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A History of SASWA

By Dillon Hollister


SASWA - then it was just SAWA as the printer had left the second 'S' off the logo - was founded in the backroom of Bill's Bar & Slovenian Hamburger Inn in Intercourse, PA sometime during the week of August 7-13, 1963. Unfortunately, the exact activities that went on in that room that lead to the foundation of SASWA will never be known. Nor will how the five founding members woke up on the morning of August 14, 1963 on a sidewalk in Happy Jack, Arizona with an edition of the SASWA by-laws and 50,000 copies of the August, 1963 edition of BLANDX.

After those first 50,000 copies sold out at the local newstand in two days (possibly due to the accidental enclosure of a counterfeit $100 bill in each one), it was decided to continue the club on a somewhat more legal basis. Founding member George Le Bouton agree to take on duties as publisher/editor/secretary/treasurer. So, a few nights later George and his wife hit a local business supply store for a mimeo machine and some much needed cash. The September, 1963 edition of BLANDX was printed in Intercourse, PA. BLANDX back then scarcely resembled today's "magazine". It was not full of boring DX information and grossly inaccurate loggings, but rather contained girlie pictures and a sci-fi story or two. The girlie pictures had to be dropped after the police raided Le Bouton's home.

In February, 1965 it cost the then 595 members $3.27/year for membership. The club's headquarters, as described by Le Bouton, was a twelve room penthouse suite with a very large terrace and the club had a staff of forty-eight beautiful secretaries. Needless to say, Le Bouton was a notorious liar.

It was during the following six months that several of today's columns were added to BLANDX, e.g. "Shortwave Central", "Scorebored", and "Important Filler".

Inter-club squabbling had always been a concern in the hobby. Therefore in January, 1966, SASWA announced the formation of a friendship committee under the direction of Luigi Locatelli. Unfortunately, soon after that the editors and publishers of many competing clubs mysteriously disappeared, but at least SASWA's membership totals climbed higher and higher. This caused Le Bouton to observe, "We must see eye to eye while we are standing back to back." As usual, Le Bouton had been drinking heavily when he said that.

Taking low-blows at other members was obtaining an even greater emphasis at SASWA. The need for more space for snide remarks and witty statements about the morality of other DXers' sisters caused the club to drop MW coverage in June, 1966. This made SASWA the world's first all-SWBC club with a member in Weed, New Mexico.

December, 1966 brought the debut of a character who would become hated by thousands: Charlie el Notoub. El Notoub was a gossip columnist with a vivid imagination and a staff of skilled photographers. Although he destroyed the reputations and marraiges of several dozen DXers, BLANDX continues to print his valueless, trashy material for reasons unknown. El Notoub never revealed his true identity, and several members wasted the most productive periods of their lives attempting to figure out who he really was.

The year 1967 brought several changes to the club. Le Bouton began mailing the bulletins, eliminating the need for members to fly to Intercourse, PA each month to pick up their copy. Log report began using actual member loggings, instead of the editors' imagination, WRTH, and local phonebook. Finally the membership fee was doubled to $6.54 a year after another libel suit. And of course in December, 1987 the club celebrated four years and five months of existence.

As it was, 1968 was the most quiet year in the club's history. Le Bouton joined AA and the bulletins actually began to appear on a regular basis. Also a new feature edited by Oregon DXer John Smith (not his real name) was added - "The Flasher Sheet". As some confusion over the column's purpose soon arose, the column's name was soon changed to "Hot DX-type Stuff" and a new editor found. In general, the improved BLANDX of 1968 was the result of Le Bouton's plagarizing bulletins of major European DX clubs.

In 1969 Le Bouton reported that Radio Moscow had contracted the club to assist them in seeking out a North American member who could supply a monthly taped DX segment as well as selected vital US defense secrets. BLANDX was proud when member Col. William Breese was accepted and approved upon recommendation of the SASWA BoD.

Le Bouton was well known for his very frank statements, some of which are believed to have caused his wife's suicide in May, 1969. In June, 1969 a somewhat more introspective Le Bouton wrote, "In the days after I gone, let it be remembered that SASWA was once run by a megalomaniac who wanted nothing more than to squeeze others dry for every drop of power or money he could get."

Membership finally passed the 2500 mark in January, 1970. However, a shortage of editors led to the establishment of an editorial draft lottery among the membership. A small proportion of those drafted to be editors swam across the border to the Bahamas, but most served willingly after Le Bouton arranged to have their QSL collections held hostage. In February Log Report changed from listing loggings in alphabetical order by country's dictator's middle name to a numerical approach, listing by a country's GNP in 1947.

Then in November, 1971 Le Bouton absconded with the club's finances and went to Uganda where he became a cabinet member for Idi Amin. (In September, 1972, he disappeared without a trace following a coup attempt. However, in 1974 he was reportedly seen in Oruro, Bolivia.) Fortunately a committee was formed by members Sven Gonzalez, Hank Borington, and Paul Fremus, who were able to get SASWA back on its feet again and even make a tidy profit for themselves by raising dues to $10.57 a year. Another major change made by the committee was the elimination of the editorial draft lottery. Without Le Bouton to spread viscious rumors about the editors' manhoods, as well as their mothers and girlfriends, many members were willing to volunteer to serve the club. In 1972 several additions were made to the BLANDX staff as Dr. Phillip Simpson and Bill Kyle joined Log Report and Clay Hastings joined Roll Out! Club HQ was moved to Glad Valley, SD when Hank Borington took over all administrative duties.


The above article appeared in the 1987 edition of BLANDX, the DX bulletin parody magazine. More information about BLANDX is available from Don Moore.

What were once vices are now good DXing habits. (BLANDX 1990)


This website is maintained by Don Moore,
Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995

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