André Saunders GM3VLB of Kelso became a Silent Key on 23rd May 2019, just short of his 81st birthday, after a very active life in Amateur Radio, which is illustrated in this tribute. He founded and administered the SCOTIA award and operated from almost all the Scottish IOTA islands with the support of his XYL Veronica.

Click for Southern Reporter obituary.

Click for RSGB website Silent Key.

Click for GM3VLB website - Biography - NO LONGER AVAILABLE 2020-03-10 - psp

Click for GM3VLB funeral video.

Click for GM3VLB wake video tribute.

Click for GM3VLB Radio Ham in Action video tribute.

Click for GM3VLB 2012 lecture report "Amateur Radio in East Africa".


In his will, Andre bequeathed funding for the SOTA - Islands Awards, starting in 2022 and administered by a committee of the Lothians Radio Society. These individual cups will be awarded while funds remain. The winner's name will be engraved on a plate on the base. 


André was born in Renton, Dunbartonshire in 1938 to Scottish / French parents and was bilingual.  He built his first crystal set in 1949 at the age of 11 and continued collecting and restoring them as well as other historical radios, for the rest of his life. 


Gecophone crystal set in André's collection.


André graduated in Physics from Glasgow University in 1958 and moved first to Switzerland and then to Kenya in 1964 where he taught maths / physics at Kenya High School and Kenya Polytechnic in Nairobi.


After independence in 1963 Kenya did not issue amateur radio licences until May 1967 when André obtained the second one issued - 5Z4KL. He became a very active DX'er, achieving the ARRL Honor Roll in 1973 as well as many other awards.


He activated Lamu Island for the very first time in 1971 as 5Z5KL



                                                                                                    QSL from King Hussein of Jordan received by André as 5Z4KL in Kenya in 1970. 


André with a Kenyan spear which he no doubt used to defend his frequency!


Returning temporarily to Scotland in 1973 he obtained the callsign GM3VLB before moving to G-land to take up a senior teaching position and operating as G3VLB.


QSL of "Dud" Charman G6CJ, well-known for his "Aerial Circus".



André finally moved back to Kelso in Scotland in 1978 after 20 years abroad. He founded the Kelso Amateur Radio Society GM4KHS in 1981. His XYL Veronica recalls when over 1,000 cars would enter the town annually for the KARS radio rally as it became the largest one in the south of Scotland.


After taking early retirement in 1995, André devoted himself to /M and /P operations in Scotland and abroad. In 2003 he founded SCOTIA - the Scottish Islands Award - which he administered until his SK.


André's "Bandhopper" mobile antenna.


Multi-band inverted-V dipole developed by André.



GM3VLB Mini-Delta multiband hex-beam.


Kit required for an island trip!


André activated 282 islands worldwide, including all 256 GM IOTA islands, apart from "new one" Rockall.


Sometimes the condx were not as favourable for operating as others!


Flannan lighthouse with all the gear needed for 4 days operation.


Nice QSL card for the Flannan Islands.


St Kilda operating site in Village Bay.


Special QSL card for St Kilda expedition in 2000 using callsign GM5K.


Even a postal "First Day Cover" for a special GM5K stamp from St Kilda.


Less-exotic island DX - Inchkeith and Inchmickery in the Firth of Forth!


The SCOTIA "Hunter" award certificate.


André and XYL Veronica promoted SCOTIA with a stand at many rallies, this one at Galashiels in 2014.


In recent years André has had a close relationship with the LRS and its members. This group was taken at the Blackpool rally in 2010 by his XYL Veronica.


André gave a talk to the LRS in 2012 about his time in Africa and his collection of antique radios.               Click for Full Report.


André brought his good friend Bob McFarlane, an SOE veteran, to meetings of the LRS and MoC to talk about his wartime experiences. Click for Full LRS Report.


 Bob McFarlane


One of Bob McFarlane's slides - of himself with Tito in Yugoslavia.


André with Bob after his LRS talk at the Braid Hills Hotel in 2014.


André and Veronica came to many LRS social events - this was the 2013 Christmas Curry.


André's well-equipped shack in Kelso in 2015.


Part of his treasured collection of historic radios. 


 Replica suitcase set constructed by André.


Possibly the last photograph of André and Veronica together, taken on 11th May 2019 outside the Museum of Communication in Burntisland, after a lecture.