W5YI - March 28, 2012

Fred Maia, W5YI
Arlington, TX

QCWA # 14730

Frederick Oliver Maia was born on August 28, 1935, in Brockton, Massachusetts. He was one of identical twin sons born to Antonio and Nellie Maia. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1953-1957, where he was stationed in Korea during the Korean Conflict. While in the Air Force, he served as a communications officer, sending and receiving encoded messages by morse code. It was this experience that sparked his life-long interest in radio communications, and in particular, amateur radio.

Following his discharge from the military, he returned to his hometown, and began a career in retail sales. Although he spent more than 20 years in retail and wholesale sales and marketing, he never lost his love of radio, which led to his second career in the promotion of radio hobbies across America.

He held an amateur radio extra class ticket for decades. He wrote or co-wrote numerous books and on-line educational materials to assist others in qualifying for amateur radio licenses, including General Radiotelephone Operator License Plus. He published an industry newsletter, "The W5YI report", and was a contributing author to "CQ Amateur Radio" magazine for 25 years, in addition to supervising amateur radio examinations for the U. S. government. He was a member of the American Radio Relay League, the Quarter Century Wireless Association, and Mensa.


Fred Maia, W5YI was first licensed in the 1950's while in the Air Force. At age 17, Fred attended Keesler (Mississippi) AFB Radio School and served in Korea while still a teenager. He has held an Extra Class ticket for decades.

In the early 1980's, the FCC wanted to offload Amateur Radio license testing and set about recruiting Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. A VEC serves as the link between examining community (VEs) and the FCC who issue the licenses. Fred was the first VEC to be accepted in all areas. Over the past 20 years, the W5YI-VEC has accredited more than 25,000 VEs and has administered some 600,000- examination elements to more than 350,000 applicants. He added Commercial Radio Operator testing in the early 1990's.

When the FCC transferred Amateur license test development to the ham community, Fred volunteered to be on the Question Pool Committee ...a position he still holds. He also serves as Chairman of the VECs Rules Committee and routinely submits comments to the FCC on behalf of the VECs and their VEs. W5YI is especially concerned about the health and stagnant growth of ham radio. While a great hobby for senior citizens, our future lies in our youth and interesting them in Amateur Radio. He firmly believes that all unnecessary impediments to the wider use of ham radio should be eliminated.

Due to technological advances, many of the rules of yesterday are no longer needed and many only serve to impede ham radio growth. I plan on working toward an even more streamlined Amateur Service and especially facilitating its use among newcomers and as a Public Service tool.