About Us

In the fall of 1977, Kenneth “Buddy” H. Woods, WD5BXQ, and Denver Chism, WD5BGP, ignited a spark in Helena and West Helena, Arkansas, by venturing into the world of amateur radio. Their journey began with a vision to not just communicate but to innovate and educate. Buddy, a seasoned Professional Electrical Engineer at E-Systems (later acquired by Raytheon), and Denver, known for his expertise in appliance repair, merged their skills to pioneer a 2M repeater project. Using a VHF Engineering Kit as their canvas, Buddy's creative engineering prowess shone through with a homebrew ID controller and Auto-patch, elevating the repeater's functionality beyond expectations.

The fruits of their labor materialized atop Reservoir Hill in downtown Helena by the summer of 1978. A frequency pair (146.670 MHz/146.070 MHz) coordinated with the FCC and ARRL marked the birth of a communication lifeline that resonated across the Twin Cities. This repeater, a testament to technical ingenuity and perseverance, remained steadfast for nearly two decades, undergoing continuous upgrades facilitated by a passionate community dedicated to pushing boundaries.

1. Embracing Change and Growth: Despite early predictions that cell phones would diminish ham radio's popularity, the opposite has proven true. Today, ham radio is experiencing a renaissance, with more enthusiasts joining the ranks than ever before. The Helena Amateur Radio Club stands as a living testament to the enduring allure and relevance of amateur radio in an ever-evolving technological landscape.

2. A Lifeline in Times of Crisis: Beyond its role as a hobby, ham radio provides invaluable backup and support during disasters and emergencies. Helena's amateur radio operators have time and again demonstrated their readiness and effectiveness in aiding communication efforts when traditional channels falter. Whether it's coordinating emergency response or providing crucial updates, ham radio operators are the unsung heroes in times of need.

3. Fostering the Next Generation of Innovators: One of the most profound impacts of ham radio is its ability to stimulate interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) among young people. The Helena Amateur Radio Club actively engages with schools and youth organizations, offering mentorship programs, educational workshops, and hands-on experiences. By nurturing a passion for radio technology, the club plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of STEM enthusiasts and innovators.

As the years progressed, so did the club's footprint in the region's amateur radio landscape. The installation of a 440 repeater on Crowley’s Ridge in 1996 marked a technological milestone, extending the club's reach and impact. Yet, the essence of the Helena Amateur Radio Club was not confined to technical prowess alone; it resonated through acts of service and resilience.

In 1997, during a time of crisis, Helena's amateur radio operators proved their mettle as indispensable assets in emergency communications. Their swift and coordinated efforts during an industrial incident showcased the vital role of amateur radio in safeguarding communities.

The club's journey was not without challenges, but each obstacle was met with determination and innovation. From adopting new repeater technologies like Yaesu System Fusion to harnessing solar power solutions for sustainability, the Helena Amateur Radio Club epitomizes adaptability and progress.

Today, as the club stands tall with its callsign W5HAR, it stands as a beacon of technological prowess, community spirit, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge. The Helena Amateur Radio Club isn't just about frequencies and signals; it's about forging lasting connections, fostering learning, and leaving a legacy of service and innovation in the world of amateur radio.

The primary objectives of the Club are:

  • Embracing Change and Growth.
  • A Lifeline in Times of Crisis.
  • Fostering the Next Generation of Innovators.
  • Provide a responsive service to the community and emergency responders.

The Club provides monthly testing for individuals seeking their Technician License and for upgrades to General and Extra Class licenses. The testing is normally conducted prior to our monthly on-site meetings. Due to Covid-19 in-person meetings have been severely restrictive during 2020 and the early part of 2021 but we will begin these in-person meetings again with the March 16 2021 meeting. Our normal meeting location is at the Fairhaven Fire Station at 13701 Center Hill Rd in Helena, MS

We encourage all licensed Amateur Radio operators and guests to attend our meetings. Typically, we will have a short business meeting and a presentation of Amateur Radio interest. If you have questions, please contact us by sending an email to Contact Us

View Club History »

Active Members of HARC *

First Name Last Name Call Sign Class Status
James Babcock KG5BPN Extra ACTIVE
Kenny Babcock KG5TBF ACTIVE
Denver Chism WD5BGP ACTIVE
Tim Ferguson KJ5DGG ACTIVE
Logan Heinzelman KI5HXE Extra ACTIVE
Carl Humphrey K5NPG General ACTIVE
Michael Knight KK4IOM ACTIVE
Joe Lowenthal WA4OVO Extra ACTIVE
Cooper McCartny ACTIVE
Johnny McKenzie KG5YMI Extra Active
Buddy Menshaw KE4YZS ACTIVE
Joe St. Columbia N5MIG Extra Active
Jeff Steele Kf5EIJ Extra ACTIVE
Robert Stroud KD5BS Extra Active
Jonathion Weldington KJ5ENS ACTIVE
Ed Williams K5ELW ACTIVE
Lee Williams K5WMS ACTIVE
Allen Wood N5ALN General ACTIVE

*Members may request to opt out from having any contact information displayed. Click on Opt Out to make this request by email.