CQ columnist Fred Maia, W5YI, SK
CQ columnist Fred Maia, W5YI, a leading amateur radio journalist, educator and pioneer of volunteer examining, passed away on March 28 after a battle with cancer.
Maia, 76, published "The W5YI Report," dubbed "America's Oldest Ham Radio Newsletter," from 1978 to 2003, and has been a CQ contributing editor since 1985. His regulatory affairs column, first titled "Ticket Talk," then "Washington Readout," offered news and perspective on FCC and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) actions, and helped untold numbers of hams wend their way through often-confusing mazes of the volunteer examining and vanity call sign systems.
"Fred was one of those unusual people who was more focused on doing the job than he was on getting credit for doing it," noted CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA. "His 'job' was to help this hobby grow, and he succeeded admirably."
Maia was also a driving force in amateur and commercial radio licensing and education materials since late 1970. He was the first Volunteer Examiner Coordinator appointed by the Federal Communications Commission in 1984, and his W5YI-VEC group grew into the nation's second-largest VEC after the ARRL. Fred served as President of the W5YI-VEC until his retirement in October of 2000. In 1986, he founded The W5YI Group to develop, publish and sell amateur and commercial radio license study materials. Fred also formed National Radio Examiners to provide examination services as a Commercial Operator License Examination Manager (COLEM), and co-wrote a commercial radio licensing study manual with Gordon West, WB6NOA.
As a longtime member of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) and its Question Pool Committee (QPC), which develops and maintains the question pools for amateur radio license exams, Fred was deeply involved in many of the changes in amateur radio licensing over the past quarter century. This includes the phased elimination of Morse code requirements for amateur licenses and the current system of three license classes, Technician, General and Amateur Extra.
A resident of Arlington, Texas, Fred was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Radio Operatorís School, and was first licensed as an amateur radio operator as a teenager in Rhode Island, where he grew up. He is survived by his wife, Doris, and two daughters. A memorial service will be held, 3:00pm, Saturday March 31, 2012 at Moore Funeral Home, 1219 North Davis Dr. ,Arlington, TX 76012.
Sad... I just worked him on Mar.18th 7027khz. R.I.P. Fred - W5YI SK CL dit dit
. (peakin' & dippin' since 1961)
- VWOA.org - Fists #15529 - SKCC #7327 - NAQCC #6496... ex CW operator WLO / KLB - retired Fed. Gov't.
Fred's passing comes with a deep sense of loss to all of us at QRZ. Our dearest condolences go out to his family.
Fred was a great pioneer in our hobby, and will be deeply missed.
I did have one photo in my archive with Fred (center), Gordon West (left), and a friend at Dayton, 2003
I met Fred at Hamcom and used to subscribe to The W5YI Report. He will be missed.
Few people will ever do as much to build the service.
Fred lived here in Richardson, Texas, for a number of years. He got started in the commercial side of amateur radio by setting up a printing press in his garage and printing QSL cards. At the time, he was a sales representative for a firm producing things like plastic flowers. As a gimmick, he even tried producing plastic QSL cards in the shape of the State of Texas and of the contiguous 48 states. For samples, he used the call signs of several members of the Richardson Wireless Klub (K5RWK) including my then W5UOJ call. I still have examples of these.
Fred was deathly afraid of heights, he usually would not even set foot on a ladder. In the early 1970s, he got a Spaulding self-supporting tower and a Mosley TA-33. However, he would not even think of trying to erect the tower and installing the rotor and antenna! That task was accomplished by his wife Doris and me! She put on a climbing belt and we both worked on the tower until everything was in place. Fred would tie various thing to a "tag line" and pull them up to us. A tool was dropped and landed on the roof. We were finally able to convince Fred to climb the ladder and retrieve the tool. He later said that he closed his eyes when on the ladder and squinted when he was on the roof.
After about a decade, he moved to the other side of Dallas to Arlington.
He helped me get my vanity call. Back then, it was worth the few bucks he charged. IIRC, I even got to talk to him on the phone.
RIP, Fred. And thanks.
"The best number is 73. Why? 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror (37) is the 12th and its mirror (21) is the product of multiplying, 7 and 3. ... In binary, 73 is a palindrome, 1001001 which backwards is 1001001."
-Dr. Sheldon Cooper, (Jim Parsons), "Big Bang Theory"
"Just to invite your attention to "73" in Morse code--also a palindrome."
Condolences to the family. R.I.P.
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Damn shame. Really nice fellow. RIP OM!
Fred was a great guy and helped me find a good vanity call before things changed. He was very nice and most helpful.
Fred will be missed by many amateurs he had contact with.
Condolances to his family from Gulf Amateur Radio Society (GARS), W4FFC (Club Call
sign), Port St. Joe, Fl