So you’re wondering why anyone would put up a web site dealing with silent keys. Silent keys for those of you who don’t know are amateur radio operators who have passed away.
Most of the time silent keys callsigns are displayed with the call signs in front of their names. Many will give out the call and add SK to the end, no matter how one does it the message is clear.
Some may wonder why the use of the term “key” when most (but not all) of today’s amateur radio communications are carried out via voice or computer-controlled modes. The key is such a iconic part of amateur radio that everyone understands the reference.
Back to the site now. Some years ago I was asked to handle the radio related estate of my dear friend Ray Forrester, K4RRF. Never before had I done such a project and I was ill-equipped to do so. Ray was a Dx’er and had a TennadyneT6 log periodic antenna on top of forty feet of Rohn 25 tower.
Along with this he had a small VHF vertical on a stand-off mount as well as a 160Meter inverted-L antenna. His wife was worried about living alone with the tower still up due to the high number of lightning storms here in central Florida.
That was one part of the project, the next was the removal of all his ham gear. He had several HF rigs, an Icom IC-718 and several Ten-Tec radios including the Omni VII. What you don’t see in this picture is a closet almost full of radios, gear, wiring and other items we amateurs are known for collecting. Once I had everything packed into my Chevy Blazer it was completely full.
Selling the antenna and tower wasn’t so bad. I decided to give the tower away if someone would take it down. Had a couple who wanted the tower but they wanted the log periodic and everything else as well. I finally found A1 Towers who came and took it down as a service to the widow. They hauled the tower away and I sold the T6.
Selling the gear was a chore. You know how cheap hams are. And then you hear the tired arguments:
- “The radios won’t do the widow any good.”
- “What’s the ham’s price for [insert item here]?”
- “Help us out with a donation of gear.” (Most of these are resellers looking to steal the gear).
I knew of a couple others who went through this process so I thought I might throw a site together with some resources on it to help the families of SK’s and even those who are still operating.
Contributions: If you have some tips on estate planning, station disposal or anything else pertaining to silent keys I would be happy to post it here. Not money in it but your information might help others. You’ll find my email address here: KK3Q.