The History of South Cars
and the South Cars Web Site
Unfortunately a lot of records concerning South-Cars have been lost. The net has been operating for well over 50 years, however there are no written records available to prove this, only verbal history; provided by our oldest members. We have heard reports that South-Cars was in operation as far back as 1960, but most verbal reports close in on the year(s)1966/7. SO, we can say with confidence, South-Cars has been around for at least 50 years.
In the beginning, we had a "structured" organization with 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.
We were issued wallet size membership cards (see enlarged photo below) 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 (Not sure what happened to that 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.
We have always conducted the net on 7.251 MHz with two 2 hour sessions a day. On occasion there were efforts to add to the net time but we always returned to that standard. Several discussions were conducted centering on moving the operation to a different frequency, which would eliminate fighting the foreign broadcast stations on and near 7.250 MHZ. However, it was determined 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, however they performed the duties of the current Net Scheduler: Jack KB2MMP (SK), Charlie N4QVT (Member number 0170); Dave KF4RO (Member #93) Net Manager during the reorganization of SCARS and key influence for the reorganization.
Eventually, 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 these 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.” A write-in vote, (after several meetings), among the members (about 350) was conducted, which resulted in the approval to proceed with the reorganization.
Several key members were involved in the reorganization, Dave KF4RO (Net Manager/NCS, member #93) Frank W4QV (member #94); Bobby WA4EAO (Former President); Frank W8CXU (former NCS); Jack K4CE (former NCS). There were several more, but their identities have been lost over time.
The treasury had just over $3,000 and these funds were donated to carefully chosen schools in Florida who sponsored student radio clubs.
During the reorganization, John WB4GOV volunteered and was appointed Net Manger; who really provided the leadership responsible for the continued growth of SOUTH-CARS. Following John was, Gordon KY6V, Bill WD5KAE and at the time of this writing, Rick ND4Z.
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 11,700 and counting.
When the reorganization occurred, membership numbers were assigned arbitrarily with no regard for length of time. Once you go back before 370 - 400 members, only the membership numbers above that, serve as an indicator as to the length of time the member has been with South-Cars. The current numbering system was started in 1999, therefore a member number above 400 implies, in most cases, these individuals joined in late 1999 going forward. As an example, my number is 0093, but there are members who have a lower number, that have been with South-Cars for less time. Conversely, there are some out there who have been in longer than my 30 years, but have much higher membership numbers. Refer to the picture of the ID card above. There is a member number assigned, this was how the Secretary/Treasure tracked when the member last paid their dues. As you see the number is 4097. This means Sonny was the 40th member to pay his dues and be recorded in 1997. He had a different number in 1998.
Ron, WA4HWN, originally developed the South-Cars website in 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 South-Cars' site as "www.qsl.net/wa4hwn-scars".
In the year 2000, southcars.com was purchased. On February 18th, 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 site address during net sessions -- www.southcars.com.
On January 1st, 2009, Jeff - W4GPL, was handed the webmaster reigns, after years of great service by Ron - WA4HWN as South-Cars webmaster.
Jeff switched the site to a content management system (www.drupal.org).
Due to the untimely passing of Jeff – W4GPL in February 2017, the South-Cars website had to be moved to a new server. The server is now being provided by Bob – ND7J, who was able to obtain our domain name southcars.com. Of course Bob is now our new Webmaster here and we are grateful to have him and for all the work he has done and is doing, to make www.southcars.com the best website on the internet.