The OMIK Amateur Radio Association, Inc. was founded on August 17, 1952, as the OMIK Electronic Communications Association by Black amateur radio operators from the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky to deal with discrimination in the dominant culture and to assist Black travelers with information on places where they could safely eat and lodge. Many ham organizations denied membership to Blacks. Therefore, black amateur radio operators needed a Black Amateur Radio organization with its own nets and other activities.
Llewellyn Scearce, W8TKE, of Detroit, Michigan, inspired the hams that he knew to take steps to form a regional association of black hams within the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky. Lawrence D. Sallee, W8ZAW, promoted a meeting of eleven hams in the on-campus home of Henry Garcia, an instructor at Wilberforce College, now Central State University, near Dayton, Ohio. Thus the first meeting of this association was held.
Lawrence Sallee, W8ZAW, became the first president; James A. Smith, W8CZD, the first secretary/treasurer; and Llewellyn Searce, W8TKE, the first net control coordinator. Many names were suggested to call the new organization, including Ohio Valley Radio Association, Amateur Radio for Defense, and United Radio Association. After much debate, they were all discarded, and the first letter of each participating state was used to form a name sounding much like the electrical unit of resistance—ohm. OMIK (pronounced “O-Mike”) Electronic Communications Association was born. Later incorporated in Michigan, the organization sustained this name until it was proposed and changed to OMIK Amateur Radio Association, Inc. in 2001.
OMIK has grown from a regional organization to a national and international association. OMIK is the largest predominately Black amateur radio association in the United States. All licensed operators and others of good character are welcome to become members. OMIK is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League, ARRL. Today, although still a predominantly African-American organization, OMIK is a multi-racial, multi-cultural organization with members from the United States as well as DX entities.
OMIK seeks to:
Promote fellowship while advancing the art of amateur radio.
Expand and upgrade the ranks of amateur radio operators.
Provide public service and further international goodwill.
Coordinate OMIK-affiliated ham radio clubs.
Encourage and motivate youth to further their education beyond high school through scholarships and other financial assistance.
The OMIK callsign, KØMIK, is used primarily for special events such as the annual club convention, which operates a radio station from the convention venue. In addition, OMIK uses for OMIK related events, youth school days, ARRL Field Day, and other activities approved by the club trustee and president.