Southwest Iowa Amateur Radio Association

History of the South West Iowa Amateur Radio Association


             The South West Iowa Amateur Radio Association was organized in 1954 by those interested in Amateur Radio in this [Southwest Iowa] area. Headquarters are in Creston, Iowa. At present there are 32 members in the club, with 30 of these members holding Federal Communications Commission licenses to operate Amateur Radio Stations. This membership encompasses an area with a radius of some 50 miles around Creston.
The Association meets twice each month in Creston, Iowa. One meeting is for open discussion among the members, the other meeting includes a formal program, of instruction in some phase of radio communications. Each year the club offers a course of instruction for persons interested in becoming Amateur Radio Operators. These candidates come from all walks of life. At present the membership includes high school students, retail businessmen. Farmers, doctors, nurses, engineers, newspapermen, accountants and many other subgroups.

All equipment used by the amateurs is privately owned and maintained by them, and all communication service is performed free of charge as dictated by federal law.

The Association stands ready at all times to immediately furnish communications services in the event of an emergency. It is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League, the Army and Air Force “MARS” (Military Affiliate Radio System), “RACES” (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service), Civil Defense, and other civil emergency radio networks, and participates each year in the nationwide emergency radio field exercises under simulated emergency conditions. Emergency power generating equipment is maintained by the Association so that emergency communications service is not dependent on local commercial power. In the event of true disaster conditions, this is likely to be the only communications system that will remain in an operational condition.


The first annual corporation meeting of the SWIARA was held on the 2nd Wednesday of January, 1963. The annual meeting at which elections and appointments took place was held the 2nd Wednesday of each January thereafter.

The SWIARA was incorporated in the State of Iowa on the 4th day of May, 1962. The first Officers were:  President, Joseph McCann; Vice President, Wallace N. Shinn; Secretary/Treasurer, Harold D. Spriggs; Trustee/Chairman of the Board of Directors, Don W. Moore.

The purpose of the organization was to:

1. “Further the art of Radio Communication and all associated activities, including community projects directly related to Radio Communication”.

2. “To provide for and insure the furtherance and continuation and advancement of the philosophy, the science, and the art of Radio Communication”.

3. “To identify the art of amateur radio as being semi-professional, being in no way connected with commercial radio in its conduct thereof, and its participants therefore being in no way competitive with any form of commercial communication now in existence”.

4. “To create an association of persons commonly interested in the pleasure and educational benefits of amateur radio”.

5. “To receive gifts and contributions for the furtherance of the objects herein set out”.

6. “In furtherance of objects herein before set out, to acquire, secure, hold, include, encumber, sell, convey and dispose of property, both real and personal, in fee simple and otherwise, absolutely or in trust, to borrow money, and shall have and exercise all the rights, privileges, and powers invested in and conferred upon it by the laws of the State of Iowa”.

7. “ To give, hold, maintain, carry-on, manage and participate in exhibitions and events of any and all kinds of useful or proper for increasing and developing interest in amateur radio or disseminating information with respect thereto”.

The officers served as the Board of Directors for the first year until the next annual meeting at which elections were held.

It was signed May 4, 1962 by each aforementioned officer. The life of the corporation was to be fifty years.

Upon the secretary’s attempt to renew the corporation in 2012 it was found the Secretary of State had changed rules for incorporation by advertising in various legal newspapers of the requirement for corporate officers to contact the State and register contact information within a particular time frame, or the corporation should be dissolved. The SWIARA had been dissolved! Therefore, at the present time, the South West Iowa Amateur Radio Association exists as a hobbyist club, living by its by-laws as included here.

The First Repeater

In February of 1974 a meeting was held at the Greater Community Hospital to learn about repeaters. These are the minutes to that meeting which were stated in a letter that was sent to every person who had expressed and interest.

The meeting last month at the hospital was a very fine meeting. Many Hams from the surrounding area came with a special group from Clarinda, to present to us the Repeater Story. We left the meeting with great enthusiasm to at least check into the possibilities for one [repeater] in the Creston area. Here is what we have to report to you:

Antennas and Sites:

As previously OK’d, the hospital would be the site of the transmitter. True-Vue officials have enthusiastically agreed to allow the receiver antenna to be placed on the television tower. They expressed excitement to be able to help with this worthwhile community service. They even agreed to install it for us! The club owns a J-pole antenna which is now on the roof of WØOXY’s house. He would need help in getting this down and back to the hospital. Byyce [Nelson WAØTSO] has volunteered to do this. WAØTSP [Robert Sapp] has volunteered his Hy-Gain ground plane for the transmitter antenna.

Telephone Arrangements:

The transmitter and the receiver would be connected by phone lines. Because of the lack of the proper multiples, this line would run from the hospital to the central office and then back out to the antenna site at True-Vue. This is 12¼ miles. Our monthly cost would be computed as follows: $3.50 for the first ¼ mile and $1.25 for each mile thereafter. This would be $17.25 plus 3% sales tax and 8% federal tax on that total. Our monthly phone bill would be $19.19 as close as we can estimate. The phone company stated there would be no delay running the lines. Their installation charge would be $7.50 per terminal and there are three terminals involved. This would be $22.50 installation fee.


Clarinda Hams have supplied us with all necessary equipment with two exceptions. They are supplying us with the transmitter, its power supply, the relay and the receiver. We would have to buy this from them eventually at a cost of $150.00 + $20.00 for the relay. We would also need a power supply for the receiver, cost of around %15 to $20, an identifier, cost of around $120.00. Our initial start up costs would be around $300 to $350.


We may pick any frequency we desire but then that would possibly cause problems with similar repeaters in our area. We therefore contacted the Iowa Repeater Council who suggested 146.19 Tx and 146.79 Rx. These will be the final frequencies. We have reserved these for Creston. Immediately the Clarinda rig is ready to go, after WAØTSO aligns it on 146.16 T and 146.76 R. Many of us already have these rocks.


At the meeting a tentative subscription of $25.00 per man was suggested and approved. Discussion with the officers of the club has arrived at this plan figuring on a basis of a minimum of 10 people:

A. Sustaining Members

Initial subscription of $25.00

Per monthly cost per person of $3.00 via post dated checks deposited monthly

B. Associate Members

Subscription fee of $5.00

Monthly charge of $1.50

C. Contributing Members

Persons who want to donate but not on a subscribing basis

Estimated Total Costs:

Transmitting and receiving $150.00 to $200.00

Antenna $0

Labor $0

DC Relay $0

RG8 Coax $25.00 to $50.00

Telephone installation $22.50

Identifier $100.00 to $140.00

Crystals .16/.76 $0

Later Crystals .19/.79 $16.00 (estimated)

Continuing Costs:

1. Equipment repair - parts only - Labor donated

2. Telephone charges $19.19 / month

3. Savings for equipment replacement


We are mailing this to those of you who cannot make the March 12th meeting. We need your immediate decision. If you say yes, please send your initial subscription check plus 12 post-dated monthly checks. Please date these beginning April 1, 1974. We know this will revitalize amateur radio in this area. Each must help carry the load and we hope you will be among this group.

The Repeater Committee

Bryce Nelson WAØTSO

Robert Sapp WAØTSP

Dr. Jack Robinson WØRJZ