History of
RARC Radio Station VE7GOG
1994 to 2024

Thirty years didn't seem like very long ago. But that was the dawn of the Internet and social media meant getting friends togther every week to watch the new TV series, "Friends." Computer geeks were awaiting the beta release of Windows 95. In Richmond BC, 1994 was when a group of hams from the then Gulf of Georgia Society Amateur Radio Club received a grant from the Federal Government to build a radio station on the Parks Canada GOG Cannery National Historic Site. Over the years the station, designated call sign VE7GOG, experienced as many activities as the surrounding Steveston neighbourhood has undergone changes.

The discovery that inspired further research...

While cleaning up a pile of old maps and other paper material inside the station about ten years ago, we came across a piece of soiled and crumpled light cardboard that turned out to be an original, hand-drawn logo of The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society Radio Club with the call sign VE7GOG. After some initial cleaning, the sign was framed and is now hanging on the limited wall space of the station (but much restoration is still required).


The correspondence that started things rolling...

In early 1993, a group of "amateurs and other radio people that associate themselves with VE7GOG form a committee of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society" to apply for a New Horizons Program grant for new radio equipment to convert a donated trailer into a fully operating amateur station.

By July 1993, a cheque from Health and Welfare Canada, New Horizons Program was received through the office of then local Member of Parliament for Richmond, Hon. Tom Siddon P.C., M.P., to get the project rolling.

According to transcripts from a club report, plans were to open the station VE7GOG in 1994 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Cannery.

1994 - Newly acquired truck cab with posts installed for mounting antennas. Not sure if the posts were only temporary until the tower was installed before Parks Canada set up the billboard. Steveston Hotel and The Buck & Ear in the background has remained unchanged to this day except for a more modern coat of paint.

2013 - Station was mainly used for storage of Field Day equipment until the site was frequently used in 2013-2014 to prepare for the International Space Station contact (ARISS) with HJ Cambie Secondary. An extensive 'beautification' program was carried out in 2015 with new paint and updated signage.

2024 - Recently repainted exterior and deck with new sign installed in 2015 and third VHF antenna added in 2023. Note container on the right has been replaced by extension of admin building in 2018 and lumberyard on other side of Third Ave. has been replaced by a condo development and Save-On Foods.

It's been a while...

Such get-togethers outside the GOG Cannery admin building is a rarity these days. This photo was in the same stack as the one with images of the station's construction. No notes were available to indicate whether the event was a GOG Cannery Society or radio club gathering.

Breaking for a photo...

According to the scribbles on the back of the photo, it appears that (no name included) VE7FJO and John Lubzinski, VE7BSU are taking a photo-op break after putting up the VE7GOG station sign. John is related to Jack and Joseph, founders of the Lubzinski Marine Products Company in Richmond, BC, manufacturer of ship steering wheels up until 2005.

Note that the initial decking planks are different from the more recent narrower, perpendicular running ones (installed (post 2010?).

Initial installations...

The converted truck trailer (cab) once served as a mobile industrial footwear showroom. Photo was attached to documents with a late 1993 date. All the furnishings except for moveable items like the wall clock and chairs remain today.
Initial move-ins...

Some of the club's assets have not yet found a permanent location like the Kubota power generator (lower right corner of photo) awaiting storage locker outside to be built. All the then relevent radio equipment have been either archived as part of the Cannery collections or sold off to vintage radio enthusiasts, who then later gave or willed them to collectors, which eventually ended up at local hamfest swap meets (and so repeats the cycle).

Work Party 2012...

As the years go by, average age of club membership dropped with younger members while the average size of automobiles also decreased. Not sure if we can get away with such makeshift parking arrangements today.

(More content to be added)

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Updated: June 10, 2024