Funeral Service

Thu. May. 27, 2021
12:30 pm

Pines Presbyterian Church

12751 Kimberley Lane
Houston , TX 77024-4097.

Graveside Service

Thu. May. 27, 2021
2:30 pm

Memorial Oaks Cemetery

13001 Katy Freeway
Houston , TX 77079.
Thu. May. 27, 2021
12:30 pm
Pines Presbyterian Church
12751 Kimberley Lane
Houston , TX 77024-4097.
Thu. May. 27, 2021
2:30 pm
Memorial Oaks Cemetery
13001 Katy Freeway
Houston , TX 77079.
In Memory of
Andrew Carson MacAllister

Andy was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Edward and Ruth Ann MacAllister on February 16, 1953. His personality was best described by his pre-school teacher in a note to his parents.  "Andrew is incorrigible." 


In the early 60s, his family moved to Houston before being transferred to Teheran, Iran in 1966.  While there, Andy attended the Teheran American School and, along with his brother, engaged in activities such as throwing paper airplanes off the roof of the Teheran Hilton and winning too many prizes while playing bingo at the Officer's Club.  It was in Iran that he joined the Boy Scouts, ultimately becoming an Eagle Scout.  He also became interested in listening to short-wave radio and "fixing" electronics.  His grandfather MacAllister would give him broken radios and told Andy if he could fix them, he could keep them.


His family moved back to Houston in 1969 where he attended Westchester High School.  He also became a ham radio operator, WA5ZIB (later W5ACM). In his senior year, he met Heather in government class.  She spoke to him every day for weeks before he finally asked her out on November 1, 1970.  They went to a coffee house and talked so much, the performers complained. 


Andy didn't care about the senior prom, but Heather wanted to go, so he told her if she got her ham license, he'd take her.  She learned Morse Code and passed the test.  The license arrived in the mail the day of the prom.


Andy attended Austin College and the University of Texas where he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering  Heather went to TCU, but they dated all through college and married on July 4, 1975. 


Unfortunately, nine weeks later Andy was diagnosed with cancer.  After months of tests and exploratory surgery, he was pronounced cancer free.  Having cancer at age 22 influenced the rest of his life.  He was determined to learn and experience as much as he could, and lived his life doing things now, rather than later, because later isn't guaranteed. 


Andy worked for Dresser Atlas as a down-hole logging Engineer, two years for Lockheed at NASA, designing space shuttle simulators, over 20 years at Daniel Industries in charge of technical manuals and certifications, and for 4 years as the Chief Operator at KTRU, Rice Radio.


He packed his life with a wide variety of interests and activities.  Here is a partial list:


  • He was a columnist for 73 MAGAZINE for many years, writing about Ham Radio Satellites. 
  • He served on the board of the Amateur Satellite Corporation
  • After passing the license for the highest rank of radio amateur, his call became W5ACM, his initials.
  • He held a patent for an underwater fishing light
  • He was a member of MENSA
  • He was the awards manager for his sons' Boy Scout Troop
  • He once tanned a deer hide in the kitchen
  • He liked brewing craft beer and mead, although after one batch exploded, he was banned from the kitchen
  • He was the DJ at Rice for a weekly 60s music show
  • For decades, his Balloon Launch Team sent balloons to the edge of space.  He gave many workshops and wrote articles about launching balloons.  He was the balloon advisor and mentor to classes at UT, Texas A&M, and HISD's magnet school for engineering
  • He was the liaison for SAREX, the program which allowed students to speak to orbiting astronauts
  • He collected WWII military radios
  • He hunted and fished, not always successfully
  • He liked science fiction, Ancient Aliens, and How Things are Made, and described himself as a Senior Ancient Astronaut Theorist
  • He volunteered at local breweries
  • He was a fitness buff, bicycling many miles each week, becoming a fixture around the neighborhood


He liked oddities and the unusual.  His favorite movie was The Magic Christian.  Recently, prompted by news of a celebrity breakup,  he told Heather, "You don't have to worry about me.  I don't care about the beautiful princess.  I'm more interested in the talking frog."


But ultimately, his life ended when the scar tissue left from the feeding tube he had during his first bout with cancer led to a tumor in his esophagus.


Andy loved to go on cruises.  As he packed before each one, he would say, "All I really need is a tux and a swimsuit."  So Andy will be buried wearing his cruise tux, Carnival swimsuit, his beer socks, and comfortable shoes.


He is survived by his mother, Ruth Ann MacAllister, his high-school sweetheart and wife of 45 years, Heather, his brother Craig MacAllister and wife Diane, sons Collin MacAllister and wife Robin, Brett MacAllister and wife Daniela, and grandchildren Gareth MacAllister, Maximiliano MacAllister, and Penelope MacAllister.


Message from
Marty Smith
Wed, 05/26/2021

Tuesday 5/25/2021 Tonight’s Houston AMSAT net is dedicated to Andy MacAllister – W5ACM - Thanks Eddie Runner and Rick Hiller from BVARC for some of this material.
It's with much sadness and deep regret I announce our buddy, Friend, and fellow ham, Andy, W5ACM - Past AMSAT Board of Director, King of the South Texas Balloon Launch Team, The Voice of The Houston AMSAT Net for nearly three decades and KTRU Rice Radio Engineer and DJ, AndyMac - Passed away on the evening of last Wednesday, 5/19/2021. Andy's wife Heather said he was on his computer until just a few minutes before...
Spanning 30 years, Andy and his STXBLT crew launched over 65 balloons, several at the Greater Houston Hamfest along with giving excellent presentations on the subject for several clubs in South and Central Texas.
No one could generate more excitement for ham radio than Andy. He was, in modern sports nomenclature, a GOAT – Greatest Of All Times. Be it AMSAT nets and satellite work, like his ZRO Test Satellite station sensitivity testing, ARISS, his 73 Magazine columnist articles and front cover appearance on the Oct. 1998 issue, QST HAMSAT writer June 2004, Launching Ham balloons, The Houston QRP Group, The Houston Amateur Television Society, Military radio collecting, Field Day and other Contests, or Ham Cruises: Andy was there full tilt, bar none. No matter the mode or frequency, Andy was there. We will miss his smiling face at the AMSAT booth at hamfests all across Texas; he is the one who would make that happen.
The BVARC folks also fondly remember his talk “Half a Century of Radio - From Crystal Sets to Moon Bounce” at their 2012 banquet.
BVARC has set-up a fund in support of the future and continuing efforts of the Balloon Launch Team. Should you wish to donate to this fund, send in your tax deductible contribution via PayPal or check to the BVARC main address and please note that it is for the W5ACM – Andy MacAllister BLT Fund. See the BVARC web site for more details. You could also donate to AMSAT!
Andy will be missed very much by all of his family, friends and coworkers. He lived life to the fullest, and his lust for life was contagious. Our common interests in everything high tech, scientific & electronic, was shared by many, and he had great taste in food, drink, and music, especially loving classic rock & roll!
We all wish that Andy Rests in Peace and that his family be comforted in this time of reflection of his life and legacy. He will forever be in our minds and hearts.
Andy is ex – WA5ZIB His wife, Heather, is WB5RMA
Marty – WV5Y

Message from
Henry Kolanski
Thu, 05/27/2021

I met Andy at the Open Hole Engineer's logging school. He was a kind and thoughtful man. My recollection of him in the early days, that he was always into being a hamm radio operator. The other engineers would comment on how many antennas Andy would have mounted on his company car, i.e. company radio, VHF, SSB, CB, AM / FM, etc. Andy was before his time with the advent of the cell phone and Facebook, he was always connected!

Message from
Steve and Kathy Royer
Wed, 06/02/2021

Heather, Collin, and Brett- We are so very sorry to hear of the loss of your wonderful husband, father,and grandfather. We just heard of Andy's passing. He was a wonderful friend and he will be missed. Heaven received an angel. Please know you have our deepest condolences. Love and prayers are sent your way.