Unfortunately a lot of records concerning Southcars has been lost, if, indeed, there was any attempt to keep them. However, I will relate what I can recall and invite input from anyone out there who can add to it, expand upon it, or whatever.
The net has been operating for well over 30 years and I started checking in back in 1976 from my then QTH, Naples, Florida.
As I recall there were around 350, or so, dues paying members. We had a “complete” organization with Net Manager (President), Ass’t Net Manager (Vice-President), Secretary/Treasurer and a Board of Directors. Board Meetings were held on the air, generally on a monthly basis.
We were issued wallet size membership cards ( see enlarged photo of one issued during the final year of our having a "structured" organization ) and the money in the treasury was used to pay postage and printing costs for a quarterly news letter, the membership cards, themselves, and an occasional acquisition such as a large, nice South Cars banner which we proudly displayed at various hamfests (I wonder whatever happened to the banner?) We would rent a table and set up a South Cars booth, or someone that already had a table would display it and answer questions regarding the organization.
So far as I can recall, we have always conducted the net on 7.251 MHz with two 2 hour sessions a day. On occasion there have been efforts to add to the net time but we have always returned to the present standard. Several discussions were conducted centering around moving the operation to a different frequency which would not involve our fighting the foreign broadcast stations there. However, we always wound up believing that the broadcast stations helped to preserve the frequency for us and served as a kind of “guardian”. With today’s more modern equipment, one hardly notices the broadcast stations!
We had several net managers. Charlie N4QVT (Member number 0170) Hobe Sound, Florida) was one, Jack KB2MMP (SK) was another.
Eventually, in 1999, the organization ran into “internal strife” and eventually, voted to disband and “reorganize”. A write-in vote amongst the members (then over 500) was conducted which resulted in the approval to proceed with the dismantling of the organziation.
There was well over $3,000 in the treasury and these funds were donated to carefully chosen schools in Florida who sponsored student radio clubs.
A few of the several key members involved in the re-organization were Frank W4QV, Dave KF4RO, and Ron AC4SU. I’m sure there are several more out there, but I can’t recall them all.
We appointed a net manager----John WB4GOV who has really provided the leadership that has caused the continued growth of the organization.
All it takes to “join” today is to check in and let the net control know you are a first time check-in and provide your date of birth (just the month and day). With that done, you are assigned a membership number and added to the roster database of over 7000 and counting. Once you go back much beyond 500 to 600 members, the present membership numbers really don’t serve as an indicator as to the Southcars membership time. When the re-organization occurred, membership numbers were assigned arbitrarily with no regard for length of time. As an example, my number is 117 but there are folks who have only been involved for 7 or 8 years with numbers lower than mine. Conversely there are some out there who have been in longer than my 30 years but have much higher membership numbers than mine.
I started the website in 1998 feeling that there was a growing need for internet access among us for several reasons.
All that being said, this is one heck of a great net. We have fun. We make new friends. We maintain contact with old friends. We have eye-ball qso’s. You name it. It’s great!
Thanks to Roy N4ZUA, we have a copy of the January 4, 1980 SCARS Roster. It took a little re-working to come up with something readable, but to take a look at it, click here!
by Ron Haltermon WA4HWN