Club History

Celebrating its 75 year history, the CWA held a two day special event on 25 and 26 February 2005 and Ray Millmaker, W9HAB, the club's oldest surviving charter member, made the first contact. Photo taken at the club station and radio museum exhibit in Centralia, Illinois.

Earliest known station in Centralia. 1915 Everett and Marion Beebe establish experimental (Amateur) wireless station (9FN). They were 14 and 17 years old.

The Club Timeline


Centralia Short Wave Radio Club established with 13 members. Five were licensed radio operators at the time.

Names and Call Signs:

Earl Baumeyer, W9ENQ
Randal Gibson, W9HNL (?9AVG)
Dr. L.J. Hallam, W9CZM
Dean A. Baker, W9HZQ
Frank Rhinehart, W9ACH
Max Wright, W9DLV
Louie Corridorri, W9AXG
Charles Pounds, W9CHQ
Raymond Millmaker, W9HAB
Leon Hall, W9FIE
name unknown, W9FSA
Wally Bartram, W9GBC
Lester M. Hill, W9BNL

January 6, 1930

Applied for ARRL affiliation.

January 14, 1930

Affiliation granted by ARRL.

July 6, 1931

Name changed to Centralia Wireless Association.

December 8, 1941

Second World War - Government Order #87 removes ALL Amateur Radio frequencies from use for the duration unless specially directed in the interest of national defense.

August 21 and November 15, 1945

Government Orders #127 and #130 with amendments re-opens Amateur bands of operation in stages. New bands established.

April 1974

An informal group formed the Marion County Amateur Radio Club, later joined by members of the original CWA. Code and theory classes were started with several receiving Novice (WN) licenses.

Names, Call Signs, Roles:

Alva "Bud" King, WN9QEG - President
Jim Cavins, WN9QEH - Secretary
Gordon Pryor, WN9PJX - Treasurer
John Wallace, W9WGW
Jim Sanders, W9SBK
William S. "Bill" Keller, WA9IUF


Formalization of the club with bylaws and a constitution begun by the group. The original name "Centralia Wireless Association" was resurrected courtesy of Max Wright, W9DLV an original charter member.

January 1, 1977

Constitution and bylaws adopted with 50 charter members of the new club.

July 26, 1977

CWA incorporated under the State of Illinois "General Not for Profit Corporation" Act.


First club repeater setup in Odin, IL, on two meter band.


First certified VE license examination conducted.

The Centralia Wireless Association has held three club call signs:

1948 - W9ETF
1974 - WD9FTR
1996 - W9CWA Vanity call applied for and granted.

October 2001

Historical Museum Radio Display Project started.

September 2002

Grand opening - ribbon cutting

January - March 2010

The club developed and published its own website on the Internet:

Echolink: A world wide computer-based communications program for amateur radio operators is linked, via an interface, into the club's 2 meter VHF repeater on the frequency of 147.270 MHz

Ray Millmaker, age 95, will be celebrating his 96th birthday this year. Ray is the oldest living charter member of the Centralia Wireless Association.

August 2013

The area's youngest ham becomes a club member. Miranda Dailey, KC9ZMS, gets her Technician class license and becomes a member at just 5 years old.

December 20, 2013

Contstruction of a new web site begins and a new web host is employed.

Last modified: 15 Jun, 2018