I have an Atheros 5212 based card as well. VL 5.9 uses an older version of ath5k which doesn't correctly recognize the 5212 chipset. This has been covered in detail in this forum several times before. Wireless Assistant won't solve your problem since you still lack an adequate driver.
You have three options:
1. Upgrade your kernel to 2.6.27 or better which has the correct driver built-in.
2. Download and install the older madwifi driver. You'll need to compile it from source.
3. Upgrade to Vector Linux 6.0 rc4 which has the required driver as well.
eMachines EL-1300G desktop, 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e CPU, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 6150 SE video
CentOS 6.5 (will try VL64-7.1 soon)
Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727, Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950
HP Mini 110 netbook, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, Intel 950 video, VL 7.1