An interesting thread on the Harvard Wireless Club (HWC) email reflector discusses who has legitimate claim to being the oldest college radio club in existence.
HWC member George Clark, W1XW states, “Two potential challengers are the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Wirless Association, now W1YK, which also claims to have been founded in October, 1909, and The MIT Radio Society, which also claims founding in 1909.” Clark goes on to ask, “Does anybody have a citation for (or even better, a copy of) a document that mentions the date of [the Harvard Wireless Club’s] founding?”
In responding, W1AF trustee Mike Manafo, K3UOC writes:
“According to page 6 in The WPI Wireless Association: Its Origin and Growth, 1909-1932, David M. Mangini, (unpublished dissertation, WPI, 1978), the author writes:
‘… radio clubs were still a new thing when WPI established their wireless group. Public clubs were still few in number and centered mainly around the larger cities. The first of the college wireless club is reputed to be the Harvard Wireless Club in Cambridge, Mass. The next club thought to be founded at a college is the MIT Wireless Society from which WPI got its encouragement.'”
Manafo goes on to state, “A copy of the Mangini thesis sits on the bookshelf in the [W1AF] shack. In addition, there is a QST article from the 1920’s in which MIT RC credits the HWC as instrumental in its founding. There should be a copy of the article in our files.”
The Harvard Wireless Club was originally founded as “The Radio Society of The Institute for Geographic Exploration.”