OK, here's the deal. ath5k is an open source Atheros driver that is included in kernels 2.6.25 and higher. Madwifi is the older, proprietary Atheros driver included with Vector Linux 5.9 for our 2.6.22.x kernel. These two can't coexist. If you're running VL 5.9 there is a test 188.8.131.52 kernel in the repository that you can install that should have the ath5k module if the developers chose to include it.
Vector Linux 6.0 alpha 2 uses a 184.108.40.206 kernel. Again, it likely has the ath5k driver.
I have the opposite problem. On distros that include the ath5k kernel module (i.e.: Zenwalk 5.2) my Atheros 5212-bases wireless card doesn't work. On Zenwalk I had to blacklist ath5k and install madwifi.
ath5k is relatively new. It's going to be up to the VL developers to decide which driver to include by default and which will make things work for the largest number of users. Either way, some users will be left with some tinkering to get their wifi card to work.
Bottom line: you don't need a new package. If your wifi works with Mandriva we can make it work with Vector and can walk you through how to do it. Start a thread in the networking section including the exact wifi hardware you have and we'll get it going for you in the VL release of your choice.