can say with some confidence, South-Cars has been around for many decades.
In the beginning, there was a "strucured" organization consisting of a President; Vice-President; Secretary/Treasurer and a Board of Directors. Board Meetings were held on the air, generally on a monthly basis up until ca. 1993 when interest fell off.
Members were issued wallet size membership cards (see photo right) and the money in the treasury (dues were $5.00 per year), was used to pay postage and printing costs for a quarterly news letter, the membership cards and occasional acquisitions such as a large South-Cars' banner which was proudly displayed at various hamfests, (Not sure what happened to that banner?); South-Cars would rent a table and set up a booth, or if a member already had
a table they would display it and answer questions regarding the organization.
The net was always conducted on 7.251MHZ with two, 2 hour sessions a day. On occasion, there were efforts to add to the net time, however it remained at that standard. Several discussions were conducted centering on moving the opeation to a different frequency, which would eliminate fighting the foreign broadcast stations on and near 7.250MHZ occurring in that early time frame. However, it was determined the broadcast stations helped to preserve the frequency for us and served as a kind of "guardian." With modern equipment of the day, one hardly notices the broadcast stations.
There have been several net managers assigned over the years, however they performed the duties of the current Net Scheduler: They were, Jack - KB2MMP(SK), Charlie N4QVT, Dave KF4RO (pictured left); who was the Net Manager during the reorganization of SCARS and key driving influence of the reorganization.
In 1997/8, the organization ran into internal strife, due to a decrease in membership; drop off in the number of events, coupled with low attendance at events and the lack of transparency in the operations of the organization. A movement by key members was started, working toward reorganizing South-Cars; eventually a vote to disband and
reorganize was taken. A write-in vote, (after several meetings), among the members (about 400) was conducted; resulting in the approval to proceed with the reorganization.
In the early 1990's, the Secretary/Treasurer, Ed - KB4AOP was responsible for publishing the quarterly news letter. The contents of which were of the events that occurred during that quarter and the announcement of upcoming events, (South-Cars luncheons etc.); including hamfest that were scheduled prior to the next issue of the news letter. There was a listing of all silent keys who passed during the privious quarter included.
At some point in time ca. 1990, Ed had the idea to create what he called South-Cars' "BUCKS." Well, I don't know how many were printed and distributed. If you happen to have some, don't reprint or distribute them to anyone. They were done by copying a real $100.00 bill and then modifying it to some degree. This was then and still is, an illegal practice copying U.S. Treasury Currency. I am sure Ed was informed of this shortly afterwards and that is why they were not available for very long.
At the time of reorganization, the treasury had just over $3,000.00 and these funds were donated to carefully chosen schools in Florida who sponsored student radio clubs.
Designed by KF4RO/ Copyright © 2020, All rights reserved/ KF4RO.COM ~ Est. 05/2019
During the reorganization, John WB4GOV, (picture right), volunteered and was appointed Net Manager; who really provided the LEADERSHIP responsible for the growth and popularity of South-Cars. There is just not enough space in this document to list all that John did for South-Cars. He put a lot of his personal life into the continued development of South-Cars. Following John were, Gordon - KY6V, Bill - WD5KAE and at the time of this writing, Rick - ND4Z, for the past 10 (+/-) years.
After the reorganization occurred, membership numbers were assigned abitrarily without regard to length of time as a member. Once you go back
before member number 400, only the numbers above that serve as an indicator to the length of time the member has been with South-Cars. The current numbering system was started in ca. 1999, therefore a member number above 400 implies, in most cases, these individuals joined in mid to late 1999 going forward.
As an example, N4LTT - Bill is number 91, a member for 32 years, but there are members who have a lower number and who have been with South-Cars for much less time. Refer to the picture of the ID card above. There is a number assigned, this was how the Secretary/Treasurer tracked when the member paid their dues. As you see the number is 4097. This means Sonny was the 40th member to be recorded for paying his dues in 1997. He would be assigned a different number when he paid in March 2000.
South-Cars continues to move forward; evolving into one of the most popular non affiliated nets on the 40 meter band and possibly throughout the amateur radio spectrum. The net has made every attempt to keep up with the changing technologies in the hobby and strives to meet the needs of our members during the many changes in ideology and lifestyles; all the while, maintaining our core values of friendliness, caring, and service.
In ca. 2006 (+/-), the membership numbers were rapidly growing; creating the need for longer periods of time to accommodate the increased number of members checking into South-Cars during the two, 2 hour sessions the net was operating each day. The idea to expand check-in times was that of W4FHC - Fred and the Net Manager agreed, the decision was made to provide a five hour window (8:00AM - 1:00PM) each day for individuals to check into South-Cars. A different Net Control Station (NCS), was assigned to run each hour and in some cases, there were two NCS's splitting a one hour session. Now, members do not need to feel rushed to get checked in, for there are plenty of opportunities to do so. As of this writing, we have reached a membership milestone of over 12,000 assigned members.
In early 2017, due to the unexpected passing of our "Webmaster" ( see website history) we were forced to obtain a new server and webmaster, resulting in a complete rebuild of southcars.com. Thankfully, one of our members had his own server and the professional skills to build a new website. One of South-Cars' long time members and "Website Editor" for the old site, (KF4RO - Dave) provided volumes of needed information and time, assisting the new webmaster, providing information in the form of written text, coupled with content recommendations during the development phase of the new site. The Net Manager ND4Z - Rick (photo left), during this time spent many hours on the phone, hammering out format style, and content for the new site; resulting in the best website
South-Cars has placed on the Internet to date and will continue to improve as time marches forward.
Over the years, we have had numerous members come forward and take on the task of a Net Control Station to keep South-Cars on the air, all of whom, didicated their time and energy to ensure our members received the opportunity to check into the net and make contact with other members if desired, or just be recognized as being on board and ready to assist others if needed.
Deleted from southcars.com
And as was in the past; as is now and as will be in the future, we cannot say enough to honor these men and women who take the time out of their private lives to ensure the success and continuation of The South-Cars Net. Some of them take on extra task to ensure each member has the opportunity to enjoy South-Cars, by setting up special events for the purpose of meeting other members during a lunch and tailgate gathering. A fine example of this is N5ICT - Jerry, who for several years, has set up the annual Spring Picnic in Hiawassie, GA,; he puts a lot of time and effort into this.
Lets not forget to recognize the efforts of KT4KP - Randy and KE4RPX - Lawrence, for arranging our semiannual tailgate and luncheon at the Golden Coral in Dothan, AL. They have done this for 4years or more. This event use to be held in Valdosta, GA., but quickly fell from favor as a place to go. It was moved to Dothan and hosted by Lawrence and Randy. Lawrence did the leg work in setting up the event with the Golden Coral. At this event, Lawrence became know as the "Moon Pie Man!" He always brought a big box of moon pies for all to enjoy.
Another special group are the substitute NCS's that have made themselves available to fill in as net control when needed. At this writing they are: WD4SGB - Karl; K4IMZ - Randy; KK4RPB - John; W8DMB - Dave.
With the expansion of time on the air, the need for additional net control stations increased. The task of obtaining volunteers and managing their schedules became a full time endeavor. The Net Manager had to enlist a volunteer to function as the Net Scheduler, to assist him in ensuring all NCS time schedules were manned. The Net Scheduler was also responsible for monitoring the daily
operations and to assist with the net and filling in as a NCS when and if required. For 10 (+/-) years, this responsibility has been that of W4FHC - Fred (photo uper left).
With the addition of a membership numbering system ca.1999 and the inclusion of a searchable member database (2009), coupled with the membership swelling rapidly; it was necessary to assign a full time Database Manager. Mark - W4FJE (photo right) has maintained this position from the start. If it was not for his attention to detail and tenacity, our database may not be working so well.
In late ca. 1996, WA4PW Peggy designed an ID badge for
South-Cars' members. She also designed a special badge for all the Net Controls. Not sure if the NCS badge is still available or for that matter, the member badge?
For many years WB4KW - Glen (photo right) has been maintaining a database of all Net Control Stations for South-Cars; which included their address and phone numbers. He distributed copies to all net control stations and the management team, He also maintains a database of all members, just incase something happens to the database on the website. Glen also goes the extra mile in assisting the Net Manager with setting up the annual tailgate/luncheon in Lakeland, FL.
In the late 1980's South-Cars started a "Swap Net" on Wednesday at 10:00AM to 11:00AM. Several members ran this net, unfortunately we do not have a listing of all who were a host of the "Swap Net," however a few were as follows: N4PS - Sam; WA4EX - Sonny; KB2MMP - Jack (SK); K4CE - Jack; WA4DOS - Scott and for the past 9 years has been "Trader Rick" ND4Z. The "Swap Net" became "The Traders Net" early 1999.
November 2016, South-Cars added to the website, the "Trading Post." Content, procedures, and preamble were authored by KF4RO - Dave. When the new website was develope. ND7J - Bob enhanced the "Trading Post" by adding the capability to add pictures of the equipment for sale.
We cannot forget our special Christmas event, having Santa Clause (N4GUV - Bill), visit with the chidren on the air Christmas Day. He also setup a live link on the Internet so the children could see Santa as well. His shack was decorated in the true spirit of Christmas. This has been a long time tradition for South-Cars; there were other members who played Santa on the air back in the early period of the net. However, the names of these fine members have become lost over time. Bill was the first to provide a live link on the Internet. All are most grateful for his hard work and dedication.
Input from the Net Manager, ND4Z:
"It would be an injustice to our growing history of South-Cars if we failed to give due recognition to KF4RO - Dave, who has made numerous contributions to our organization over the past 24 plus years as a member.
He has served as a Net Control Station (1996 - 2000 and Feb. 2016 to present), Net Manager (1998 - 1999) and was the architect in the reorganization of South-Cars. Dave was instrumental in the editing and rewrite of most of the documents for the organization, i.e History, Operation Procedures, Traders Net Info, SCARS Advisory Committee Structure, 2016/2017 NCS Manual, NCS Update Info, South-Cars' Preamble, and development of the "Hall of Honor." He also developed the first online Traiding Post.
Dave has established himself as a pillar of support during the operations of South-Cars' net on 7.251MHZ, providing much appreciated support to our Net Control Stations and members with relays etc., almost daily.
Thank You Dave for all you have done for South-Cars."
Ron WA4HWN, (photo left) developed the first South-Cars' website in ca. 1998 as the membership's interest in Internet activities increased dramatically. The first site went online in December 1998. He found that QSL.net was growing rapidly in size and was offering "free" space on their domain for amateur radio related sites. There were, somewhat surprisingly, other organizations all ready on line whose initials were "S.C.A.R.S."
so, it was necessary to set up the site as "www.qsl.net/wa4hwn-scars.
In the year 2000, southcars.com was purchased. On February 18, 2000, the southcars.com domain was moved from Blue Domino hosting to qsl.net and we became one of the early ham radio organizations with a dot com name. It made it much easier for us to relay our web address during net sessions. Ron put a lot of time into the development of the site, developing .GIF figures, scrolling list of silent keys with appropriate background music etc. It was a very colorful and easy to navigate and showed extreme imagination in development techniques of a website.
On January 1, 2009, Jef - W4GPL was handed the webmasters reigns after years of great service by Ron - WA4HWN as the Webmaster.
Jeff switched the site to a content management system (www.drupal.org) at that time. During the switch we did loose a lot of the colorfulness and GIF figures, along with the removal of the list of silent keys. However, the big contribution to the website was the addition of a searchable database of all South-Cars' members. This became a valued asset to the net control stations while calling the net.
Due to the untimely passing of Jeff - W4GPL in February 2017, the South-Cars website had to be moved to a new server. As stated earlier, the server is now being provided by our new webmaster, Bob - ND7J, (photo right), who was able to retrieve our domain name. Bob had to totally rebuiled the website from the ground up, which took a lot of time on his part and requiring the assistance of another website developer to ensure a well working and searchable database was available. Any time you contract out a project, there
is always an expense involved. South-Cars was able to absorb the expense, but this depleted the on-hand cash quickly. Thankfully, many of our members stepped up to the plate and made donations to replace the outlay of cash.
NOTE: As stated in the "Preface," many of our members have made contributions to the growth and continuation of South-Cars. It is impossible to remember, or obtain information and list each event and the identity of every individual. It is a fact that some events and deeds will standout more than others and be remembered and some will be forgotten over time. It is not our intent to overlook anyone's contribution, we value them all. This document is intended to be a living document that will be updated in the future as events and time unfolds.
UPDATE #1, 07-16-2019
Over the past few years, a number of our members have inquired about the membership numbering system used in the past. As is stated in the beginning of this article, the Secretary/Treasurer assigned numbers when a member paid their dues, please refer to the example in the article.
Going through the archives I have on file, a rediscovery of a South-Cars roster dated 1980, shows a numbering system used at that time in our history. At first look, the system seemed to be random, but upon closer inspection it was discovered to be simple. If for example, your call was W3ABZ your number would start with "3," if you were the first person from the 3 call area to join South-Cars, your number would be: 3001, and if you were the 156th person, then your number would be: 3156 etc. this process was repeated for each call area. Interesting to note, there were 413 members in ca. 1980; it is believed, this was the crest of the membership growth during the 80's era; trending downwards through the 80's, but making a comeback around 1987 through 1993; reaching an estimated high of 450. Another downward trend was seen around 1995, dropping to 375 or 400 prior to the reorganization in ca. 1997/8.