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  QSL image for W0WOI


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Playing radio since 1952.

The callsign W0WOI is vanity, issued to "Bill" Smith (exW5USM, KL7ABR, YN1DW and ZF1DT), a native of Ames, Iowa and home of historic AM radio station WOI licensed to Iowa State University.

Radio broadcasting began at (then) Iowa State College in 1911 when the engineering department established a wireless telegraph station.

Newspaper articles dated 1913 report station 9YI was regularly sending and receiving weather reports by Morse code and communicating with amateur radio stations.

The first non-code broadcast took place November 21,1921 and consisted of one hour of studio-originated live concert music from the ISC campus.

In April 1922 the United States Department of Commerce issued a formal broadcast license for station WOI. The first broadcast aired April 28, 1922.

WOI radio remains on-air today at 640 kilocycles, fulltime, still owned and operated by Iowa State University as an active and original contributing member of educational National Public Radio.

The forerunner of WOI, 'amateur' callsign 9YI is now W0YI, the ISU Campus Radio Club.

For a history of WOI radio, a true amateur and broadcasting pioneer, please read: http://jeff560.tripod.com/woi.html

WOI-TV Station History

Continuing the tradition of WOI being Iowa’s broadcasting leader, the college station became the first in the state to start transmitting with frequency modulation (FM) in July of 1949. Less then a year later, on February 21, 1950 WOI-TV signed on the air to become the first television station in central Iowa and the second in the state.  WOI-TV originally telecasti on Channel 4 for 15 minutes per day, 5:15 to 5:30 PM.  Shortly thereafter the broadcast day expanded to 6 PM.  WOI-TV now operates on Channel 5

Competitors WHO-TV signed on in 1954 and KRNT (now KCCI) in 1955. Since WOI was the only station during the early years, programming was taken from all the national networks of the time; ABC, CBS, NBC, and the now defunct Dumont Network. Originally assigned to channel 4, WOI was unique in the early 1950's until 1991 as the only educationally owned commercial television station in the United States.

Over the next four decades WOI-TV became a sole ABC affiliate and home to numerous popular local shows such as "The Magic Window" with long time host Betty Lou Varnum. The show ran continuously from 1951 through 1994 making it America's longest running local children's program.

In addition to be being the first television station in central Iowa, WOI-TV was first in the Des Moines market to produce a live local newscast. On October 10, 1981 WOI-TV became the first local station in the country to originate a live broadcast of a NCAA athletic event via satellite, the Iowa State vs. San Diego football game.

In September 1991 the Iowa Board of Regents sold the television side of WOI, retained only the licenses for WOI AM and FM radio.

Television studios were relocated from the ISU campus in Ames to Des Moines. The transmitter and 2,000-foot-tall broadcast tower is 15 miles north of Des Moines in Alleman, Iowa.

W0WOI, the amateur station and operator

The novice-class, valid for one year callsign, WN0WOI was issued in 1953. There is no evidence the call was ever aired . W0WOI is 'original', issued as a vanity in 2005 to "Bill" Smith, replacing W5USM.

A continious member of ARRL since 1952, Bill is a former ARRL Headquarters staff member and seven-year (1967-1974) editor of QST's VHF column the then "World Above 50 Mc." Bill co-organized, with W0CUC and W0ENC (both SK), in 1965 what became the Central States VHF Society in 1967, aired the Cayman Islands the first time ever on 6-meters as ZF1DT (to W4HJZ 20-Jul-1968) and led the 1970 KL7ABR 6-meter DXpedition.

W0WOI holds #1 DXCC Honor Roll (356 / 356) and is active on HF, 6 and 2 meters from Jefferson, Iowa, EN22ta.


I am a collector-historian of pre WW-II QSL cards of Iowa amateur stations. These QSL cards have significant importance preserving our ham heritage. Unfortunately these QSLs, especially those of the 1920s, are becoming very rare. Should you know the whereabouts of pre WW-II QSLs from Iowa or any other state, be so kind as to contact me at W0WOI@ARRL.Net Thank you for helping preserve our history.



Last modified: 2012-04-05 00:12:58, 4714 bytes

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