NØIWN - Iowa Wireless Amateur Radio Network (IWARN)

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"America’s quiet warriors are the legion of ham radio operators, 700,000 of them, who are always at ready for backup duty in emergencies – amateur, unpaid, uncelebrated, civilian radio operators, during and after floods and fires and tornadoes. After the 9/11 attacks, hams were indispensable in reuniting friends and families. Most recently it was they who expedited the search for debris after the Columbia explosion and right now, at this moment, they are involved in homeland security to a greater degree than you would want me to make public."
- Paul Harvey News and Comments, ABC Radio, March 19, 2003

IWARN Meetings

First Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM
Kling Memorial Library
708 7th Street
Grundy Center, IA 50638


2021 IWARN Executive Committee

Position Name Call Sign E-Mail
President Stan Siems WBØEMJ [email protected]
Vice President Larry Stambaugh WBØRMT [email protected]
Secretary/Treaurer Gregory Westwater NØXJA [email protected]
Public Information Officer Jennifer Strohbehn KEØBIT [email protected]
Director Tom Bicket AEØTB [email protected]
Director Glenn Thorne KDØQ [email protected]

Click Here To Download the IWARN Constitution and By-Laws

Iowa Wireless Amateur Radio Network is an ARRL Affiliated Club, click here for more information.


IWARN Coverage Area ARES Leadership

Name Call Sign Position Coverage Area
Lelia Garner WAØUIG Section Manager Statewide
    Section Emergency Coordinator Statewide
Michael Hartley KØIVY Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Statewide
Paul Cowley WØYR District Emergency Coordinator District 1
Joe Hoepfner AE5EI District Emergency Coordinator District 2
Tim England NE5IE Assistant District Emergency Coordinator District 2
Stan Siems WBØEMJ Emergency Coordinator Butler County
Stan Siems WBØEMJ Emergency Coordinator Franklin County
Stan Siems WBØEMJ Emergency Coordinator Hardin County
Tom Bicket AEØTB Emergency Coordinator Grundy County
Scott Lowe WAØTPN Assistant Emergency Coordinator Grundy County
    Emergency Coordinator Marshall County
Glenn Thorne KDØQ Emergency Coordinator Tama County

What is Amateur (Ham) Radio?
by Carland Siems, WØPPX

When most people hear this question they think of someone using Morse Code, tapping out “dashes and dots” over the radio waves. The technology of the Twenty-first century has
taken ham radio far beyond the “dashes and dots” of years past. In fact, knowing Morse Code is no longer a requirement in getting an amateur radio license.

With today’s technology ham operators have the ability to communicate in a variety of different modes. Voice communication is still the standard method, but hams have the ability
to send pictures, TV signals, Internet and even old fashion Morse Code.

Beginning ham operators can use a low power and low cost hand held radio to access local repeaters and reach areas of 50 miles or more. Today’s ham operators can use repeaters aboard special satellites and even on the International Space station to broadcast thousands of miles. With the right equipment, ham operators can even bounce signals off the moon and back to earth.

How do I get started?

First step is to get informed. Iowa Wireless Amateur Radio Network, IWARN, is your local Ham club and is a great place to start. IWARN is a group of ham enthusiasts with the intent to bring the hams in six rural counties (Butler, Franklin, Hardin, Grundy, Marshall and Tama) together for the common good. Come sit in on one of our meetings. IWARN members will be willing to answer any questions that you might have. Become a member of IWARN, we have no membership fees!

How do I get an Amateur Radio license?

IWARN is another good source for you. We can point you in the right direction and help you study to get your Technician License, your first step in becoming a ham operator. IWARN has members that are certified to give license tests, so no long drives for testing.

I have my Technician license, now what happens?

Time to get on the air! There are numerous, hand held radios (HT) ideal for the starting Technician license holder. Some HTs can be purchased for as low as $30 and will do a very good job of reaching your local repeater. There’s a variety of radios, antennas and other ham equipment to meet about any budget. At times, IWARN has mobile radios that are free to new IWARN members.

I’m an IWARN member, I have my license and radio, what’s next?

How about helping your community? Here’s a little known fact! When the EF5 tornado hit Parkersburg, there was a group of trained weather spotters monitoring weather conditions in the Butler county area. These spotters were ham operators and SKYWARN members. As SKYWARN members, they were reporting weather conditions directly to the National Weather Service in Des Moines. At the time of the EF5, there was not a local SKYWARN group to help exchange weather conditions with the local emergency services in Butler County. It’s a goal of IWARN to fill this communications gap. With a little training you too could be a SKYWARN weather spotter.

Some of IWARN members are also members of a nationwide ARRL field organization called Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). ARES helps provide emergency communication assistance to the public service and government sectors in times of a disaster. On 9/11, ARES provided much needed emergency communications in the New York City area. ARES also provided communications for search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. ARES also helps provide non-emergency communications for programs like RAGBRAI. Come sit in on an IWARN meeting and see if you might be interested in becoming an ARES member.

What are some advantages Ham Radio has to offer?

There are many enjoyable things that ham radio has to offer. Radio Contests can challenge you to see how many countries you can contact or try to contact every state. Attend Field Day this year. Field Day is an event where communications are set up away from home stations to simulate a disaster situation. Fox Hunting is done using radio equipment and directional antennas to find hidden transmitters. You can take the satisfaction of building your own ham equipment. There are many home brew antennas that are inexpensive to build and work very well. You can even build your own radio!

Ham radio is a great way to educate yourself while having fun. You will learn about electrical and electronic principles. Learn how radio waves propagate and what effects that propagation. Ham radio makes learning earth and space science, math, electronics and various ways to communicate fun, using hands on experience. Many younger hams take their hobby and turn it into careers in something they really enjoy.

Ham radio is a good way to make lifelong friends. These new friends can be from your same town or in a town halfway around the world.

Another ARES activity you could participate in is the yearly Duane Arnold drill. ARES members from the IWARN counties participate by providing communications support at the evacuation center in Marshalltown. This drill is a good training tool for when a disaster occurs and emergency communications are needed locally. This is a good example of how IWARN members from the 6 rural counties pull together for the common good.

IWARN has meetings the first Thursday of each month in the Education Room of Grundy County Memorial Hospital at 7:00 PM. Come sit in on a meeting, ask questions and learn more about ham radio. Visit our website www.iowawarn.net for more information on IWARN and ham radio. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IowaWarn.