Who was KB5A? Founding member, Bob Linker, W5SQA, explains:
In the early 90s the club was floundering with membership of about 24 and meeting attendance of 6 or 8. We were meeting in the back room of Marshall’s BBQ in those days. One of our long talked about actions was to get the call KB5A assigned to the Club. This was the call sign of John Oliver, one of the founders of the club.
John had been dead for a couple of years but the FCC had never been notified. One member thought that his widow had given permission for the Club to have his call. We were finally able to find that person and eventually, he delivered the letter from the widow and a copy of the death certificate.
This was an era in ham radio when there was a lot of vanity call activity. We felt that if the FCC were notified, the call would be lost. How to tie our application for the call to the fact that KB5A would be up for grabs was a challenge.
After conversations with ARRL, they did not have a solution to assure us of getting the call. I then contacted the W5YI Group and explained the situation to them. They explained that each morning the FCC publishes the list of calls available on the Internet, and then of course, it is a rush to apply for what you want. I told them I could not take a risk and did not want any other call. They agreed to take my application, with a fee, and file it electronically as soon as KB5A was posted as available. I was unable to do this myself, as I was working and traveling.
We then sent the death notice to the FCC to make the notification official. Days went by slowly as I waited for a response from W5YI. Finally, the phone rang and W5YI said the call appeared early that morning and they immediately filed my application and we got the call. I was the first trustee of KB5A and it was a real relief to have accomplished this.
MARS has come a long way since then and all of you are to be congratulated. KB5A is a great Field Day or contest call. It also has some relevance to the birth of the Club.
Bob Linker W5SQA
August 8, 2006