N5UWY’s Brief and Somewhat Incomplete History of the Amateur Radio Club of the University of Arkansas

Professor (and later Dean) William N. Gladson conducts experiments with “wireless telegraphy”.

Wireless station constructed at U of A (Washington Co. Historical Society).

United States government, through the Department of Commerce, begin licensing radio stations.

An issue of Arkansas Engineer mentions the formation of a wireless club. No names are given and no corroborating evidence has been found to date.

Reference to “Special Land Station” at Fayetteville in Department of Commerce station list (Poindexter, Wash Co. Hist. Soc.). No call sign mentioned.

Reference to “Special Land Station” at Fayetteville with call sign 5YM in Department of Commerce station list according to Poindexter. Station is authorized for 200-400 m wavelength. Both 9YM and 5YM listed in Bureau of Navigation “Radio Service Bulletins” April and June numbers, respectively.

April: President Woodrow Wilson shuts radio down as part of the War Effort, orders stations to be dismantled and stored.

October: Citizens once again allowed to use the airwaves. Engineering students William Teague, Russel Jourden, Miles Sharp, and Loy Barton work with “Spark Set”. Barton later invents Class B Modulation and is instrumental in setting up and running the University’s broadcast station.

June 4: University granted license as a “technical and training school” station, call sign 5YM. Authorized for 600 m. (Copy of this license in ARCUA archives.)


December: KFMQ, the University’s broadcast station is licensed, goes on-air January 1924. WOK (“Worker of Kilowatts”) in Pine Bluff is state’s first broadcast station, 1922.

The College of Engineering, indeed the whole University, is preoccupied with broadcast radio, and it is unclear whether there was any Amateur activity during this period. During the late ’20s, Loy Barton does his pioneering work on the Class B system of modulation. In 1930, he goes on to RCA in Camden, NJ where he is awarded over 100 patents during his career.

KFMQ becomes KUOA. Later, during the Great Depression the station is sold and moved off campus.

A Class B Modulation Amplifier, based on Barton’s research is built as a class project.

Amateur Radio Station W5YM built using the Class of ’31’s amplifier. Frank Davis (then W5CR) and Bill Stewart (later K6HV) are instrumental in setting up the station and continue to operate it through about 1934. Logs for this period have been discovered, but to date, only two QSL cards have been found. November: Davis writes an article in Arkansas Engineer detailing station’s equipment. In the same issue, Davis pens letter to the editor urging more Engineering students become operators of W5YM.

Both Davis and Stewart go on to Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa after graduating. Davis becomes Chief Engineer, while Stewart becomes Sales Manager.

A search of Callbooks by QCWA shows that we were licenced as W5JNI in 1941. Amateur Radio is again shut down from 1941-1945. No logs or other documents have been found for the period from 1935 to 1951.

W5JNI is the station’s call sign and it is located in the present Ozark hall, then known as the Business Administration building. This call retained until 1951 when W5YM is restored.

RTTY is a popular mode with traffic handling being the activity of choice. It has been reported that a military surplus BC610 was the main transmitter, however Jim Haynes, W6JVE, reports that between 1955-1960 the transmitter was a BC-325 (a forerunner of the BC-610). Station logs pick up again in 1951 using call sign W5YM. Dr. Walton W. Cannon, W5VKE, is trustee and faculty advisor.

Jim, W6JVE, also reports that “some time prior to my arrival the station was moved to the Electronics Lab on the 3rd floor of the old Engineering Building.  There was room for hams to bring in their personal construction/repair projects and take advantage of the lab facilities.  This was the nicest home the station ever had, until the present location. Then in the fall of 1959 the station was evicted and relocated to a cramped space above the switchboard in the Power Lab.  (It appears that this was the club’s home until the move in 1965.)

Club becomes an ARRL Affiliated Club.

Leo Michaelis W5WHU is president. Larry Price, then W5TIA, is the clubs vice president. This experience apparently served him well, as Mr Price (now W4RA) is now vice president, International Affairs, for the ARRL!

RTTY operation in the club begins when Teletype Corporation donates a state-of-the-art Model 28 teletype machine and accessories to the club to celebrate the opening of their new factory in Little Rock.

The Amateur Radio Club of the University of Arkansas, Inc (ARCUA) is officially formed and a Constitution is written. Fred Spies K5IIX (ex-W3IUT, later W5HF), Houston Taylor K5BUQ (now W0LPR), Ralph “Dee” Goff K5EJQ (now W6IGG) and a young Woody Charlton KN5GOE (!) are among the signatories. Constitution is still in force and is still on file with the University. Later in the year, ARCUA begins the Razorback Award. DX stations must work 25 Arkansas stations including five club members, US stations must include 10 club members.

Activity continues to be heavy throughout the sixties, again with the emphasis on traffic handling. Six meter AM and CW are popular modes, as is RTTY. Dr. Cannon remains trustee and faculty advisor through 1961.


April 30: W5YM and W5YJ, Oklahoma State University’s club have a Field Day style competition at Ft. Gibson Lake in Oklahoma. The next morning the two clubs drive to the Tulsa Hamfest. A good time was had by all – at least until the W5YM truck broke down somewhere west of Siloam Springs …

ARRL Section Net Certificate awarded.

W5YM moves from Engineering Hall to the new Science / Engineering Building. A new station is custom built in the penthouse of the building along with a new radar and microwave lab. This station remains the club’s home until Science / Engineering Building renovations require the temporary move to the penthouse in Bell Engineering Center in 2000.

ARRL Section Net and Brass Pounder’s League Certificates awarded to the Club.

Official Phone Station certificate awarded.

Little is known of this period and virtually no logs have been found. Fun Fong KD5HW tells us that activity in the late part of the decade was minimal but that the two gentlemen that were the leaders at the time were ROTC members. He does not recall their names or call signs. The main rig in use is a Heath SB series.

Tom Watson, WA5ZBT, reports that the club was indeed not particularly active during this time, but that a few students operated on the 8th floor of the Science Engineering Building. He recalls that the main rig was a Heath SB tranceiver (he doesn’t recall if it was a transceiver or combo) and that part of the time there was a 2000W PEP amplifier that belonged to one of the students that was used. In 1975, Tom recalls that a Hy-Gain 6-element 10-20m Yagi antenna was erected on the roof of the Science Engineering building, and that he was a part of the tower raising party. He remembers it being a lot of fun to create a pileup on 20m using the club callsign with the equipment that was available.

Tom also reports that Mr. Maurice Colpitts from the EE department was the club sponsor during this time, although he was not (as Tom recalls) a ham. Students at the time consisted of a few from engineering and one guy that wasn’t… and that the non-engineer (who’s Dad was also a ham) was one of the best CW operators that he’s ever seen. Fred Spies, W5HF, from the UA Law School, joined a few meetings… and Tom remembers him being “amazing” on CW, also. It is recalled that Fred did what he could to keep the club going during slower periods.

President (1976-1977): Ken Mills WN5DRY > AA5KK > N5EE

Trustee is Tom Brinner W5VHF until 1980 according to Gil Hoellerich WB0KTZ. Mr. Hoellerich takes over as trustee at that time.


Dr. J. Sherwood “Woody” Charlton K5GOE returns to the University and takes over as trustee of W5YM and as faculty advisor of ARCUA, a position he held for 21 years until becoming a silent key in 2002.


W5YM becomes member of DXCC. By 1994, the Club’s country total is 285, mixed.

Kenwood TS430 purchased with help from the Associated Student Government, the Northwest Arkansas Amateur Radio Club and present and former members. This rig still serves the club well on Field Day.

Club earns International DX Contest Award, Arkansas Section.

New Technician Class license without the code requirement boosts activity. Emphasis is on space and digital communications as well as public service activities, such as Skywarn.

1990 – 1991
Kenwood TS790A VHF/UHF satellite rig purchased, again with the assistance of the ASG, NWAARC, and present / former members.

Pres: Kirstian Bognaes LA1PCA; VP: Billy Cooksey KB6JEM; Sec’y/Treas: Andy Schaeffer AA5DL.

1991 – 1992
W5YM’s OSCAR station goes on the air. First OSCAR-13 contact is with station in newly independent Lithuania. Dan Puckett K5FXB joins Dr. Charlton as an advisor. January/February: MIR, the then Soviet space station is contacted on several occasions. March: A license for 5YM, and the application for same, are found by Jeff McFarland KB5RUI and Peter Laws N5UWY in while waiting for the S pace Shuttle to pass within range of W5YM. The license is dated June 1920. April: US Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-45 – SAREX) is contacted as it passes over Kansas. July: Astronauts aboard STS-50 are again contacted. August: ARCUA members participate in campus-wide Emergency Preparedness Drill at the request of state officials.

Pres: Richard Smith N5VBL; VP: Peter Laws N5UWY; Sec’y/Treas: Walt Carter N5YGR.

1992 – 1993
September: STS-47 is up and is again contacted by W5YM, this time by packet. ARCUA hosts two groups of eight- to twelve-year-olds in an attempt to contact the astronauts. November: ARCUA recognized by ARRL for 25 years as an Affiliated Club. February: Spark gap transmitter and crystal receiver found in Engineering school storage. March / April: What goes around comes around: Charles Tillotson N5NXH begins teaching course in “wireless telegraphy”. As a result, Dr. Juan Balda passes the Novice test, becomes KB5ZWW. Field Day is held at the Agri Park at the farm.

Pres: Peter Laws N5UWY; VP: Walt Carter N5YGR; Sec’y/Treas: ?

1993 – 1994
A TH6DXX 6-element HF beam is donated by Dr. Harris W5XH, a club alumnus. A tilt-over tower is donated to the club by the widow of Alan Glass N5HG, another club alumnus. January: Razorback Radio News is ressurected by Peter Laws. The newsletter had not been published since 1962 or so. Field Day is held at the Agri Park.

Pres: Peter Laws N5UWY; VP: Walt Carter N5YGR; Secretary: Frank Buercklin KB5WAR; Treasurer: Don Faulkner KB5WPM.

1994 – 1995
One of the busiest years in memory. Station improvements continue. A WARC-band beam, a Kansas City Tracker board, and an emergency power supply are purchased with financial help from ASG. October: The WARC-band beam is installed on a tower section refurbished by ARCUA members. In March, ARCUA members arrange for students of the Watson Elementary School in Huntsville, Arkansas to speak to astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of the SAREX project. Fourteen kids are able to ask questions of the astronaut and local media coverage is abundant. In April and May, club members install the N5HG tower and W5XH beam on top of the Science Engineering building. Field Day is held once again at the Agri Park. By-laws added to original 1958 constitution.

Pres: Jeff McFarland KB5RUI; VP: Clendon Gibson KC5JDO; Sec’y/Treas: Frank Buercklin; PIO (voluntary): Peter Laws N5UWY.

1995 – 1996
January – construction permit granted for W5YM/R; July – final coordination received. Initial configuration is a pair of Motorola MOCOM 70s with a Ramsey controller.

In November, W5YM participates in the 1995 ARRL November Sweepstakes. W5YM places 5th overall in the Southeast Region, probably the club’s best showing ever! A College Championship is also held, and W5YM takes First Place in the phone division! In March and April, ARCUA members assist members of local Boy Scout troops in obtaining their Radio Merit Badges.

Pres: Kevin Thornton KC5LDC; VP: Clendon Gibson KC5JDO; Sec’y/Treas: Ryan Wells KC5LDD; PIO (voluntary): Peter Laws N5UWY.

1996 – 1997
Pres: Clendon Gibson, VP: Ryan Wells, Sec/Treas: Kevin Thornton.

1997 – 1998
Generator purchased for club field day operations. Field Day 1997 was rained out, but we still got great press. W5YM fares well in the 1997 November Sweepstakes and the Collegiate Championship. The club places second among all college Amateur Radio Clubs overall, with a CLEAN SWEEP to boot.

During the Fall of 1997, ARCUA members begin preparations for retransmitting weather data from the National Weather Service, using the EMWIN system. This becomes a reality in the spring of 1998. During this time, ARCUA is also preparing for the Where’s the Bus project.

During this time period, a Drake L-4B amplifier was donated by Professor Peter Ungar.

Nolan Swanigan (KB5ZYC) recalls putting up a 10m beam antenna and participating in a RTTY contest (perhaps the School Club Roundup). He also confirmed a clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes.

Pres: Ryan Wells, VP: Brad Clement, Sec: Jason Reeves

Homebrew W5YM/R replaced with new ICOM repeater funded by ASG.  Dr. Charlton on sabbatical at Georgia Tech.

Nolan Swanigan (KB5ZYC) recalls repeater work being done, and that the top of Yocum had a great view. He also recalls the one Field Day that he attended (it was on the field of Old Main) and a clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes.

Pres: Brad Clement.


Clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes.

Pres: Nolan Swanigan, VP: Don Faulkner, Sec: McCoy Reed.

Station relocated to elevator penthouse in BELL Engineering due to renovation of SCEN.  George Tatge secures surplus Kenwood TS-930 for station.

Clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes.

Pres: Nolan Swainigan, VP: Lance Woodson, Sec: Rebecca Cragun.

ELEG purchases 1.2 gHz TS-790 module for Dr. Charlton’s graduate design project.  Further revision of by-laws to conform with RSO standards.  Dr. Charlton SK.  Dr. Juan Carlos Balda of ELEG joins ARCUA as faculty advisor.

Nolan Swanigan (KB5ZYC) recalls another clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes in the Fall of 2001.

Pres: James Webster, VP: Rebecca Worster, Sec: Denna Lambert.

“Woody Charlton Memorial Station” dedicated in newly renovated SCEN 736, which remains the club’s home to this day.  Obtained K5GOE through vanity callsign program for use as secondary club call; it is commonly used as the club callsign for Field Day activities.  Completed revision of by-laws to current version.

Pres: Rebecca Worster, VP: Andrew Lilly, Treas: Gerry White, Sec: Denna Lambert.

Replaced damaged rotator on tower with new HAM IV discounted to university club by Martin Jue K5FlU, founder of MFJ.

Pres: Walt Carter, VP: Matthew Barlow, Treas: Ewald Bakker, Sec: Kevin McVey.

Completed RTTY DXCC.  Washington County EOC donates new  DB-224 antenna for W5YM/R.

Pres: Matthew Barlow,  VP: Geoffry Edwards, Treas: Dan Warwick, Sec: Kevin McVey.

Satellite station back on the air using homebrew antenna controller based on article in QST.

Pres: Matthew Barlow, VP: Geoffry Edwards, Treas: Tristan Evans, Sec: Cherry Fu.

Pres: Matthew Barlow, VP: Noel Romey, Treas: Kat King.

Pres: Matthew Barlow, VP: Noel Romey, Treas: Kat King.


ARCUA receives a large donation of equipment from KC4SBW.  Included in the donation are a Yaesu FT-1000MP and a Kenwood TS-850 with DSP-100.

Pres: James Morris, VP: Ahmed El Shafie, Treas: Joseph Courtney, Sec: Zeek Martin.

ARCUA receives a second donation from Dr. Peter Ungar of an FT-One given to his grandfather, founder of the “Fox Tango” club, by Yaesu.

Pres: James Morris, VP: Elaine Christman, Treas: Joseph Courtney, Sec: Zeek Martin.

Dan Puckett retires from service to the University and is replaced as advisor to ARCUA by Dr. Larry Roe of MEEG.

Pres: Matthew Barlow, VP: Emmanuel Decrossas, Treas: Hannah Vines, Sec: Zeek Martin.

2011 – 12
W5YM places 11th in the school club category overall and #1 for Delta Division in the 2011 ARRL November Sweepstakes.  Field Day is held at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville with power supplied by the GREEN Center Solar Mobile Laboratory.

Pres: Matthew Barlow, VP: Emmanuel Decrossas, Treas: Hannah Vines, Sec: Zeek Martin.

W5YM places 4th in the school club category overall, #1 for Delta Division (school club), and #1 for all categories in Arkansas in the November Sweepstakes in 2012. Field Day is held at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville with power supplied by solar panels donated by the UA Solar Boat Team and a charge controller donated by Arkansas Wind and Solar in Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

Pres: Jill Niemeier, VP: Matthew Barlow, Treas: Hannah Vines.


W5YM places 8th in the school club category overall and #1 for the Delta Division in the school club category for the November Sweepstakes in 2013. Field Day is once again held at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville using solar power. W5YM (as K5GOE) achieved a score of 1,050 with 250 QSOs and 10 participants for Field Day in 2013.

Pres: Jill Niemeier, VP: Matthew Barlow, Treas: Austin Eubanks.


Field Day was held at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville using solar power.

Pres: Jill Niemeier, VP: Matthew Barlow, Treas: Austin Eubanks.



Arkansas QSO Party
2002 – W5YM Top Arkansas Club
2003 – W5YM Top ARRL Club
2007 – W5YM Top Arkansas Club

School Club Roundup
2006 – W5YM Third Place University Club
2007 – W5YM Second Place University Club
2009 – W5YM Ninth Place University Club

TDOA – Thinking Day on the Air
2005 Local Girl Scouts on the air with Girl Guides from U.K.

ARRL Sweepstakes Plaques
1999 Overall school club champion/CW – N5DX op
2000 Overall school club champion/CW – N5DX op
2005 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2006 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2006 Delta Division school club champion/CW – K5NER op
2008 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2009 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2011 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2012 Delta Division school club champion/PH
2013 Delta Division school club champion/PH

South East Conference Football Championship Event
2010 – W5YM one of eight SEC schools participating.


Student Officers (in order of appearance)

Robert L. “Pete” Henderson, Jr. – WB0LCW > NS0D
Ken Mills – WN5DRY > AA5KK > N5EE
Clendon Gibson – KC5JDO
Ryan Wells – KC5LDD
Kevin Thornton – KC5LDC > K5KVN
Brad Clement – KJ5YD
Jason Reeves – KC5TTQ
Don Faulkner – KB5WPM
McCoy Reed – SWL
Nolan Swanigan – KB5ZYC
Lance Woodson – KB5WLA
Rebecca Cragun – KD5FZK
James Webster – KD5QYG
Rebecca Worster – KD5LJS
Denna Lambert – KD5PW
Walt Carter – N5YGR
Matthew Barlow – KD5RTQ > W5VO
Ewald Bakker – KD5VXM
Kevin McVey – KI4ARD > W5AVC
Geoffry Edwards – KE5BGQ
Dan Warwick – KB5UPY
Tristan Evans – KD5YSN
Cherry Fu – KD5UXL
Noel Romey – KC5IPO > K5NER
Kat King – KE5KGF > K5KGF
James Morris – KE5TPT > W5EIR
Ahmed El Shafie – KE5WNV
Joseph Courtney – KE5JSF
Zeek Martin – KF5CHT > K5ZEK
Elaine Christman – KD5YSS
Emmanuel Decrossas – KF5QOE
Hannah Vines – KD5WNF
Jill Niemeier – AC0MX
Austin Eubanks – W3SVN

J. Sherwood Charlton – K5GOE (sk)
Dan Puckett – K5FXB
Juan Carlos Balda – KB5ZWW
Larry Roe – KE5WNU > WJ5V

Peter Ungar – KC5PYB (expired)
George Tatge – WB5SRY (sk)
Eric Schabacker – KC5SBW

A brief history of our call sign
9YM: April 1916 (Clerical Error?)
5YM: June, 1916 – ?; 1920 – 1922 (off air for duration of WW I)
W5YM: 192? – 194?
W5JNI: 1941 – 1951 (off air for duration of WW II)
W5YM: 1951 – present

Any “fills” or corrections that you can provide, especially for the periods immediately before and after the World War II and the 1920s would be greatly appreciated! Please send updates to w5ym@uark.edu.

In addition, I highly recommend Ray Poindexter’s book Arkansas Airwaves, from which much of my information comes.

Original Content: Peter Laws, N5UWY

Other Contributors: Dan Puckett, K5FXB; Nolan Swanigan, KB5ZYC; Tom Watson, WA5ZBT

Updates and edits: Michael Glover, AE5ZC

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