It started with the passing of Stan Sears, W2PQG - SK, (whose callsign
still rings over the air on the 10-70 repeaters) - on August 18, 2008 (the
strange thing about that was, his passing was the day before, what would have been Andy Birmingham – WB2RQX 61st Birthday). This was an event we all knew we would have to address some day, but as always with these things, it seemed to happen far too early.
To give a little history, back in the early 1990’s Andy Birmingham WB2RQX - SK, as President, and Stan as Vice President, along with the rest of the Board, all agreed that they would like to apply for a club call sign, to have available for use on the repeaters, if the un-thinkable should happen. At the same time, it was agreed by all the members who served on the board at that time, that the W2PQG callsign should stay on the 3 repeaters to honor Stan, as long as he was alive. Stan was, for all practical purposes, “Mr. 10-70”. His booming “Be There”, voice was known far and wide and that phrase was adopted by 10-70 as one of our favorites.
On a personal note, Howie says: “Having worked with Stan as one of the 10-70 Technical Committee members, I can tell you, that this was one good man.” “His obit and the eulogies (see www.w2pqg.org for these); can only go so far in capturing the essence and the joy of Stan.”
So, when Stan passed away this past summer, we had moral, ethical and legal issues to deal with as far as the callsign “W2PQG”, particularly in regard to its continued use as the legal ID on the repeaters. Luckily (and just as Andy and Stan had planned back then), we had an instant, interim solution, which was to ‘load’ N2SE/R into the 2-meter Repeater’s Controller. (Thanks to George, KC2GLG, this was accomplished quickly and efficiently thru digital means.) The 220MHz and 440MHz repeaters were temporarily taken off the air, with the thought being, that they would quickly return on air, still identifying as W2PQG/R, as soon as legally possible.
While N2SE/R is a nice call sign, it just didn’t sound right on a repeater that had for so many years identified as W2PQG/R. Most fortunately, Stan had good and loyal friends, many in good places, who along with his daughter Carol, WB7CUF, knew of Stan’s desire to have the callsign W2PQG remain associated with 10-70.
This is where I, Joyce – KA2ANF come in – I was on vacation when Stan passed away. I felt very bad about that. It seems as though every time I take a vacation, someone passes away. I hadn’t seen Stan since Christmas and I felt very guilty. He lived for our visits with each other…and we talked about the good ole days – and Vivian, the love of his life and of course, his buddy, Andy and his cat Bud.
A few days, after Stan passed away, Carol called me from Arizona. We discussed a great many things, but the one thing that she made really clear, was that she wanted Stan’s callsign to remain on the repeaters forever. We discussed the fact that she was not as active in Ham Radio these last few years and that since none of her sons were licensed hams, she felt it inappropriate that she or anyone in her immediate family should take over ownership of the callsign W2PQG. So I explained to her, that in order to keep the callsign on the repeater, it had to be taken either by a person, or by an entity, with the callsign assigned to a trustee. This eased her mind and immediately she asked me, if it was possible, would I take the callsign. She knew how much Stan loved me and loved Andy and the girls, and thought it fitting that the Birmingham’s be the ones to have the honor of W2PQG. Well, that is quite an honor to be asked to do something that I knew would honor the man who was always so precious to the entire Birmingham family.
After discussion with George, KC2GLG, it became very clear that we as a group, Stan’s Family, The Birmingham’s and a Sabbi, all wanted to do more than just move a callsign to someone else. We not only wanted to honor Stan, we also wanted to keep the callsign W2PQG associated with the 10-70 Repeater Association and most importantly, keep it associated with Stan Sears. We decided the best way to accomplish all of this was to form an Amateur Radio Club in his memory. I contacted Maria – AB1FM, in the ARRL VEC Office to get some clear direction on how to go about forming the club and getting W2PQG assigned, as it’s official FCC issued club callsign.
Within days of receiving information from the ARRL/VEC, we started the paperwork process. This included Carol’s statement, needed to facilitate a timely transfer of the callsign without the several years of waiting, as would be normal with the re-assignment of Silent Key callsigns. Out of the long friendship between Joyce, her family and Stan, along with Carol and others, we now had a plan to fulfill the desire to keep the memory of W2PQG alive. With that the Stan Sears Memorial Amateur Radio Club was formed. This provided the means to launch W2PQG once again. The actual agreement to reinstate W2PQG/R as the id on the repeaters’ of the 10-70 Repeater Association, Inc. was made in late 2008.
So, today, and for the foreseeable future, the Trustee of the W2PQG callsign is Joyce Birmingham, KA2ANF. Plans are in place to continue the trusteeship of the callsign W2PQG within the Stan Sears Memorial Amateur Radio Club and the Birmingham family well into the future.
Therefore, 10-70, in a formal agreement with the Stan Sears Memorial Amateur Radio Club, has agreed to use the callsign – W2PQG/R, in perpetuity, as the legal identifier on the club’s repeater system. 10-70 maintains the legal as well as operational control of their repeater system which all agree will identify using the W2PQG callsign. This agreement was entered into freely by all parties concerned, and to be sure, is certainly in the best interests of the NNJ Amateur Radio Community. In addition to the agreements directly connected with the callsign W2PQG, the Stan Sears Memorial Amateur Radio Club (www.w2pqg.org) agreed in early 2009, to affiliate with the 10-70 Repeater Association, Inc. for the mutual benefit of each organization.
So, there you have it, the “cat” is finally out of the bag. “W2PQG” will live on, as it should.
There is a very big PS to this story. When the need for the callsign changeover, as noted above, took place, there were also some additional issues with the repeater controllers. George, KC2GLG, who just happened to have been instrumental in setting up the current controllers when they were placed online several years ago, helped out once again in a BIG way by digitally reprogramming the controllers, first as N2SE/R and then back to W2PQG/R. He also performed some much needed maintenance and upkeep. We (especially yours truly, WB2AWQ) thank you very much George!
The FCC ULS Listing for W2PQG -
The Stan Sears Memorial Amateur Radio Club is available here