UARC was founded on March 12, 1962, in order to promote amateur radio at The University of Alabama. The founding members included Gayle B. Haymon K4OZY (now W1GUM), Charles H. (Harvey) Haskew K4PYZ (SK, Mobile, AL 1995), William T. Yates K4WWP (SK, Oxnard, CA 2008), Kenneth W. Corbett K4RBW, C.R. Blankenship K4FHR, Walton Williams W4BAI (still W4BAI), and Carl F. Freeman WA4AQW (still WA4AQW). Additional club charter members circa 1962 include Bill Jackson K4AJG, Jim McLester W4YXU, M.D. Smith WA4DXP, Howard Smith W4YHS, and Dan Whitsett W4BRE.
UARC held the club callsign WB4LDG from 1970 to 1985, when a lull in activity caused the station license to lapse.The next club call was KF4ADO, and the present vanity call sign W4UAL was obtained in 1996, both thanks to the special interest and efforts of Mike Fanning (WA4QHI, now K4GU) and Rick David (WC4Q). Dr. Perry Wheless, K4CWW, covered club special events such as Field Day from 1987 until UARC received their new call of KF4ADO, and has served as Trustee for both KF4ADO and W4UAL continuously since he came to The University of Alabama in 1987.
The original club station was housed in the rotunda of the old student union building (now the Communications building), but ongoing RFI issues with the WUAL radio station co-located at that same building prompted a move in 1978. Dr. James Walters, a civil engineering professor and ham, arranged with Dr. Ranier Gruening for the station to be set up and operated from The German House for one year. Then, Dr. Walters obtained a directive from UA President David Matthews for a room to be constructed on the sixth floor (attic) of Paty Hall, and the radio club was moved there. UARC has been at Paty Hall from 1979 to this day.
The W4UAL 2-meter repeater began operation on 144.61 / 145.21 in 1990 under call K4CWW before converting to the call W4UAL in 1996. Tone access (103.5) has been on the repeater since 1997, not for any privacy wish but due to sporadic DX interference keying the transmitter when tone access is deactivated. Since 2007, an InternetRadioLinkingProject (IRLP) node (#4719) has been co-located at the W4UAL repeater. At this time, the IRLP node requires a security code to turn links on and off, but it is intended that the IRLP operation will be become available to the public amateur radio community in the near future. Visitors are welcome to access and enjoy the repeater at any time, with the understanding that they cannot control the IRLP linking under the present operational setup.
Currently available equipment includes Kenwood TS-480 and TS-590S radios, a Hy-gain Explorer 14 yagi, a 5-element 6m yagi, and two 19-element 2m and 432 yagis. There are also dipoles for 40m and 80m atop Paty Hall on the UA campus.
W4UAL is active in numerous annual CQ, ARRL, 10-10, and AWA contests, especially the June and September ARRL VHF contests, CQ WW and WPX, and the two major 10-10 contests. In the 2015 ARRL phone and cw Sweepstakes, W4UAL got two clean sweeps. Further, W4UAL has been activated from the QTH of K4CWW for ARRL and CQ 160m CW contests in recent years.