The History of Southern Regional Center (SO) and the WEDIXIE ARC

by G. Warren Coleman / WD4NIT

The WEDIXIE Amateur Radio Club began in 1968 at the Western Electric Southern Regional Engineering Center in Atlanta, GA. WEDIXIE was a prefix that applied to all of the corporately-sponsored employee clubs at the site, including an active scuba club, a personal computer club, an indoor and outdoor recreation club, and of course, the ham radio club. The WE in WEDIXIE stands for the Western Electric Company. The DIXIE portion of the name of course refers to the location's southern heritage.

Western management provided the club with a room in the facility to serve as a ham shack. It was located on the first floor and was about 12-15 ft square. The antennas were located on the roof, and included both wire and beam antennas fed with runs of coax and 7/8 inch Andrews Heliax cable.

In 1984 the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), the original owner of Western Electric, changed the WE-CO name to AT&T Network Systems. In 1996, AT&T spun off the company, which then became Lucent Technologies. Around 2002, a greatly downsized Southern Regional Center moved from 6701 Roswell Rd in Sandy Springs, GA, to Alpharetta, about 15 miles to the north. The original property was sold and most of it was eventually demolished. In 2006, Lucent was purchased by and merged into the French-based company Alcatel, which changed its name to Alcatel-Lucent.

By the time the Regional Center was moved to Alpharetta, only two active employees of the radio club remained and the company decided they would not sponsor a club there. Not wanting to let their beloved club call WB4MZO be reassigned elsewhere, the club's retired members reincarnated the WEDIXIE ARC as a retiree club and received permission from Lucent management to continue to use the WE trademark in its name. We still fondly remember the "Good Old Days," and strive to keep the club active and to preserve the Western Electric Company spirit.

Our members, though still active amateurs, now move a little slower than they once did, but we remain ready and able to assist the community in times of need. We have elected club officers and a trustee, and our club members especially look forward to participating in the annual Field Day exercise each year, a contest which has had a WB4MZO presence since well before the turn of the millennium.