ARRL Sweepstakes Manager Ken Adams, K5KA (SK)
Ken Adams, K5KA, succumbed to cancer and passed away on Sunday, November 22. He was 64. Adams, an ARRL Life Member, served as the first-ever Contest Manager for the ARRL Sweepstakes, coming on board in 2005. "Ken was a 'get it done' kinda guy," recalled ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "He took on the task of Sweepstakes Manager with great enthusiasm, rolled up his sleeves and championed the event like nobody else I've ever seen."
QST Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, said that Ken "gave back to the contest community in many ways, mentoring and hosting contesters at his superb Bartlesville, Oklahoma station. His main interest being domestic contests, the station layout and antenna farm were optimized for operating events such as Sweepstakes and the North American QSO Parties. As a result, you can find K5KA in the top ranks of many recent contest results."
Silver told the ARRL that the goal of having a Sweepstakes Manager was twofold: "To experiment with the idea of having a dedicated contest manager -- Ken satisfied both senses of the word -- and to promote activity in Sweepstakes. As one can see from the scores and participation in the past few years, this was a successful experiment, one from which all contest sponsors and participants can learn. Those fortunate enough to work Ken on-the-air or on any project appreciated his direct, no-BS, common-sense approach to whatever topic happened to be on the agenda."
Jerry Chouinard, K5YAA, of Claremore, Oklahoma, said that even though Adams had been undergoing chemotherapy for some time, he continued to be in good spirits this past year, operating the ARRL Sweepstakes CW Contest last month in the Multi/Single category with his friend Steve Merchant, K6AW. "He and Steve had operated HC8N in the Galapagos Islands quite a number of times together," Chouinard said. "Ken was well known around the country for his work on the Sweepstakes as the Contest Manager for the past couple of years and for his efforts at building and maintaining one of the top domestic contest stations in the country. His station regularly won the North American QSO Party Multi/Single category and I was privileged to be part of the operating team quite a number of times."
Silver remembered that whenever Adams set his mind to getting something done, it got done: "This year, he was determined to make the trip to the Dayton Hamvention. Even fighting a serious illness, he made the long road trip in the company of long-time friends Ralph "Gator" Bowen, N5RZ, and Steve London, N2IC. On Saturday morning at the Contest Forum, he handed out the crystal gavels for the 75th running of the ARRL Sweepstakes. Later that evening at the Contest Dinner, he shared the fun with a host of other close friends."
In September, operators from around the country came to Bartlesville to help Adams dismantle one of his two towers and reorganize the beams on the first tower. "Dan Street, K1TO, came from Florida, Tree Tyree, N6TR, came from Oregon, Trey Garlough, N5KO, came from California, Ralph Bowen, N5RZ, came from Texas and Tim Duffy, K3LR, came from Oklahoma," recalled Chouinard. "All of us, including myself, had a fine weekend at Ken's place. He had a long list of items to get done and most were accomplished by late Saturday. I remember he was quite pleased to have so many folks travel such distances to help him wind down his station. I believe the reason they came was to help their long time friend with his wishes. I know that is why I went to his place that weekend."
According to Bowen, Adams will be cremated and there will be no formal service. "However," Bowen said, "Ken has told me repeatedly that when the antennas come down, he wants us to have a big BBQ -- a celebration."
Kutzko said that Sweepstakes was Adams' favorite contest: "I worked him just two weeks ago in the CW Sweeps. He was responsible for the resurrection and funding of the Clean Sweep brooms and magnets we did last year for the 75th Sweepstakes. If you earned a broom or magnet last year, you have Ken to thank. It was somehow appropriate that I learned of his passing on the air, during a Sweepstakes QSO. He was a good man and will be sorely missed." -- Thanks to the following radio amateurs for information: Tim Duffy, K3LR; Jerry Chouinard, K5YAA; Sean Kutzko, KX9X; Trey Garlough, N5KO; Ralph Bowen, N5RZ; Ward Silver, N0AX, and Dave Patton, NN1N