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History of DARC

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The History of DARC

The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club e.V. (DARC) was founded on September 8th, 1950 in Kiel. But this was not the start of Amateur Radio in Germany. It was just the start after World War II and the time before from the beginning in the 1920s.

The pre-war time under the Nazi-regime will not be described here by the author. There are several more or less historical stories and books available on it. The time of Amateur Radio under a communist system in Eastern Germany is also not mentioned here.

The road to the foundation of DARC was made easier by several hams from the allied occupation forces. The same counts for the first official DL licenses which have been granted a year earlier in 1949. It should not be forgotten that 1949 was also the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. A main task was the Amateur Radio Act which was a first Act of such a kind in Europe.

The first ham magazine was the “QRV”. In 1951 it got the new name “DL-QTC”. From the beginning it was only produced by members for members and never sold at kiosks. A further interesting matter which should be mentioned is that the DARC constitution clearly states that qsl service is only granted to members. This was and is based on a postal law.

In 1956 the DLD and the WAE awards were created and reached world wide acceptance within the following years. DARC members joined or initiated the first AR RTTY traffic in 1959, the first Moon-Bounce QSOs in 1960 and the first contacts with the AR satellite Oscar 1 in 1961. Also in 1959 a first IARU Region 1 conference was hosted by DARC in Bonn. A year later a the predecessor of the HAM RADIO Exhibition started at Lake Constance.

In 1962 a natural disaster “storm flood in the North Sea” showed that engaged DARC members may be good communications servants in such a time. In 1965 Oscar III brought a larger access to hams via the 2 m band and became a good tool to bring Amateur Radio to the acceptance of a broader audience. QSL became a more and more working load for DARC. In 1966 the first bigger sorting machine was constructed in Wuppertal, Rhineland. It became an interesting subject to a lot of visitors from other societies.

In 1967 the first VHF-licenses – only – have been introduced by the German P&T authorities. The opinion to that was very divided not only in Germany. 1969 DARC started to plan building the Headquarters in Baunatal near Kassel. The construction started in May 1971. In 1972 the DL-QTC got a new form and became “CQ-DL”.

1975 the Lake Constance Meeting was renamed to “Ham Radio” and was organized in Friedrichshafen, Bodensee. The WARC 1979 set new signs also for DARC. It was well acknowledged by DARC that some few members did a great international job by lobbying in Geneva. As a result out of this knowledge the DARC executive committee decided to give the international work together with the sister societies and the IARU more attention.

A year later the author was asked to build up a special “International Liaison Committee” with concrete liaisons world wide. The IARU Region 1 conference 1981 in Brighton became a good training ground and platform for future connections. In 1982 the first “Informal International Meeting” at the Ham Radio Exhibition was initiated by this committee. 1985 became the year of the Space Mission D 1. It was a high light for those being engaged in it.

After the German Democratic Republic (Eastern Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990 also the hams from there – former organized in RSV – became members of DARC. In 1993 the Space Shuttle Mission D 2 started again with the remarkable engagement of German Hams. In 1997 the ARDF World Championship was organized by DARC in St. Englmar, Bavaria.

The year 2000 was not only the 50th anniversary of DARC but also the 25th of the Ham Radio, Friedrichshafen.

Written by Hans Berg, DJ6TJ, September 2002