The Ellis County Amateur Radio Club has announced a fund-raiser for a new repeater to better serve eastern Ellis County.

The new equipment will be dedicated in honor of Bob Fitch, one of the original Ellis County Amateur Radio Club members and still an active and enthusiastic participant.

An amateur radio repeater is an electronic device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation.

“This fund-raiser is a golden opportunity for all of us in the club to honor a guy who has been a guiding light to us in the Ellis County Amateur Radio Club,” said Robert Crosby, an active member of the ECARC.

Fitch was born in Sardis in 1922. His interest in radios and communications began at age 14 and led to a life-long passion which continues to this day, according to a recent publication of the ECARC.

He was active in the local club since the early 1970s, and through the club’s promotion of ham radio through education classes offered at Waxahachie High School and the National Guard Armory, Fitch taught radio theory and recruited new ham operators and helped them to get licensed by acting as a Volunteer Examiner, a role he still plays today.

Fitch has worked with three emergency management officers, the Waxahachie police and fire departments and numerous other hams.

Fitch became the first RACES (Radio Amateur Emergency Service) officer in 1971 and served until 1993.

That year, his wife Denie was disabled with a broken hip and other bone problems so Fitch gave up his club duties to care for her.

After Denie passed away in 2000, Bob resumed his post.

Today, he is still an active RACES member conducting the monthly RACES nets and distributing identification cards to members.

The club provides communication support for bike rallies, and other numerous contests, and provides ground truth reports to the National Weather Service during severe weather events.

A spokesman for the ECARC said they desperately need an additional repeater on the east side of the county, and the club is eyeing Ennis as a potential location.

Club member Bill Cleaver has offered to match funds up to the first $1,000 for the project.

For further information, or to contribute to the project, e-mail Ken Hickey at: kd5vqn@yahoo.com, or e-mail Mark Frankie at: markfrankie@aol.com, or write: Ellis County Amateur Radio Club, PO. Box 373, Waxahachie, TX 75168.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com.