BIARA’S Silent Keys

Silent Key or SK is a term of respect for a deceased amateur radio operator.

The term originated with telegraph operators and continued with early wireless and then amateur radio operators. The term SK is used in telegraphy to indicate an end of transmission. This page is dedicated to the memory of BIARA members who have passed…

Gary Berry – W6GDB

As a teenager, Gary received his first amateur radio license in the early 1950’s using the callsign K6TUJ. In 1958 LT Barry was assigned duty aboard the heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles, CA-135, where he was responsible for training the radio men to maintain the ships radio equipment. Later on, Gary would go to work for TRW in Redondo Beach as a design engineer and technical manager.

Gary was re-licensed in 2012 with the callsign W6GDB when he took responsibility to restore the Battleship Iowa, BB61, communications equipment.  His leadership and skills, especially in the early days of the Grey Radio Gang and BIARA, laid the foundation for restoring and rebuilding the Iowa’s communication stations. Gary supported many radio projects but it was Gary’s perseverance and drive that resulted in restoring Iowa’s Twin Fan Antenna. Gary was aboard Iowa in July to see the antenna in place as it was originally in the 1980’s. Gary continued to provide his guidance and leadership despite his personal challenges during the past several years. Gary was a true gentleman and he will be greatly missed.

Tom Alford – W6KP

Tom was a good CW operator mostly with a keyboard as he suffered with control issues with his hand(s). He was 78 at passing.

Ron Frank – N3HI

Ron Frank Iowa badge picture

September 1945 – August 2021

Ron Frank, N3HI, Army veteran, IOWA and BIARA crew-member, passed away on Thursday, August 19, 2021. Ron had been silently battling prostrate cancer that metastasized. As a devoted IOWA crew-member and past NI6BB station manager, Ron will be sorely missed.

Ray Rittenhouse – KF6WZN

July 26, 1942 – June 1, 2020

Ray was a Navy Chief. He was born into a world just entering WWII, and left it during a global pandemic. He was an Electronics Technician who served on the Essex Class Carrier, USS Randolph in the early 1960s and later on the USS Cimarron (AO22) at the height of the Vietnam War. Ray loved the Navy, and he stayed active in the Reserves until 1990. Ray was a really neat guy – a shipmate and a friend. He was 77 years old. He will be dearly missed.

Read more about Ray here (text from his memorial held on the USS Iowa).

Jacqui Mathis – KF6JAO

August 18, 1936 – November 14, 2016

A thirty year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, Jacqui passed away in her sleep at home on Monday, November 14, 2016, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.  She was 80 years old.  

Jacqui and Peter Von Hagen, WA6HXM, met as members of the Palos Verdes Rotary Club, where Jacqui was Secretary for the District in the LAX office.  

Jacqui was active in many social and fraternal organizations.  She served on several Committees for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, had been a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Disaster Communications Service, Southern California DX Club, Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club, United Radio Amateur Club, Northrop Radio Club, BIARA, and the ARRL.