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Fred Maia, W5YI (SK)


 The holder of one of the best-known US Amateur Radio call signs, Frederick (Fred) Maia, W5YI, died of cancer Wednesday, March 28. He was 76 and was a resident of Arlington, Texas.

Fred was a leading Amateur Radio journalist for nearly 35 years and a pioneer of the volunteer examining program adopted by the FCC in 1984.

Maia 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 Regulations and ITU actions. His final column will appear in the May 2012 issue of CQ.

After the FCC adopted volunteer examining for all levels of Amateur Radio licensing in 1984, Fred became the first Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) appointed by the FCC. Fred subsequently founded The W5YI Group in 1986 to develop, publish and sell amateur and commercial radio license study materials. In the realm of FCC commercial radio licensing, Fred formed National Radio Examiners to provide examination services.

Maia served as President of the W5YI-VEC until his retirement in October of 2000 when he sold The W5YI Group study material products to Master Publishing, Inc. The retail operations were purchased by General Manager Larry Pollock, NB5X, newly appointed President of the W5YI-VEC and National Radio Examiners organizations. Maia continued writing “The W5YI Report” newsletter until July 2003.

A graduate of the US Air Force Radio Operators School, Fred was an avid CW operator. He was first licensed as a teenager as W1NTK in Brockton, Massachusetts, where he grew up. Maia was later licensed as W5UTT, and held DXCC CW awards and EU-PX-A CW. He was a member of QCWA and Life Member of the ARRL. 

For several decades, Maia also served on the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) as a member of the Question Pool Committee that oversees the development and maintenance of the Amateur Radio license examination question pools.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, commented: “Amateur Radio is healthier today because of the tireless efforts of Fred Maia. While Fred did not always see things quite the same way as the ARRL, in my experience he always had the best interests of Amateur Radio at heart. He was a major figure who will be sorely missed.”

He is survived by his wife, Doris, and two daughters. A memorial service will be held at 3 PM, Saturday, March 31, at Moore Funeral Home, 1219 North Davis Dr, Arlington, TX 76012.

--Thanks to Larry Pollock, NB5X, W5YI-VEC



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