DON BOSCO TECHNICAL COLLEGE - AMATEUR RADIO CLUB, DBTC - ARC (Organized 1963)
The Longest Running Active School Amateur Radio Club in DU-Land
By: Mario “Ricky” Maipid, KB4SAD
The club started in school year 1961-62 with ten members and no equipment. It was formally organized sometime in the school year 1962 -63 and the school purchased its first equipment, a REHCO MARINE radio for 40 & 80 Meters. In the school year 1964-65, its constitution was rewritten to describe the structure of its organization. The founding group was headed by a school official named Engr. Emilio Asistores, DU1EA (SK). The first members, coming from the high-school department, learned their basic skills in amateur radio from Fred Hashim, DU1EH (SK), of the Philippine Amateur Radio League, Inc. (PARL Inc). It was DU1EH who initiated the aspiring youths to the beauty of amateur radio by opening the doors of his shack at the time the students did not have their own station to operate.
During the school year of 1965-66, arrangements were made through school officials, like Richard J. Nelson, WA6OBM (Electronics Department Head 1964-68) and benefactors here and in the United States of America to obtain Heath Company kits for the club. By the end of the same year, the kits arrived and were immediately assembled. The kits included an SB-300 receiver. Two years later, in 1967, an SB-400 transmitter arrived which was assembled by Demetrio Carmona, now a Salesian priest and in the Don Bosco – Mandaluyong’s Administration. Fr. Carmona held a Class B license in the early 1980’s and signed as DU1DYC. It was only by school year 1966-67 that the individual units came together as a working system. Also, by this time the club’s membership had grown to 44 and were busy with activities such as on-the-air code practice sessions.
The present ham shack, also known as the “DB Tower” on the top floor of the four storey high-school building, was built sometime in the end of 1967. The club then had a four-element tri-band cubical quad antenna. One of the “shack’s” unique features is its 40 foot mast that came through its ceiling, powered by a surplus radar motor at its base that is its rotor. Bearing was determined by a 3-foot needle that pointed to the degree markings on a 6-foot compass painted on its ceiling. The quad antenna (home-brew) has since been the club’s symbol for power. Being DX’ers by orientation and at heart, they draw guidance from the slogan “WE TALK TO THE WORLD.” The club’s former Advisor, WA6OBM, simply stated then “DU1DBT was ahead of it’s time.”
The club has maintained its ties with PARL Inc. (DX1L) which has been helping the club for the past 45 years and today past members of the club have risen to its leadership; Michael Hogar, DU1XX and Nicky Academia, DU1NA have been voted President and Vice-President respectively in 2009. New ties have been forged with other organizations through the years; by the late 1960’s, with the Philippine Amateur Radio Association, (PARA - DX1PAR) and in the mid 1980’s with the Philippine Chamber of Amateur Radio Societies (PCARS – DX1F).
The club’s activities have always been centered on experiments in electronics and communications. It has also committed to be involved in the annual Jamboree-On-The- Air (JOTA), an international event of the Boy and Girl Scouts organization including the GSP-INFEX.
As a DX’er, the club is a recipient of various international awards. It has a DXCC to its credit. It also keeps a WAZ, WAS, IARU awards and a host of contest certificates and plaques.
The club has also been actively organizing and participating in DXpeditions. In June of 1982 signing as 4DØDBT, members of the club were on the air at Caballo Island – Fort Hughes as guests of the Philippine Navy’s Fleet Support Command under the command of Commodore Alfredo C. Protacio, PN, father of Al Protacio an alumnus member (HS 80). In May 1983, members of the club joined in the Calaguas Island Field DXpedition, DX1F, organized by the Bicol Amateur Radio Relay League, Inc. (BARRL) and PCARS. In the early 1990’s a DXpedition at Mt. Sto, Tomas was on the air signing as 4EØDBT.
The club has also participated in different special events holding a colorful set of callsigns:
· 4D1DBT – PARA’s Golden Year Celebration 1932 -1982
· 4H1DBT – Galing Don Bosco EXPO ’92
· 4E1ØWYD – 10th World Youth Day – Manila, Philippines
· DX1ØØDBT – Philippine Centennial Celebration.
The station has been heard in several annual international contests signing as 4E1DBT, 4G1DBT and 4I1DBT in the CQWW Phone and CW DX, CQ WPX, All Asian DX, JA International DX, WAEDC, RSGB’s IOTA and SEANET to name a few, usually coming out with Top Scores in their categories.
In 1984, the ARC and PARL Inc. co-sponsored an experimental station, DX1N, located in Marivelez, Bataan. The station was operated by Chuck Nakamura, JH3OII, through 1986.
DU1DBT in some way went QRT after 24 years of being on the air and not to be heard of again. In 1987 in compliance with Ministry Circular 87-174 dated 03 February 1987 issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Circular No. 02-03-87, Implementation of the Revised Amateur Regulations required the prefix for club stations to change to DX. An effort, by then Trustee Rafael Azada, DU1RFA, to exempt DBTC - ARC from this regulation was not granted by the NTC. DX1DBT went on the air not missing a beat!
The club also hosted PARA's first DU1 Hamvention dubbed "District One Pakulo '87" on September 5-6 and the proceeds from this event were used to buy a brand new Kenwood TS-440S/AT HF transceiver a most welcome addition to the clubs operating setup.
In 1979, the club acquired a Johnsons Viking CB Radio (11M) and was licensed by the NTC signing as DZB-241A and operating CB Channel 15. The CB operators in the club were organized forming the civic arm of the club known as the DBTC-ARC 11M Group aka DB Group.
Presently, ARS DX1DBT enjoys the services of a wide range of HF equipment. In the 1970’s a Trio (Kenwood) TS-520D transceiver was acquired through a past member, Florentino “George” Encarnacion, ex-DU1FVE (now AH6BV/W1, ex-KH6HS). This TS-520D was the workhorse of the station for a long time along with the original Heathkit SB200 linear amplifier. In the mid 1980’s, an ICOM IC25H VHF transceiver was donated by Felix “Lex” M. Oca, ex-DV1ZI, an alumnus. Roy Ruivivar, Leo Cruz and Arthur “Casey” Valino donated a Kantronics UTU-XTP for AMTOR operations. In 2008, Maximino Soriano, ex-KC6GOZ, donated his Kenwood TS-570D HF transceiver, followed by a Heathkit SB-104 donated by Mario “Ricky” Maipid, KB4SAD, both alumni. On occasion, individual members would loan their personal equipment for club use. DV1ZI who loaned his equipment to the club later donated the whole setup which included a Kenwood TS-430S, a Bandit 2KW linear amplifier and a Hy-Gain Multiband Yagi.
The rooftop of the school displays an antenna farm of cubical quad, Yagis, dipoles, verticals and a wide range of wire antennas, allowing the group to operate on multiple bands. The shack underwent a major renovation in the early 1980’s. A Cat-Walk ramp to the shack was constructed providing a safe passage for members; prior access was through a “manhole” in the Physic’s Lab. Pine panels recycled from pallets were installed in the interior and the cabinets were modified to accommodate the demands of contest operations.
Operating ARS DU1DBT/DX1DBT is not possible without the service of their past and present trustees: Emilio Assistores, DU1EA, Jose Jimenez III, DU1GN, Rafael Azada, DU1RFA and presently Greg Ella, DU1GE (as of this writing is the longest living Ham Operator in DU-Land). Also, the club has had the support of the Salesian Administration from Rectors and Administrators beginning from Father George Schwartz, Father Francesco Panfilo, Father Joseph Savina, Father Joseph Zuchelli, Father Demetrio Carmona and others.
Working all those DX pile-ups means a ton of incoming QSL cards. The club had been lucky through the years to have had QSL Managers from I1CTL, N6ATS and Karl J. Tipp, DJ8CV (SK). Karl worked for Swissair and because of the arrangement he made, the club never had a problem getting volunteers to meet with flight stewardesses to drop off logs and pick up QSL cards.
Outside the usual activities of the ARC, the club has been providing communications to various school and community events. It was not always fun for the club when its services were requested in what ended up being a tragedy, and in a natural disaster. In November 1984, the school’s Boy Scout Troop went camping in a Naval facility in Ternate, Cavite, where the club once had a field expedition, and what started out as a request to assist in a rescue mission ended as a recovery mission for a drowned Boy Scout member. The club provided a communications link between the Philippine Navy HQ in Manila, Navy Base in Cavite and DB Campus. In 1990 an earthquake struck the country and the club received a call from the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija under Bishop Leo Drona, SDB, DD for relief assistance. The “DB Tower” was then the only communications link between Don Bosco - Mandaluyong, Malacañang and the team of DBTC ARC student members in the devastated towns of San Jose, Nueva Ecija.
The Christmas Holiday season is an exciting time for the club. In the early 1980’s, Fr. Joseph Zuchelli, SDB, the school’s Administrator, approached the club to undertake the project of setting-up the “Belen.” The club obliged and this undertaking has been an annual project, each batch outdoing each other passing it on as a tradition.
A number of former members who had since graduated from DB HS and College had served and are serving as Staff and Faculty of their alma mater. To name a few: Manny Averilla, DU1NHX, Benjamin C. Cayaban, Jr, N2ZJB, Felix M. Oca, ex-DV1ZI, Eulogio “Loy” P. Reyes, ex-DU1GVX, Benigno “Sonny” Jalijali, Jaime T. Valdez & Gary Pimentel.
Alumni members like Ronald Lewellyn S. Galeng, DU1VDO, have generated a spark among past members to continue to get together on a regular basis and not just to reminisce the “good ol' days” but to continue in engaging in Ham Radio activities.
Recently, the club welcomed a past member; Roberto “Jojo” Vicencio from the 1970’s. He had retired from the United States Navy (USN) and QSY’d back to DU-Land and after an absence of almost 30 years in the ham radio world, picked up from where he left off and is now DV1VHY. Jojo is actively involved with the club’s activities and is providing a strong guiding force for the club to keep on strong.
The Internet is playing a vital role in reconnecting past & present members. It is through this medium that this article is updated. The club enjoys the membership of enthusiasts spread over the school’s high-school, college and alumni groups.
Original version of this article was researched and written by Mario
“Ricky” Maipid for the club’s 20th anniversary
celebration in 1983,
© Philippine Amateur Radio Association, Inc. 2009