5YA was the designation for a pioneer wireless station at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn. The station had its beginnings when alumnus Miller Reese Hutchison donated a 2.5 kW spark gap transmitter and crystal receiver to the university's engineering department, which created a course in wireless telegraphy to make use of the equipment.
Faculty and students erected a 150-foot steel pipe mast on the east end of Broun Hall, with the antenna wired to a makeshift broadcast studio on the building's second floor. During Homecoming festivities on June 2, 1913, Hutchison arrived for a formal dedication and made the first voice broadcast, addressed to "Old Man" Edison in New Jersey:
This wireless formally christens the two-and-a-half kilowatt apparatus which I have this day presented to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in commemoration of the first homecoming of the alumni. The president, the faculty, the alumni, and the student body join me in expressing love and esteem to the father of electrical development.
Edison replied with a congratulatory telegram.
The station was dismantled during World War I, but the course in telegraphy, headed by Victor McIlvaine, was enhanced with the Army's donation of two portable wireless sets. About 200 graduates went on to serve as telegraphers during the war. In 1919 McIlvaine oversaw the re-erection of the first antenna on the water tank behind Wright's Drug Store, connected by wire to studio equipment of his own manufacture which was installed at a building near the campus' main gate. The result was 5XA, licensed for experimental purposes.
The "I Tappa Key Club" was established for Auburn's growing roster of amateur radio operators. The station continued to be used by them even after WMAV-AM, a voice station, was licensed to the University in 1922.
- Schafer, Elizabeth D. (no date) "I Tappa Key and Auburn's First Hams" Auburn University Amateur