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Silent Key Services

What is a "Silent Key" ?

An amateur radio operator who has died is known as a “Silent Key.” This dates back about 100 years when all amateur radio operators used telegraph keys to send Morse code signals. When an operator passed away, his key became silent. The term has survived all this time.

What to do with all that equipment ?

To the survivors of an amateur radio licensee, an amateur radio home station can appear to be a daunting array of electronic equipment. Disassembling the equipment and antennas should be done by people who know how to handle radio equipment, electronic test equipment, and antennas. In 2017 the OVARC Board of Directors established a process to aid the surviving family members in proper administration of a deceased amateur operator’s station and equipment. 


If you are facing this situation and are in need of assistance, please contact OVARC via email or through an acquaintance who is a member.

OVARC Silent Key Services

At the request of a surviving spouse, family member, or executor, OVARC will have two club members visit the home of the deceased and evaluate the equipment antennas, and cabling. They will inventory the equipment, estimate the value of the station contents and then suggest what to do next. The estimate may take up to two weeks.


OVARC will have a team of several club members visit the home and gently disassemble the station equipment and then remove it from the home. In addition to the equipment, the team will remove coaxial cables and antennas that do not require climbing a tower.


The equipment can be administered using one or more methods.


  • Donated directly to OVARC

  • Sold on E-Bay, EHAM, QRZ, or other similar Internet-based organization

  • Sold to club members at a silent auction at one of the monthly meetings

  • Sold at the next Hamfest (November)

  • Sold by consignment at the nearest amateur radio store (Phoenix)

  • Offered for sale to members of other Tucson area amateur radio clubs


Different pieces of equipment could be sold using different methods. For instance, antennas are best sold locally because they are often bulky and buyers usually want to see them up close. Near-new high-end transceivers are best sold through amateur radio oriented websites such as EHAM or QRZ.

Services are Free

OVARC does not charge any fees for the services described herein. OVARC will give all net proceeds from the sale of the equipment to the surviving family members or executor.


The family may make a free-will donation to the club or donate some or all of the equipment to the club in return for the services.

Benefits offered to all Survivors

The deceased amateur radio operator does not need to have been an OVARC member or affiliated with the club in any way. OVARC offers the services as a public service to all surviving family members. This is one less thing to worry about during a difficult time.

Antenna Towers

OVARC members cannot climb any antenna towers. Instead, OVARC will recommend a local company that has properly trained professional tower climbers along with appropriate insurance. Once the antennas are down, OVARC will sell or dispose of the antennas and towers. There is a market for used towers, just as there is for used equipment.

Contact Information


Phone: 520-314-0141

OVARC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Tax ID Number: 27-4569966


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