AJARC Silent Key Memorial

This page is dedicated to AJARC (formerly known as the Greeneville Amateur Radio Club) members who are no longer with us. If you know of someone that was a club member and is not on the list, please contact n4fv at yahoo dot com.


James “Jim” Arrington K4EWE

Paul Basset KD4IMV SK

James M. “Pee Wee” Boles W4VUA SK

Dr. V. R “Doc” Bottomley K4UOA SK

Pete Bowman N1PB SK

Oscar Bradley WA4LYF SK

Chester “Chet” Brent N4TV SK

Lon Brickley W4AFS SK

Robert “Bob” Britton WA4QZO SK

Herrick “Brownie” Brown W4ZZ SK

Ken Carter W4FEP SK

Wayne Collins AE4VC SK

Jack Creed K4EPC SK

Clarence L. “Lee” Crisp Sr W4ANB SK

Virginia Cutshaw KI4GLM SK

Howard Daniels W4ALT SK

Justin Devault W4XW SK

Howard “Wally” Dobson W4AJC (formerly WA4AJC) SK

Werner Dolder AA4IX (formerlyWB4CXL, HB9MJ) SK

Bill Duggan N4SEO (formerly K4MOU) SK

Nute Duggan W4VTI SK

Fred Fellers K4FVC SK

Ken Foster K4GHI SK

Gary Gammon KJ4C SK

Fred Gettings N4HVP SK

Mack Greene K4ARZ SK

Willard “Bill” Griffiths WB4WMR SK

Nancy Hale WD4FOA SK

Jack Harrell WA4BJU SK

Alvin Harrison KR4A SK

Frank Heinis K4JRJ SK

Robert “Burl” Honeycutt KB4VCH SK

Keith Hopson W4WWC SK

Nathaniel “Jonesy” Jones K8DJE SK

Paul “Butch” Johnson WA4LNS SK

John Mangognia WD9GUY SK

Issac Mathews KB4BBM SK

Glenn Ray McCurry (CALL UNKNOWN) SK

Bert McDaniel WD4PLH SK

Dan McLean K4TA (formerly WA4JTI) SK

Everette Moore WB4DPZ SK

Robert Morris N3ID SK

Leslie Ottinger K4VKK SK

Powell Potter WA4CHE SK

Forrest Pride WB4KEG SK

Robert “Bob” Rhea Jr N4SKX SK

Earl Dean Seaton K4NUM SK

Oland K Shrewsbury N4ZOO SK

Ernest Smith KD4IMU SK

Don Turner WA4RFJ SK

Charles Waddle N4ZPG SK

Howard C. Wells WB4NZH SK

Herbert West N4BHS SK

John Woolsey WD4ALT SK

George Wrenn K4ZBF SK

James “Ty” Yokley W4LWC SK

Charles “Cliff” Kayhart W4KKP SK

Robert “Rob” Jordan N4RBJ SK

George Lemnah KG4MSH SK

Doyle Edmondson N4VV SK




Why Are Deceased Amateur Radio Operators Called “Silent Keys” ?

In the early days of radio Morse code was the only way to send and receive messages . A telegraph key was used to send the dots and dashes.  Today some amateur operators use Morse code as it the one of the most dependable means of communicating when all other modes fail.  This especially true if low power is used.  Morse code transmissions are usually called CW which is an abbreviation for “Continuous Wave” tube transmitters that replaced the early spark gap transmitters. A CW transmitter is turned on and off in intervals to correspond with the Morse code dots and dashes.  This sound this makes to the human ear is  “dits” and “dahs” on a receiver.

The pro-sign “SK” or di-di-di-dah-di-dah” as it sounds over the radio is used to designate the last communication of the sending radio station’s transmissions with another station. When an amateur radio operator passes away his station has sent its last transmission therefore his telegraph (Morse code) key has gone silent.

What happens to the FCC Callsign after a ham passes away?

The FCC is supposed to be notified when an amateur passes away and their license will be canceled retroactive to the date they passed away. The callsign can be obtained by a family member, provided they meet the requirements for the class of license for that callsign block during the 2 year waiting period that follows a cancellation. After 2 years and 1 day, the license may be reissued to anyone that qualifies for the callsign that applies for it.

Sometimes the FCC is not notified and the callsign will show as active until the renewal date. After the renewal date, the license will show as expired and then the two year waiting period begins.   You can submit documentation to the fcc If you know a ham has passed away.  They will cancel the license retroactive to the day of death if it shows as active or expired.  If it has been more than 2 years and 1 day since the license was canceled, this will release the callsign for immediate reassignment if you want to apply for it when it shows canceled in the database.

In theory you could submit evidence to the FCC that a licensee was deceased more than 2 years and one day and then submit a request for the callsign to be assigned to you and hope the 18 day waiting period is sufficient time for the FCC to cancel the call before your application is processed. This would give you an advantage.  People watch for the desirable 1×2 and 2×1 callsigns  to become available.  There are usually a lot of applicants and the issuance is by a lottery system based on the earliest day of qualifying applications. If your submission date was before everyone elses, you are given first preference and assured of being assigned the callsign. However, if your application is processed before the call is canceled, you would be denied.