Net began with a group of seven amateurs on 160 Meters on Wednesday May 1, 1979,
on 1815 KHz. It was formed to promote 160 Meter operation; and form friendships
between amateurs using the band; and to provide technical assistance for newcomers
or old hands alike to 160. Also to encourage operation on 160 Meters on a regular
basis throughout the year to help thwart FCC attempts to re-assign the lower
part of the band (up to 1860 KHz) to AM Broadcast band use, due to under utilization
by the Amateur service; (Sound familiar?) at W.A.R.C. 79. At that time; Amateur
stations in the US and Canada had maximum use of and privileges, on frequencies
in the 1800 to 1825 KHz range. Stations had more severe limitations; or were
not authorized operation at all; on frequencies between 1825 and 2000 KHz, due
to operation of LORAN A Radiolocation. In the years between 1979 and 1982, US
limitations between 1825 and 2000 KHz were greatly eased; but Canadian stations
(who made up 15 - 20 % of Net Check ins) were still under more severe
limitations, or prohibitions on operations between 1825 and 2000 KHz, by DOC.
The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter began in July 1979. It emphasized 160 Meter activities and general concerns and news of interest to the Amateur Radio Community. With adoption of the ARRL Band plan in January 1982, and after much consideration with Net regulars and others in HAM radio, the decision was made around the beginning of February; to move to 1860 KHz. The FCC had opened 1800 to 1900 KHz, (Primary Allocation) for full time, full power operation by mainland US Amateur stations; and Canadian stations also enjoyed new greatly increased authorizations below 1875 KHz, on a full time basis. Also the ARRL. Band Plan stipulated all scheduled phone operations be assigned frequencies between 1855 and 2000 KHz. These, plus several technical considerations led us to select 1860 KHz for the new net frequency. Extensive monitoring of the band afternoons and evenings revealed no existing scheduled operation on this frequency. On April 14, 1982 The Gateway 160 Meter Net began operation on the new frequency of 1860 KHz.
As mentioned earlier, The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter began during the Net in July 1979. Originally all items were read live from ARRL. and other sources. In September 1986, one of our regular Net members suggested that we also carry "The Westlink Amateur Network" for weekly ten minute newscasts. His local 2 Meter repeater had been carying Westlink for some time; but when traveling out of town on business or vacation, he missed being able to hear the service. With our Net coverage area from WA0RCR of 42 States and 6 Canadian Provinces, the Net was a natural to provide wide area nighttime coverage of this fine service. Westlink News was added in October 1986, to supplement our Gateway 160 Meter Net Radio Newsletter on Wednesday nights. Around January 1987, it was suggested that the Net provide Westlink News Network at other times also, so that those who were not able to hear it on the Net could still catch the service at other times, propagation permitting. This allowed HAM's working second shift; Wednesday meetings; Church Choir practice; etc., to keep informed. After consideration, Westlink was aired on a schedule of 9 times a week; various times of the day as a service of the Gateway 160 Meter Net. In December of 1987, a new amateur radio information network service "The BEAR Information Service" (later changed in 1988 to the "Radio Amateur Information Network", or RAIN) was added to the nine weekly information bulletins on 1860 KHz. The service was called "Ham News" until mid 1989 when the name was changed to "The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter" to link it in listeners minds with The Gateway 160 Meter Net. The bulletin schedule was fine tuned several times to provide the greatest service to the Amateur Community, while fitting into a weekly timetable that myself, and two other control operators could provide.
In April 1992, a satellite receiving system was installed; to allow receiving and airing of "Amateur Radio Weekly" from Los Angeles; (with a change in ownership in 1994; now known as "This Week In Amateur Radio") and "The Houston AMSAT Net;" both on the old "Let's Talk Radio Network." This allowed real time airing of nationwide amateur radio programming; without relying on long distance phone lines or multi-port Teleconference Bridge Networks; fed through phone hybrids, as in the past. The phone line charges used to run over $ 26 for a two hour program, on a weekend. During many satellite networks beginning and then dying, The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter has continued to follow and carry these two excellent services. During times when no satellite distribution was available; these services would continue; fed by long distance phone line, to station WA0RCR. Amateurs could then listen directly; or feed the received audio to a local simplex or repeater frequency, for local distribution. Between 1989 and 1995; WA0RCR carried the IARN (International Amateur Radio Network) bulletin service 3 times a week, as a stand alone service, on 160 Meters. About this time, we began carrying St. Louis Amateur Radio Newsline; with news and classes/exam sessions from round the St. Louis, Missouri regional area. We have always carried Hamfest and Convention announcements; from around the nation; sent to the station for airing. These will soon be added to our Web Site, as well. The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter carried the launch of the Micro Sats and several space launches by phone line and satellite. In September 1996, due to job changes (I had started my own trucking company in November 1995); I was forced to discontinue "The Gateway 160 Meter Net" on Wednesday nights. The last net was called on September 25, 1996. With sadness I announced that I could no longer meet business commitments and continue as Net Manager and regular NCS. I announced that the Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter would continue on Saturday Afternoon and Evening. Programming not occurring live on Saturday would be tape recorded for Saturday airing. This would be a full service bulletin, with all of the regular bulletin programming airing back to back all Saturday afternoon and evening. In addition, we occasionally carry special live programming, such as The AMSAT Symposium, which aired all Friday and Saturday 9am to 6pm, last October These special services will be announced on air and through our Web site, in the future. Myself; my XYL Dottie, KG0VN; and Bob KA0TVO handle programimg; production; taping; and Control Operator duties at WA0RCR. Bringing you The Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter on a reliable basis. (I am always looking for a couple more local radio amateurs, to assist in control operator duties. Of course, control OP's must hold at least a General Class Amateur Operator license.)
This service continues to this day, 29 years after it's inception; on Saturdays from before 1pm Central until after 2 am Sunday morning on 1860 KHz.