R.A.D.I.O. is an acronym for Radio Amateur Downstate Illinois Organization. While the Club started in Mt. Carmel its membership center has shifted north and west. It was decided to start holding meetings in Olney to better balance the distance driven for our members.
Here is a little condensed history of R.A.D.I.O.
Radio Amateur Downstate Illinois Organization (R.A.D.I.O.) was formed in the late 1960’s by Amateur Radio operators in the south east corner of Illinois. While the club has always listed Mt. Carmel as its home base it has always had members from the counties of Edwards, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties in Illinois in addition to members from Gibson, Knox, Posey and Vanderburgh counties in Indiana. Now as our member base has shifted we have moved our meetings to Olney to reflect the shift of our member base and to attract new members reflecting our increased repeater footprints.
In 1973 the first 2 meter Ham Radio repeater was installed by AI9H on the Wabash Valley College radio station tower just north of Mt. Carmel. This Ham Radio repeater immediately became a vital tool for Amateur Radio as it became the major repeater to be used for weather spotting in southeastern Illinois.
Over the years the club has replaced many parts of the repeater system and is now a co-owner of the machine.
In the late 1990’s R.A.D.I.O. installed a second repeater on the 70 cm band on the WVC tower. Again this repeater became a vital part of the area as it gave Hams two repeaters to work with.
In December of 2010 R.A.D.I.O. installed a third repeater east of Parkersburg. The new repeater is the N9QZA Memorial Repeater in memory of Jack Clodfelter N9QZA (sk) and is located about 3 miles from Jack’s last residence. Much like Jack this repeater has a fantastic voice and large foot print. This repeater is gaining worldwide coverage with echolink being installed. We are working on smoothing some settings and etc. but will arrive at a polished product soon. All of the R.A.D.I.O. repeaters are ARES affiliated. A.R.E.S. (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) is sponsored by the ARRL. All Hams are welcomed to join and take part with ARES.
A future project might be linking these and other repeaters into a wide area network.
R.A.D.I.O. operates solely from member dues and purchases and maintains the repeaters and other equipment from money from our treasury, donations of money and equipment or other surplus sources. We especially want to reach out to Hams who are within the increased foot print of the repeaters. We welcome all new members and donations.
The dues are rather inexpensive at $15 a year for all amateurs regardless of age or class of license. Considering the maintenance cost of 3 repeaters, construction expenses and insurance coverage the club has a healthy expenditure to cover not to mention any future projects.