Preparing for the Inevitable
In the years I have belonged to GARS, over eleven years now, we have had a few silent keys (SK), or ham radio operators who have passed away. Some of them have passed suddenly. Yes, we miss them, but we realize that we will all have to go sometime. We have been told that the average age for GARS members is 60 years old. That means some of us (myself included) are much older.
There was a story told in one GARS meeting of a ham radio operator who passed away, leaving a room full of equipment. His wife didn’t know what any of it was, and had someone haul it away to the garbage. I am sure her husband on the other side would have been distraught, had he known what happened to his station.
It behooves all of us to take an inventory of our amateur radio equipment. Write or type out a list of what you have and put the inventory list in a place where your spouse, significant other, friend or relative can find it. You could always go to the internet and find out what your equipment is worth today, and include that on your inventory. Be certain to list every piece of equipment you have, not just your transceivers. Don’t forget to list your antennas. What about all the coax you have? What are they worth, new or used? Have an antenna tuner? Be sure to include it on your list. How about any coax switches, computer interfaces, power supplies, etc.? they all need to go on your list. Taking pictures of your inventory and labeling them would be a plus for the person designated to dispose of your equipment.
Now, what can happen to your equipment when you do pass? There are several possibilities. First, the equipment can be sold locally or on the internet, and the proceeds can go to a loved one. Second, there may be a loved one, friend, or neighbor who would love to have your equipment but couldn’t afford to buy it on their own. They could be the designated recipient. Third, you might want to donate part or all of your station to a school or college. There, students would be able to use your equipment when their club would not otherwise have been able to purchase their own equipment.
Donating your equipment to GARS of Gwinnett ARES might be an option to consider, as well. Both are non-profit organizations, so a tax deduction is possible. GARS collects dues from its members, but ARES does not. Both organizations would benefit financially by either using the equipment or selling it at market value. At any rate, you know your donation will help a worthy cause.
Whom do we designate to dispose of our equipment? I have seen at lease one commercial entity advertise such a service in the pages of one of the amateur radio magazines. Obviously, commercial interests will charge a fee for their service, but they are sure to find loving homes for your things.
A number of local clubs will volunteer to dispose of your equipment at no charge. They will sell the articles at a fair price and return the money to whomever you choose. Check with the club beforehand. I bought an antenna from a Silent Key sale once. It was a good deal for me and for the Silent Key’s estate.
However you decide to dispose of your equipment, it is imperative that you make your wishes known, both on your inventory list and to whomever will look after your equipment when you are gone. Have a will? This is the best place to make your wishes known about your equipment. A will is a legally binding document and is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Yes, the inevitable will happen, but I pray it will not happen to any of us for a long, long time.