For over thirty years there was only one broadcast band DX club in North America: the National Radio Club.
In the late 1950's, certain actions taken by the old-guard leadership caused discontent among the membership. For instance: in 1959 the club's constitution was scrapped. In 1961, the Executive Secretary refused to abide by decisions made at the annual convention, even though such decisions traditionally were considered binding. A conflict arose within NRC between the old-guard leadership and a group of younger, more progressive members who wanted a return to representative club government.
Since the views of the leaders of this movement (such as Larry Godwin, Bill Nittler, and Marvin Robbins) were censored in DX News (the club bulletin,) they were forced to send out their own newsletter to make known their views regarding the form of government the NRC ought to have.
Things came to a head at the annual convention in 1963, held in Denver. The entire group of those attending the convention were unanimous in favoring the adoption of a club constitution and a democratic form of government. A constitution was drawn up and adopted by the convention goers. It was, however, rejected by the Executive Secretary.
A poll taken of all NRC Members showed that 64% of those voting favored a democratic form of government, It was hoped that this poll would show the club officers that the membership wanted a change, and that an official vote should be taken on the question. The results of the poll were, however, ignored by the NRC officials. The stage was set for the founding of IRCA.
On February 1, 1964, an organization called the National Radio Club, Incorporated (NRCI) was incorporated under Colorado Law by six Denver area NRC members: Larry Godwin, Dallas John, Dave Johnson, Bill Nittler, Marvin Robbins, and John Tracy. The new organization considered itself the lawful successor to the NRC, since the officers of the old NRC had refused to follow the will of the majority of the members. By the end of that month, 40 DXers had joined the new organization.
The first bulletin of the NRCI was published on March 17, 1964, and was sent to 60 members. The name of the bulletin was 'DX News'; all the columns and features were identical with those in the old 'DX News' published by the NRC. (The NRC still continued to publish a bulletin, also called 'DX News'). The new organization grew rapidly, and went past the 300 mark just before it reached its first anniversary.
In mid-April 1964, the publishing staff of NRCI felt that the newly formed club should seek a separate identity, both because of a technical flaw in the bylaws and also to avoid future conflict with the NRC. The name of the club was changed to 'International Radio Club of America, Inc', the bulletin's name to 'DX Monitor', and the names of the columns and features in the bulletin were changed also. For the first year of its existence, IRCA operated under the temporary constitution and bylaws adopted at the 1963 Denver Convention.
In 1965, a new constitution and bylaws were adopted. The first provisional officers were: Marv Robbins as President; Bill Nittler as Secretary- Treasurer; and a Board of Directors made up of Ed Krejny, Dallas John, Dave Gleason, Dave Johnson, and Don Erickson. The first publisher of 'DX Monitor' was Bill Nittler.
Eventually, both sides realized that either club has the right to live it's own life (so to speak), and IRCA and NRC began to work together. Today, both clubs cooperate in common areas, such as the Courtesy Program Committee, and maintain a spirit of friendly competition in most other areas.
The first IRCA Convention was held in Dauphin Island, AL (near Mobile, AL). Since then, conventions have been held in many other places: San Diego , Milwaukee, Denver, Hollywood (a block from Hollywood and Vine), Chicago, Vancouver BC, Toledo, Hammond, IN, Seattle, Columbus, Boise, and Huntsville, AL, to name a few. The 1996 convention was held in Ocala, FL.
DX Monitor has been published in Englewood, CO, El Cajon, CA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Riverside, CA, and Perris, CA.
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In February of 1964 a group of broadcast band DXers formed a new radio club and published the first issue of a magazine now known as "DX Monitor." Many members of the IRCA perhaps do not know the story behind the foundation of the club.
For thirty years there was only one club which specialized in BCB DX - the National Radio Club. NRC was formed by members of the disbanded Buffalo Evening News DX Club in September 1933. In 1934, two other clubs -- the Atlantic Radio Club and the Central DX Club merged with NRC.
For most of its history, NRC was a democratically run club, with elected officers. Decisions made at the annual convention were considered as equally binding as any other vote of the membership. Over the years, however, an old-guard leadership gradually assumed control of the club, and by the late 1950's and early 1960's the nature of the club organization changed. At the 1959 Omaha, Nebraska convention, the club's constitution was scrapped. 1961 marked the beginning of the conflict when NRC's Executive Secretary refused to accept decisions made at the Amarillo, Texas convention although decisions made by a majority vote at conventions were customarily binding, including the decision which put the Executive Secretary in office as the supreme commander. However, he was able to do this since the club's constitution or guideline was scrapped in 1959 at the Omaha NRC convention. At the 1962 NRC convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, by which time the conflict had become deeper, the NRC Executive Secretary made it clear that he would not tolerate any interference with the way in which he was running the club. By late 1962, reports to the NRC bulletin were being censored of any criticism, however constructive. In the course of 1963, some violent and ill-founded attacks were made via newsletters and by the NRC editorialists.
As a result of these actions on the part of the club officials, there arose a group of younger progressive members who wanted a return to a more representative club government. Since their views were censored in NRC's bulletin, "DX News," they were forced to send out their own private newsletters in order to communicate their ideas on club government.
Things came to a head at the 1963 annual convention held in Denver, Colorado. It was hoped that representatives from both camps would be present, to sit down and iron out their differences. As it turned out, no members of the group actually controlling the club were at the convention. The entire group of those who did attend resolved to adopt a new club constitution with a democratic form of government. After the convention, a poll was taken of the entire NRC membership; of those who voted, 60% favored adopting the provisional constitution drawn up in Denver. It was hoped that the large percentage favoring such a change would convince the executive secretary that an official vote should be taken. The poll, however, was ignored, and the stage was set for the founding of IRCA.
On February 1, 1964, a group of Denver area NRC members incorporated an organization called the National Radio Club, Incorporated (NRCI.) NRCI was founded under Colorado law by six Denver NRCers: Larry Godwin, Dallas John, Dave Johnson, Bill Nittler, Marv Robins, and John Tracey. They felt that NRCI was the lawful successor of NRC, since the officers of NRC had refused to follow the wishes of a majority of members. NRCI quickly attracted members from NRC; over 100 had joined NRCI by the end of spring. By the end of the first year the IRCA's membership had reached 350 members.
Since NRCI considered itself the successor to NRC, the name given to the club bulletin was "DX News," the same as that used by NRC. (NRC, however, did not roll over and die; it also continued to publish its bulletin called "DX News.") The format and names of columns in NRCI's "DX News" were identical with those used in NRC's "DX News." The NRCI published its first bulletin on March 17, 1964 on an new mimeograph machine purchased with funds donated by members and from member's charter fees. The first bulletin was mailed out to 69 members, who expressed confidence in the Denver member's ability to publish a bulletin. Bill Nittler assumed duty as head of the publishing committee and the bulletin was published at his home.
After about a month's existence, the officers of NRCI decided that the club should change its name, both because of a technical flaw in the bylaws and also to avoid any future conflict with NRC. There was a general desire to take a unique name with a more international scope. In the April 14, 1964 issue a ballot was circulated containing two new choices for the club's name: International Broadcast Listeners (IBL) and International Radio Club of America. 93.5% of the membership voted and selected "IRCA." By the way, "International Radio Club" was considered, but there was a club in Sweden with that name. At the same time the bulletin was renamed "DX Monitor" which won out over "International DX News" and "DX Bulletin." Members also chose the club emblem from a dozen of proposed drawings. The IRCA emblem was designed by Marv Robbins. The columns were renamed, but remained essentially the same as those in "DX News" for several years. There were two DX Forum sections, one for California edited by Don Erickson, and the other for the rest of the country edited by Dallas John. The Domestic Tip Index (similar to NRC's DXDD) was edited by Dave Johnson, and Ed Krejny was the first editor of DXWW. The Roundup and Forum sections came into their present form in 1966; the current names were tacked on in 1967. The first printed mastheads, exhibiting the new name of the club, were donated by the then Industry Advisor, John Tucker in May of 1964. Marv Robbins contributed to the club 10,000 two-color mastheads which were first used in the July 21, 1964 bulletin.
At its beginning, NRCI used the constitution and bylaws drawn up by the Denver NRC convention of 1963. The Denver IRCA members served as the club government until September of 1964 when the first election of officers was held, all were elected for a one-year term. The results were: President, Marv Robbins; Secretary-Treasurer, Bill Nittler; Board of Directors, Ed Krejny, Dallas John, Dave Johnson, Dave Gleason, and Don Erickson. The elections have been held every two years since. From the beginning the foundation of the club has been its Constitution and Bylaws. The documents themselves were not officially approved by the IRCA membership until July of 1965, after a few changes from the Denver originals had been made.
The new club's first "Dxer Of The Month" was Dave Gleason of Quito, and its first DX Program was aired over KATI in Casper, Wyoming where member Murray Carl Mann was working at that time. The first IRCA convention was held in Dauphin Island (near Mobile), Alabama, August 21-24, 1964, hosted by Alex Bowab, Park Barton, and Dan Phillips. Among the attendees were the hosts, Ed Krejny, Mike Worst, Dave Roys, and Don Roller. Column editors have changed many times over the years, but the editor who has edited the same column for the longest period of time is Nancy Johnson who took over the WDXR column in January of 1975 and who continues to edit WDXR to this day.
The first publisher of "DX Monitor" was Bill Nittler. The first two years of "DX Monitor" were published in Denver, most of them in Bill Nittler's basement. It was printed on a mimeo machine, then hand collated, folded, stuffed into envelopes, addressed, stamped, and mailed, all by Denver area IRCA members. Most likely Bill also enlisted the help of some of his kids at times, too. In 1968 the Denver group handed control of publishing "DX Monitor" to a group of three California members. Two of them ducked out shortly thereafter, leaving the third person, Don Erickson, running things by himself until mid 1973. There is a rumor that Don's ceiling had splotches of mimeo ink from when the mimeo machine threw up. The San Diego Publishing Committee took over in May of 1973, with Grant Manning becoming publisher and Father Jack Pejza, editor-in-chief. One of their first moves was to change the way in which "DX Monitor" was published. Instead of using a mimeo machine, they hired a commercial printer to handle the printing chores. Publication was done by photo-offset, but the format was a two column type using 8 ½ x 11 pages. This enabled them to produce a better looking bulletin and made it easier to prepare columns and articles. Typewritten copy, maps, photos, etc. could now be laid out on regular typing paper instead of the more cumbersome mimeo stencils. Publishing continued to shuffle around the west coast over the next few years. To Seattle in 1975, then San Francisco in 1977. In 1979 the Seattle group took over again. This time a major format change was made -- to the current booklet format.
When the club was first formed, dues were $4.00 third class mail, $6.00 first class, and $8.00 airmail. By 1968 they were up to $5.50/$8.00/$11.00 only to rise to $6.50/$9.50/$14.00 a year later. By this time third class mail had gotten so unreliable that most members were getting their "DX Monitor" by first or air mail. Airmail rates actually dropped to $13 a couple years later. With the advent of offset printing in 1973, there was no longer any advantage to third class mail, so it was dropped completely. When first class and airmail rates were combined by the post office in the early 1970's, dues were a flat $9.50. They were raised to $12.00 in 1975 and to $16.50 in 1978. As postal rates continued to rise over the years, dues continued to increase.
The first 100 members had an opportunity to purchase charter memberships for an extra $2.00. The money collected was used to help pay for the mimeograph machine. Charter member certificates were eventually mailed to those members. As of March 16, 1965 the charter membership list included: Stan Alexander
John L. Beer
Larry B. Godwin
John C. Johnson
Murray Carl Mann
T.A. Mulvaney III
Marvin E. Robbins
Ronald Schatz Walter Snyder, Jr.
C. M. Stanbury II
Several other members made sizable financial contributions to the IRCA at its inception which enabled the club to pay off its debt on the mimeo machine shortly after commencing operation. Those members included:
Larry B. Godwin
Marvin E. Robbins
The IRCA has a "signature melody." In 1967 the club voted on a club theme song that could be used as background music for club produced radio announcements such as DX tests. Sort of a National Anthem. Original choices were "1812 Overture," "Hail To The Chief," "Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean," "Hands Across The Sea," and "Monday, Monday." A runoff vote had to be taken between then current rock hit by the Mamas and Papas, "Monday, Monday" and the classic "Hands Across The Sea." "Hands Across The Sea" won, and to this day is the IRCA "signature melody."
As time passed, our relationship with the NRC had become friendly and now many of our members belong to both clubs. A wholesome spirit of mutual benefit and friendly competition has developed between the NRC and IRCA, and brought them closer together.
This IRCA history was compiled from various history articles that have appeared in the IRCA "DX Monitor" over the years. Thanks to John C. Johnson for compiling the information presented here.
A .pdf history of the DX Monitor Masthead (compiled by Phil Bytheway 2020)
The Ted Vasilopoulos Award
Who was Ted Vasilopoulos and why is there an award named after him? Ted was a very popular DXer of the highest ethical standing in the late 1950's and early 1960's. He DXed on a home built receiver and went so far as winding his own coils. He was one of the guiding forces in forming the IRCA and helped draft what eventually became the club's Constitution. Ted had worked with an electronics company. Ted died on February 2, 1965 in Los Angeles, California, from a sudden heart attack.
After his death, the club decided to find some fitting way to remember him, it was decided to present an annual award to the person who did the most for the club during the preceding year, as determined by a vote of the membership. The original proposal 2.1-57 was presented to the Board Of Directors for a vote in 1966 and was passed 5-1. The award has been presented to editors, publishers, presidents, and others for outstanding achievements every year except 1990 when the then president forgot to ask for nominations.
1966 Bill Nittler
1967 Larry Godwin
1968 Don Erickson
1969 Don Erickson
1970 (2 way tie) Don Erickson, Larry Godwin
1971 Father Jack Pejza
1972 Mike Northam
1973 Percy Kestevan
1974 Bruce Portzer
1975 Grant Manning
1976 Phil Bytheway
1977 John Zondlo
1978 Bill Hardy 1979 (3 way tie) Rick Segalas, Don Kaskey, Mark Connelly
1980 Bob Curtis
1981 Nick Hall-Patch
1982 Nancy Hardy
1983 Bruce Portzer
1984 Ric Heald
1985 Patrick Martin
1986 Robert Wien
1987 Greg Monti
1988 (2 way tie) Karl Zuk, Richard Evans
1989 Ernest R. Cooper
1990 NO AWARD
1991 Bill Hardy
1992 Ralph Sanserino
1993 J. D. Stephens
1994 Nancy Hardy
1995 Lynn Hollerman
1996 Phil Bytheway
1997 Patrick Martin
1998 John C. Johnson
1999 Mike Sanburn
2000 Lee Freshwater
2001 Ralph Sanserino
2002 Nancy Johnson
2003 Rich Toebe
2004 Phil Bytheway
2005 Doug Pifer
2006 Lee Freshwater
2007 Nick Hall-Patch
2008 Patrick Martin
2009 Nancy Johnson
2010 Bill Block
2011 Phil Bytheway
2012 Richard C. Evans
2013 Lee Freshwater
2014 Nich Hall-Patch
2015 Eric Bueneman
2016 Gary DeBock
2017 John C Johnson
2018 Phil Byetheway
2019 (2 way tie) Mark Durenberger, Nancy Johnson
Starting in 1995, the Ric Heald award (RHA) was given at the same time as the TVA.
This award was given to recognize the IRCA member who most benefited the club in a
particularly noteworthy way during the previous year. The winner of the award will
receive a printed certificate. Should the same member win both the TVA and the
Ric Heald Award, he/she will be presented with the TVA, and the runner-up for the
Ric Heald Award will receive the RHA.
1995 JD Stephens
1996 Lee Freshwater
1997 Ralph Sanserino
1998 Nick Hall-Patch
1999 Phil Bytheway
2000 Nancy Johnson
2001 Lynn Hollerman
2002 Rich Toebe
2003 Phil Bytheway
2004 Patrick Martin
2005 Art Blair
2006 Les Rayburn
2007 Lynn Hollerman
2008 Dan Riordian
2009 Gary DeBock
2010 John Bryant (posthumously)
2011 Eric Bueneman
2012 Mike Sanburn
2013 Kraig Krist
2014 Mark Connelly
2015 Phil Bytheway
2016 Ernest J. Wesolowski
2017 Mark Durenberger
2018 Brandon Jordan
2019 (2 way tie) Ken Hawkins, John C Johnson