Club History

Mills County has had a rich history of Amateur Radio. First there was Hulen "Hoot" Egger in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Then came 1952 when George Stanley Devoll, W5EFJ, was the Minister at the Church of Christ. Lee Tesson, W5ZTB, was hired as Goldthwaite High School Math Teacher and Principal. He had previously taught at Mullin High School, where in 1943-44 Macalee Hime took his Morse Code class to prepare for her career with the railroad. His International Morse didn't help her much then but came in useful when she became a ham operator some 50 years later.

Before that year was out, three new Novices were licensed: Allen Colburn Ward, WN5FIP; Web K. Mays, WN5FIS and Sanford Musgrove, WN5FIT. Each of these hams enjoyed the hobby ever since, and all became Extra Class operators. Allen is now KA5N, Web K. Mays is now AA5NZ, and Sanford (Silent Key) had his original call sign after some 60 years, W5FIT.

A couple of years later, in 1955, Jim Musgrove, Sanford’s little brother received his license, KN5BZH. His friend, John Mckenzie, KN5COH became a ham about this same time. John never upgraded from Novice, and lost his license after one year. Back in those days, a novice had one year in which to upgrade.

Ronnie Head, who was known to be a tinkerer with electronic gadgets in his high school years, was given his Novice license exam by Glen Dewit in the fall of 1966. Two weeks later, before he received his Novice license in the mail, he took his General Class exam in Dallas at the FCC office. Then he shipped out to National Guard basic training and did not learn his call sign was WA5NQR until he got back home six months later.

When the FCC loosened its control of licensing in the 80’s, the ranks of Amateurs grew across the United States.

The same was true in Mills County. During the 1980's and 90's Don Padgett, AA5QV, became licensed, along with Bobby Hammond, AA5RM; Jerry Ivy, N5CBW; John Priddy, KA5SAD and his wife Rebecca Priddy, KA5YAJ; David Lewis, N5SJS; Breta Head, N5QBU and her son Robert Head, N5TZB; Jean Mays, N5WWU, her son Jesse Mays, N5SZR and daughter Christi, N5YXH; Macalee Hime, AB5TY and her husband, John Hime, KC5GLU, and several others who made Ham Radio fun around here.

By then Macalee was a retired railroad telegrapher and the other hams were awed by her Morse code speed.

Through 1994 many of the hams living in Mills County were members of the Brownwood Amateur Radio Club. They participated in--and often led--Brownwood club activities. Then in 1995 several Hams decided to hold a Field Day in Mills County.

That first year there were just a few that participated, but the number has grown through the years. For the next several years this group, calling themselves "The Mills County Hams," participated mainly in two annual events: Field Day and Christmas dinner, both of which remain set in tradition to this day.

In 2005 several of the local hams began to talk about starting a Ham Radio club, one that would meet regularly and offer different activities to meet the interests of all the hams. When enough interest was garnered, a notice was sent to all Mills County hams of an organizational meeting to form a local ham club. The meeting was held on February 15, 2005 at the Goldthwaite Housing Authority meeting Room. The club was organized at that meeting and constitution and by-laws adopted. 

The charter members were: Ronnie Head, WA5NQR; W. K. Mays, AA5NZ; Norman Truitt, WD5DMY; Jean Mays, N5WWU; Breta Head, N5QBU; Carol Musgrove, WD5DCZ; Jim Musgrove, K5BZH; David Lewis, N5SJS; Henry McKinney, KM5SG; Don Padgett, AA5QV; Walt Kovar, K5CBK; Beverly Kovar; Bob Hammond, AA5RM; Richard Stone, N5ZMO; Macalee Hime, AB5TY; Ken Thomson, N6SJG; Melissia Head; Robert Head, N5TZB; Benny Owens, K5KV; Gloria Owens, N5NXK. 

The roster of the first officers of the club was: President Ronnie Head, WA5NQR; Vice-President David Lewis, N5SJS; Secretary Walter Kovar, K5CBK; Treasurer Henry McKinney, KM5SG; Reporter Jim Musgrove, K5BZH.

The members of this new club were quite proud of themselves and their enthusiasm led the wives to design and make club uniform vests for the members. They wore these vests whenever they participated in club activities. The Mills County club members could easily be recognized when they traveled to the Belton Ham Expo.

The club has operated an Amateur Radio demonstration station at the annual Goldthwaite Championship Barbecue and Goat Cook-off for the past several years. At this event our booth offers some shade and conversation to many visiting hams among the several hundred folks shopping in the vendor area.

The club has continued to hold Field Day each year, and over the years the scores have climbed until the 2010 Field Day which saw our score exceed 6,600 points. Field Day has continued to be the main activity of the club. However, the club has looked for other local events to participate in.

Mills County Amateur Radio Club has supported the Boy Scouts in their annual Jamboree on the Air. This event is especially valuable in that it often provides the only exposure to the Amateur Radio hobby those scouts would ever have.

The Club now has two repeaters. The first repeater transmits on 146.79 Mhz with a tone of 94.8. Its callsign is N5QBU, in memory of Breta Head (SK) who was one of the charter members. The transmitter is located about 10 miles northwest of Goldthwaite. The 146.79 repeater was shut down in August 2019 as a cost saving measure. It will be restarted when needed in an emergency.  Meanwhile HAMs will use the second repeater, K5AB which is located on Alan Brown's commercial tower. It transmits on 147.100 Mhz with a tone of 100.0.

The club continues to grow, and all licensed Amateurs and interested non-hams are welcome. The Mills County Amateur Radio Club meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Mills County Law Enforcement Center conference room,  in Goldthwaite. Meetings start at 7:00 PM and are open to the public. We encourage anyone interested in learning about Amateur Radio to attend.