“This has been like a family reunion,” said Martin Jue K5FLU, President of MFJ Enterprises in Starkville, MS. The monthly meeting on Sept 18, 2023 was very special, because of both a special guest speaker and the numerus hams in attendance who have known him for a long time. There were other hams who had the opportunity to meet Martin K5FLU for the first time, in person. But that introduction was like they had known him for a long time, too. Several were eager to get their pictures made with K5FLU before the formal meeting began. As long-time VARC member Carolyn Irons KJ5RC said, “It’s like a real celebrity is visiting us!”
Board members of the nearby Jackson Amateur Radio Club, including Jim Armstrong, Mike and Kathleen Duke, and Clay Quarterman attended the evening meeting because of their great admiration of Martin’s accomplishments and his service to the amateur radio hobby worldwide. President Dunn acknowledged JARC members in attendance as well as the large crowd for this meeting.
K5FLU talked for about 20 minutes, reliving his youth as a child in the Mississippi Delta town of Hollandale. He recounted comments by Frank K4FMH, who introduced him to those in attendance, as being the fourth generation from a great-grandfather who was an immigrant laborer on the Trans-American Railroad, one of the two great transportation and communication projects spurring the U.S. economy to become a dominant one in the world (the other being the Coast-to-Coast telegraph lines). Martin said he was actually born in the hospital in Vicksburg.
Four generations later, Martin had become a highly successful businessman, a leader in the niche industry he chose to enter as an entrepreneur. How amateur radio became the fascination of his early life, guiding him to an E.E. degree at Mississippi State University and M.S. in E.E. at the Georgia Institute of Technology, were key parts of this career development.
When he returned to Hollandale, he ran the Jue Grocery (see sketch below), he said, where he learned the business of business. That gave Martin the inspiration to later launch his own amateur radio technology business in Starkville while he was completing his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering. But his fledgling company took off, reaching 30 employees after placing tiny ads for kits or pre-built products with an WATS line to take orders. Martin never completed his dissertation but instead became owner and President of the largest manufacturer of ham radio products in the world.
Known for being a gracious speaker, Martin brought many MFJ products as door prizes for the crowd. These were given away by lottery. Everyone left the meeting with one of the famous MFJ mugs of their design choice.
VARC President surprised Martin at the end of his talk. “It is my great privilege, Mr. Jue, to give you this plaque, making you our first Honorary Lifetime Member of the Vicksburg Amateur Radio Club.” Martin accepted the award with much gratitude. “This is very special to me to be honored as a Lifetime Member of this Club.”
Members of VARC said in emails to the Club afterward that this was a very special event which they greatly appreciated Martin K5FLU for making the trip down to Vicksburg from Starkville. It was perhaps the best club meeting of the year thus far.
Here are some scenes from the September meeting of the Vicksburg Amateur Radio Club: