After a number of years meeting with the Speedway about the possibility of operating a special event station during the Indy 500, the owner of The Saturday Evening Post and club member Beurt SerVaas – W9WVO (SK – 2014) met with Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George in April 2004, and on May 25, 2004, W9IMS became the Official Amateur Radio Club of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — the first time in history that a ham radio club had received this designation.
W9IMS conducts special event operations for all three races that make up the Triple Crown on Indy’s legendary 2-1/2-mile oval – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These events are the Indianapolis 500 (and the new Grand Prix of Indianapolis), the Brickyard 400, and the Indianapolis MotoGP. Unfortunately, the United States Grand Prix was only run from 2000-2007.
In 2005 we had a special guest in the shack. Mike King, the chief announcer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and the voice of all IndyCar Series events, stopped by and talked with hams around the world. Those lucky hams also got their QSL cards signed by Mike.
In addition, Mike King mentioned W9IMS on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network during the live worldwide broadcast of the Indy 500!
We also did an interview with 2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon!
In 2006 we had a guest op for the 90th running of the Indy 500. Nine year old YL Extra Amanda Feriante and her family of hams from California visited us and worked stations from W9IMS!
One of our members, Brian D. Smith, W9IND, wrote an article which was published in the November 2007 QST about our Indy 500 Special Event titled “Girl Meets Brickyard – A Ham Radio Adventure.”
It was announced that the 2007 USGP would be the last one run at the Brickyard. That makes those USGP QSL cards you have quite collectable!
On the plus side, the inaugural running of the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP race was announced! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has now come full circle because the first land-based vehicle race held there *was* a motorcycle race on August 14, 1909!
On May 24, 2008, as a special “event within an event,” we staged our first-ever Chick Factor Night during our annual Indianapolis 500 operation. Only YLs were allowed on the air during this three-hour effort, and we amassed hundreds of QSOs while demonstrating the power of the Chick Factor. This event helped launch our new YL-only club,Chick Factor International (W9YL).
We also celebrated the Inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP race! The last motorcycle race held at the IMS was in 1909! It was a great event and the stands were packed even though it was raining.
In 2009 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the construction of the track, we made a separate Centennial QSL card which was included with every QSL card we sent that year.
2011 was a sad time for our club. Our benefactor, Mike Koss – W9SU, died and we lost our club station. Thanks to the generosity of two of our members, Jay Kraus – W9TC and Tom Chance – K9XV, the club is now running from their stations.
2013 was the first year we worked remotely. Thanks to Jay Kraus – W9TC, Jim Rinehart – K9RU, and David Spoelstra – N9KT for making that happen.
In 2014 we set our all-time QSL record with 18,255 QSOs during the four races.
W9IMS uses Icom 756 Pro 3s and an Icom 7700 with a variety of commercial amplifiers. Our towers range from 110 feet to 200 feet. There are monobanders on 40m, 20m, and 10m and dipoles at 150 feet for 80m and 200 feet for 160m and a WARC dual bander at 110 feet. We use the excellent freeware programs N1MM and XMLog to log all our contacts. We run N1MM networked across the Internet to both operating locations. UX5UO does does a beautiful job on ALL our QSL and Certificate printing.
-Bill Kennedy, WY9T
Trustee, Indianapolis Motor Speedway ARC
Do NOT send your QSLs to WY9T. Follow the directions above!
W9IMS will operate on or near: 1.840, 3.840, 7.240, 10.140, 14.070 PSK31, 14.245, 18.140, 21.350, 28.340, 50.140, 144.205, 144.240 SSB and 146.52 simplex FM. Watch for spots at sites such as DX Summit.