Heartland Amateur Radio Association


Chapter I

On Saturday, March 25, 1995 the first official meeting of H.A.R.A. was held at the KRVN transmitter site north of Holdrege, Nebraska. WAØJRM assumed the role of "President Pro temp" to conduct the meeting. The draft of the constitution was read, and corrections and additions were approved by those present. Board members were elected, consisting of W4YDN and WBØSAO for a term of one year. NØKHY and KFØJW were elected to a two year term, and WAØJRM and KØTD were elected to a three year term. The election of of officers by the board of directors followed. W4YDN was elected Secretary/Treasurer, NØKHY, Vice President, and WAØJRM as President. NØKHY suggested annual dues be set at ($10.) ten dollars for full membership. KØTD suggested dues be set at ($10.) ten dollars for associate memberships, and NØKHY also suggested ($5.) five dollar annual dues for sustaining memberships. All were approved. It was also mandated that NØYNA become the association official bulletin and net control station, with a weekly net held each Tuesday evening at 20:00 (8:00 p.m. CST) hours on the 147.135 repeater. It was also decided by the membership that meeting locations be on a rotating basis, to the locales of the various members. Some discussion was also held on securing a club call sign.

The first work day for the association was held at the Al Martin farm north of Lexington, Nebraska. The purpose was to identify and inventory all communications equipment held by the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles. This completed, some repairs were done on museum equipment by some of the membership in the weeks following.

Not having been in existence thirty days as yet, the association was called upon to provide emergency communications during a blizzard April 11, 1995. Mr. Tim Anthony, Dawson Country Red Cross Director, asked for communications assistance due to the imminent closing of Interstate 80 at Lexington. Preparing suitable shelter for victims at the 4H building on the Dawson County Fairgrounds was already underway. Available rooms at motels in Lexington were known to be filled very quickly, and the remainder of those travelers were going to need a place to stay. Only one telephone was available at the building, and the Red Cross did not want this phone tied up with victim health and welfare calls, electing the local amateur service to provide that service, as well as any others that may crop up. Stations participating in the anticipated emergency were KGØBX, NØKHY, WAØRAK, WBØSAO, WAØJRM, W4YDN, KBØLBW, NØYNA, KØTD, and NØDEX (Lincoln, Nebraska). Thankfully the storm subsided, and the planned closing of Interstate 80 was scuttled. Our first baptism of fire had went relatively well. At the associations next meeting, the Red Cross Director (Dawson County), and Mr. Rick Klauz, Dawson County Civil Defense Director, were on hand to personally thank the association for their efforts. As a side light, Rick later obtained his amateur license. His call is KBØYTN, but more about Rick later.

On April 19, 1995, NØKHY, W4YDN, and KBØLBW participated in the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing emergency by representing H.A.R.A., handling health and welfare request through the nets established for that purpose.

In July, H.A.R.A. participated in the V.E. (Victory in Europe W.W.II) activities at the museum, and set up temporary operations from one of the communications vans on the site. The museum was pleased with the stations operation, and a discussion with them on July 23, 1995 resulted in an agreement to build a permanent display and operating station in the van. At this point, it became imperative that to undertake this project, more money would be needed to finance the project. H.A.R.A. could no longer sustain itself solely on membership dues only.

On August 9, 1995, (a regular meeting) it was decided to hold an amateur radio auction to raise the needed funds. The auction was to be held in late September, or October. Various locations were investigated by the Secretary, W4YDN, and the Knights of Columbus Hall in Lexington was chosen at the following meeting, which by the way, was a cookout hosted by NØKHY and his wife Betty. This has become an annual affair, and no one yet has went away hungry. At this time the membership had an opportunity to sample Ray's mothers expertise in pie making. We all had at least two pieces, and at that point H.A.R.A. decided to ask her to make pies for the up coming auction. Those of you that have sampled the aforementioned culinary delights can readily see why this has become a major attraction at our auctions. Some have suggested this was a brilliant request, but actually it was just one of our best no-brainer ideas. One taste and anyone would come to the same conclusion. It should be also mentioned here of another member of the NØKHY household. Our association mascot, Thumper, happily greets everyone who visits the NØKHY QTH. Ray and Betty adopted KAY9ARF at a tender age (or was it the other way around ?) , and Ray brought Thumper to the repeater site while members were installing an antenna there. Thumper, in lending a hand to the proceedings, latched on to the "up rope" while hoisting the new antenna in to place, and subsequently took a short ride up along the side of the tower. At this point, everyone decided that Thumper should become the association's mascot because of the tenacity shown to get the job done. Today he now has his own column in the H.A.R.A news letter, and balances the priorities of the associations endeavors.

It should be also mentioned here, that KFØJW owns and maintains the repeater (147.135) that H.A.R.A. uses, without cost to the association. KRVN provides the repeater site, also at no cost.

By October, 1995, H.A.R.A. had received their club call sign KBØTYG (now WØSOK in memory of Bob Bitner), and final plans were underway for the auction. NØYNA provided a listing of all amateurs in the surrounding counties, and also a listing of amateur radio clubs in Nebraska and surrounding states. With this information the advertising blitz began, and consignments for the auction were being made almost daily. The auction proved to be a success, and has become an annual activity. Thought was given to a method of thanking those outside of the association membership (primarily XYL's) for their valued efforts in helping with the auction. NØKHY suggested a Valentines Day dinner, and the idea was adopted. This too, has become an annual event.

In December, applications to W5YI for an association supported testing program were finalized, and a discussion was held concerning a H.A.R.A news letter. Initially, the news letter was an insert in the museum quarterly news letter. W4YDN and WBØSAO were reelected to return to the board of directors for a three year term. The board of directors also reelected W4YDN as Secretary/Treasurer, WAØRAK as Vice President, and NØKHY as President for the new year. NØKHY was also elected as the news letter editor, and gracefully accepted the appointment. And thus ended the first year of H.A.R.A., and all members had survived the ordeal! We had come a long way, but much work remained to be done. With new resolve for 1996, H.A.R.A. continued to grow.

Chapter II

1996 began with a dinner at the the Speak Easy in Sacramento, Nebraska February 14th. Installation of new officers followed the meal. Out going President WAØJRM presented NØKHY the Orb and Scepter (a roll of toilet paper and a Dolly Parton chocolate sucker), and certificates of appreciation were presented to the guest present. The news letter efforts by NØKHY proved to be quite popular, and volunteer examiner applications from H.A.R.A. membership ranks were being finalized. The meeting schedule was changed from the second Wednesday of the month to the second Tuesday of each month. WBØSAO reported that the museum had requested a redesign and rebuild of the steps leading into the communications van at the museum. A work day of June 8, 1996 was set aside to complete this work. It was further decided to move the auction date from October to September. WBØSAO also reported the that the roof had been leaking badly on the van. Further inspection revealed a host of problems including rusting electrical lighting fixtures and rotting interior paneling. A major project became immediately apparent. Field Day activities were held from the van despite the unfinished restoration.

The July meeting proved to be just one highlight of the year. Hosted by KBØRPW, members were treated to some spectacular model airplane flying demonstrations by the Mid Nebraska Modeler's Club. Work continued to progress on the communications van at the museum, and the association was approached by the Nebraska Antique Radio Club with the thought of incorporating their annual radio auction with H.A.R.A.'s. The idea was considered and approved, and auction chairman WAØJRM met with Antique Radio Club at the annual Victoria Springs Steak Fry to finalize the details.

Again, the September meeting was hosted by NØKHY, Betty, and Thumper KAY9ARF. After a delicious barbecue topped off with Wolaka (MOM) Nelson's pies, plans were finalized for the auction. WAØRAK provided telescopic views of the planet Jupiter with his equipment. It was also decided that volunteer amateur and commercial examinations would begin after the auction on a bi monthly basis to be sponsored by the association. All examiners applications had been approved by W5YI, and we were ready to begin this new endeavor. WAØJRM also represented the museum and H.A.R.A. with a display table at the Harvard, Nebraska air show, featuring radios from WW II. Thoughts were also given to developing a web site on the internet. W4YDN was assigned to research this idea in depth and report his findings at the next meeting.

Between the September and October meetings a lot of unexpected activities sprang up. The Federal Communications Commission had elected to close all of it's monitoring stations, including the one located at Grand Island, Nebraska. WAØJRM had inspected some surplus equipment offered through the General Services Administration at the Grand Island site, and was aghast to learn that two conical mono pole antennas, in perfect condition, were to be scrapped, and other equipment that was to be disposed of in a like manner. An emergency "on the air" board meeting authorized the sum of two hundred dollars, to be spent for the acquisition of some of this equipment. After museum director Mr. David Smith secured credentials for WAØJRM to represent the museum at the disposal function, WAØJRM accompanied by NØYNA and KBØYTN, were on hand on the appointed day to secure some of this equipment for H.A.R.A. through the right to purchase surplus property. Upon arriving, the group discovered much more equipment available than had been previously thought. The antennas were not offered however. WAØJRM, in competition with the University of Nebraska, and the House of Yesterday museum at Hastings, Nebraska began laying claim to numerous pieces, many of which had not been approved of by the board of directors. To make a long story short, the budget was quickly overrun in the heat of battle. (You had to be there). The board was not pleased with the added strain on the bank account following this action, in view of the up coming expenses involved with money needed to finance the auction. To the relief of the membership, WAØRAK loaned H.A.R.A enough seed money to cover auction expenses. WAØJRM had dodged another bullet.

The antennas were eventually secured through the Army Military Affiliate Radio System, of which W4YDN and NØYNA (state equipment screener) are members. The September 21st auction was deemed another success as the profit margin had doubled from the previous year. Again free memberships and Valentines Day dinners were approved for amateurs or XYL's for their help with the auction. I suppose it should also be mentioned here, that the auction was again conducted by Double R Auction Service (Mr. Randy Reiss), brother of WAØJRM (although Randy may not always admit to that).

The October meeting was again hosted by KBØRPW, and participants were treated to deep fat fried Western High Altitude Bat Wings and refreshments (go ahead, ask). Research continued on the possibility of a web site. In review, other desirable equipment had been spotted at the F.C.C. facility. H.A.R.A. representatives were told that this equipment was not being offered, and would be transported to the Nebraska Federal Surplus Property facility in Lincoln, Nebraska for future disposal. Our chances of future acquisitions seemed doubtful. A schedule of V.E. examinations was approved, commencing January 1997, and continuing every odd numbered month thereafter.

The December meeting was an "on the air" affair, and plans were formulated to enlist the services of MRL Construction for a crane to lower the large conical mono pole antenna at the monitoring station. Due to a lack of a quorum, the January meeting elections were postponed until the February meeting. That meeting was set for February 11th, again at the Speak Easy for the annual Valentines day thank you dinner.

Another year had come and gone, and H.A.R.A continued to grow. Much equipment had been secured for museum display, including test equipment to be used for future restoration and repair of museum radios. Repairs to the communications van were still underway, and an unexpected chance to purchase more surplus equipment from the F.C.C. pile was to appear in 1997 as you will learn. Many projects remained incomplete, but work was progressing toward these goals. The membership felt it had been another year of successful operations, in spite of some rough spots.

Chapter III

Again, the February 1997 meeting was held at the Speak Easy. After all present had been dually stuffed, plans for retrieving the towers at the monitoring station were set for the 19th of the month. KFØJW and KBØRPW were elected to the board of directors. KFØJW was elected as President, KØTD Vice President, and W4YDN was reelected as Secretary/Treasurer. A cabinet had been located for the Collins 51 S receiver acquired from the F.C.C surplus, and funds were approved for it's purchased. Installation of new officers was accomplished at the March meeting due to the late elections. President KFØJW was presented with the Orb, Scepter, and bible by outgoing President NØKHY. The work day at Grand Island met with other than total success, but the association was given additional equipment by the State Surplus Property Office. The smaller conical mono pole antenna was lowered, dismantled, and loaded for shipment back to the museum. The crane from MRL Construction became mired in the mud before reaching the larger antenna. The attempt to lower this antenna was obviously postponed. During all of this, the association workers were approached by the F.C.C. and Surplus Property representatives to see if we were interested in securing two 1 Kilowatt transmitters, and two 5 Kilowatt transmitters located at the station (complete with spare tubes) at no cost. NØYNA and WAØJRM accepted the offer on behalf of the association, with the stipulation that removal could be done at a later date. No equipment had been brought along to remove and load transmitters of this size. The State and Federal representatives agreed that something could be worked out with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the new custodians of the facility. Meanwhile W4YDN had been repairing much of the equipment brought from the monitoring station, as well as pieces given as gifts to the museum to add to the display in the communications van. NØKHY donated a glass door cabinet with locking doors for housing small items such as C.W. keys and other smaller artifacts. After some remodeling of this cabinet the display began to take shape rapidly after repairs had been completed to the van itself.

The April meeting was held at the Buffalo County Emergency communications facility and hosted by Chuck Kemmery. Buffalo County Civil Defense Director. After the meeting a full tour of the facility was provided to the participants. Earlier in the month NØYNA and WAØJRM visited the state surplus property facility in Lincoln. H.A.R.A. had been told that most of the remaining F.C.C. equipment had been apparently disposed of earlier. Investigation that day proved this to be erroneous, and the equipment desired by the association was found packed away in a storage trailer, to be disposed of at their annual auction. WAØJRM, having previously proved adept at deficit spending, signed for Drake communications receivers, antenna rotators, a PK 232 digital controller, ground rods, rotor wire, tubes, vacuum capacitors, test equipment and a host of other assorted goodies. Some people really are slow learners! However, the association approved the expenditures for the equipment at the meeting, and now inventory was complete to set up a fully operational station at the museum. Ron Blecha, WØWHY, provided the program on emergency preparedness, and urged H.A.R.A. to develop a written plan for emergency operations. Something we had neglected to do in the past. Also earlier in the month, another attempt to retrieve the large antenna at Grand Island had been scuttled (mid way through the travel) due to rain and snow. Oh well!

The May meeting was held in the communications van at the museum, and the handiwork of W4YDN, WAØRAK and others in repairing the facility was admired by those in attendance. Plans were formulated for erection of the tower, antennas ect., and a list of other needed material to finish the project drawn up. KBØYTN accepted chairmanship for the emergency planning committee, and at the suggestion of WAØRAK, consideration was given to a H.A.R.A QSL card. Field Day activity brought little interest by the membership this year, and no plans to participate were formulated.

The June meeting was held at the Sacremento-Wilcox game reserve. A solicitation for a club logo, to be used on QSL cards, stationery, and possibly association jackets and caps was approved. The winning design was to be voted upon by the general membership, with the designer given a free membership in H.A.R.A. After the short business meeting and watermelon feed, a tour of the geese pens, and the Kermit Wilke car collection and restoration facilities located close by, was enjoyed by those attending.

At the July meeting, KBØYTN presented a draft of the emergency operations plan. Suggestions for changes were discussed and noted by Rick. More discussion was held on the proposed web site. W4YDN offered to pay the $39 set up fee, and NØKHY offered to pay for the first three months of operation. A final decision tabled till the next meeting to give time for further study by the general membership not present at the meeting. NØKHY also suggested that the date of September 6th be set for that months meeting (instead of the normal second Tuesday date), to make the annual barbecue hosted by the Nelson clan, more convenient to attend by the membership. The motion was approved.

The August meeting was held at the KRVN transmitter site. Earlier, yet another attempt had been made to lower the remaining tower at Grand Island had been made. The crane however did not show up as planned, but the crank up tower was loaded, and two thrust bearing were found for use on the tower being prepared for erection already at the museum. W4YDN had already fabricated the top plate and rotor plate brackets from heavy aluminum stock donated by KFØJW. It was decided to try to erect this structure on the date of the September meeting. Final preparations were made for the up coming auction. KBØHAW and KBØYTN volunteered (?) to assume the clerking duties. WBØSAO and KBØOCY offered to handle the bull pen, and NØYNA once again was to direct the food service. Also, KAØDJA had found an estate in Hastings, and together with W4YDN and WAØJRM two trips were made to bring this equipment back for the auction. The consigned items included a complete Collins S line station, which proved to be the center piece of the auction. Meanwhile, KBØYTN, WAØRAK and others prepared the concrete base for the tower at the museum.

Again, the September barbecue was deemed a success by all members and guest. Everyone gained five pounds it seemed. It was decided that the October meeting would be devoted to finalizing the emergency plan. The auction, held in conjunction with the Nebraska Antique Radio Club, had to be moved to the National Guard Armory at Lexington due to a scheduling conflict at the K.C. Hall. Buyers from five surrounding states were in attendance. The tower and antennas had been erected at the museum and the display was ready for active duty for the Veterans Day activities. AT the October meeting, a financial summary report was submitted by WAØJRM concerning the auction. Revenues had not doubled again as in previous years, but did show a healthy increase. The H.A.R.A. emergency plan was approved, and a command structure for it's implementation installed. Thoughts were given to another fund raising activity, namely a flea market to be held in late March or early April. For quite some time, an emergency communications van had been contemplated. This was to be made available for use anywhere in area if need, and based in Lexington. It was also known that such a project would require the largest capital outlay in the organizations history. Funds were going to be needed and raised at an increased pace. The crank up tower secured earlier was to be used in conjunction with this project. Due to the absence of both the President and Vice President, WAØJRM conducted the meeting. No provision had been made for this situation in the associations constitution and by-laws. It was decided to rectify this oversight at the following meeting.

A new addition to the museum building was under construction, and the November meeting was held in conjunction with the celebration at the museum commemorating Veterans Day at the site. Funds were approved for the web site, and NØYNA was appointed committee chairman to investigate sources and cost of H.A.R.A. jackets and hats. Wording for the contemplated constitutional amendment providing for continuity of command in the absence of the President and Vice President was finalized and approved for the vote of the general membership the following month. Mr. Dave Smith, attorney for the museum also attended the meeting, and agreed to help H.A.R.A. pursue legal "non profit" status for the organization. Our larger revenues were beginning to be noticed by Uncle Sam it seemed.

Due to inclement weather, the December meeting was held "on the air" through the repeater. The proposed amendment was read and approved. KBØYTN reported arrangements had been made for a boom truck to lower the remaining antenna at Grand Island. Materials for "jump kits" to be used in emergency operations were being assembled by NØYNA.

And so another year of operation was brought to a close. We have assembled a rather large amount of equipment through donations and purchase of surplus property from the F.C.C. monitoring station. The display at the Museum of Military Vehicles is being rapidly completed. Even a power supply had been provided for the lighting of the helicopter near Interstate 80 on the museum grounds, and was installed. It's an eye catcher to say the least. The emergency plan was completed, and hopefully we are ready for any assignment given to us. We have one of the finest club news letters in the state, and our treasury is in reasonably good shape, despite the efforts of WAØJRM to deplete it. As we look to the new year, our remaining projects appear large, given our static membership numbers. But, we have always completed our goals sooner or later. We have a web site on the internet to help us publicize our activities and needs.

Certain traditions have evolved, such as the annual NØKHY barbecue, Valentines Day appreciation dinner, and "Mom's" pies for the auction. Why all involve eating is open to speculation. We continue to provide amateur and commercial license examinations, and hope our continued success is beneficial to the community, the museum, and the amateur radio service.

And the road goes ever onward. . .