by Paul, AC4V

     The Bell Ringer Membership Certificate states the Net's Mission:

            "The Bell Ringers are a group of active
            and retired ham employees of the
            telephone industry, plus some ham friends
            with a mutual interest. They comprise a
            non-message network to meet regularly on
            the air to provide an exchange of
            communications and continuing fellowship
            within our area."

       IN THE BEGINNING ..... (or how did it get started)

    As with many other enterprises, The Bell Ringer Net started as
a result of a practical joke. Following a QSO one early Fall day in
1978 I got a call from an "irate neighbor" complaining about TVI.
After much heated discussion, it turned out that my "irate
neighbor" was my good friend and co-worker of 38 years - Jack
Joachim, KB5FC. He was home in Biloxi, MS and had heard me on the
air. We shifted from land-line to forty meters and spent an hour
catching up on all the latest news concerning our families and
mutual friends.

    The following week, a fellow ham in my shop in Birmingham
(Richard Driggers, WB5YXH) was performing an Operational Review in
Biloxi. When Jack found out that Richard was a ham and knew me, he
asked Richard to set up a sked with me for the following Saturday.

    Well, you know what happened, Word had spread among the
telephone hams in Mississippi and Birmingham and the Saturday sked
ended up as a 'pile-up' of telephone company friends. We gradually
got ourselves organized. The job of Net Control was thrust upon me,
we entertained suggestions for a net name (Bell Ringers won out)
and Bill Parker, W5HVA, designed a very handsome membership
certificate and arranged for the initial printing of the
certificates. The certificate is so nice that I've sometimes
thought that many of our members may have joined the net just for
the 'Wallpaper'

   The net has never been limited to Bell System hams but includes
many employees of independent companies and some who had worked in
communications in military service. Although most members are in
the nine state territory of BellSouth, there are many members from
other states including: Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana,
Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

   Who would have thought that the net would have lasted ten
years, even through the depths of the eleven year sun-spot cycle?
If you are an inactive member and want to get back on the Short
List, check in the Net on Saturday. If you are not a member and
want to join - its easy - just check in the Net on Saturday and
express the desire to join. A membership certificate and check-in
list will be on the way in a few days.

May 1988