Marshall Ensor Memorial Organization (MEMO)
** Membership helps the Ensor Museum **
The MEMO Membership Application form is currently being updated. For more information and to receive the updated form by email, please send us a message via “Contact” in the drop-down menu under “About” in the menu bar.
About the Marshall Ensor Memorial Organization (MEMO) Amateur Radio Club
In 2002 some amateur radio operators who had local connections to the Ensor Museum were disappointed that there were so few visitors to the museum. Few people knew or understood how important the radio station of Marshall H. Ensor had been during his lifetime or that it still existed and could be seen and appreciated in the same way the fine old family dairy farm could be. So they decided to form a radio club, get Marshall’s old W9BSP callsign, and engage in a serious effort to promote this unique radio-rich museum to the many thousands of ham radio operators around the country as well as to the public at large.
The groundwork for this effort was laid soon after. The Marshall Ensor Memorial Organization was created as a non-profit organization with a different profile than a typical club. This website has become the informal way to attract members from far and wide. No meetings are held and generally the members are content to join knowing that their donation of $20.00 helps to support the Ensor Museum.
Another goal was realized when the MEMO club established a web presence for the club and for the Ensor Park and Museum. In those early days the website was created and managed by Bob Roske, NØUF. It is currently managed by John Gray. We are indebted to both Bob and John for their web expertise and support of MEMO.
The museum allows us the ability to do our radio work from inside the original radio room of W9BSP.
One of the main attractions of the Ensor Park & Museum is the historic Radio Room adjoining the kitchen in the farmhouse. From there, Marshall started communicating with other hams in 1922 after he had earned his operator’s license. At that time, while waiting for the Department of Commerce to issue a station license to his station in the farmhouse, he identified himself on the air as 9MHE. In the late spring of 1923 the new station license arrived; Marshall’s station was 9BSP. However it wasn’t too long before international agreements about callsigns were drawn up, and in 1927 the Dept. of Commerce required all new licenses issued to applicants living in the continental United to begin with the letter “W.” Renewing hams had the letter “W” added to the beginning of their call signs. Thus, Marshall became W9BSP, and Loretta became W9UA.
The dedication of our W9BSP club callsign took place in a ceremony at the museum on December 6, 2003. We used the famous call for the first time in 62 years. Its last use was on December 7, 1941, when the FCC prohibited amateur radio stations from transmitting during the Second World War. After the war ended, the “zero” district was split off from the 9th District, and stations in Kansas and other states west of the Mississippi River were issued new callsigns reflecting the changed district. Marshall’s call became W0BSP, and W9BSP was retired. Although it would have been possible for some other ham to request it, no one ever did. Thus, on that December morning in 2003 when Larry Woodworth called the ARRL’s flagship station W1AW to start a scheduled contact and signed with W9BSP, it was an electrifying moment!
By the end of 2005, MEMO had gained 115 members. While many are local, others hail from all over the US and Canada. Numerous useful museum projects have been accomplished with the aid of MEMO fees and donations. Fast forward to 2022, and MEMO is still going strong, still gaining members (now 173), and still supporting the Ensor Park and Museum.
Please accept our invitation to join us in our effort to support this historic museum that has an equally historic connection to Amateur Radio.