Ham radio grows at Two Rivers
April 11, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
It’s serious business, this being a ham.
Sixth- through eighth-graders at Two Rivers School learned the intricacies of ham radio during a two-day, hands-on activity that turned part of the school into an amateur radio studio.
Stephen Kangas, a longtime ham radio aficionado, along with teacher Joe Burgener and his assistant Denise Atkinson, hosted the School Club Roundup.
The event, which occurred this winter, was the fifth year that Two Rivers has participated alongside schools across the nation, Kangas said in a press release.
The American Radio Relay League, which sponsored the event across the United States, described the roundup as a way to get young people interested in ham radio.
“Very often, a new operator will be intimidated by the fear of not knowing what to say to the stranger on the other side of the radio,” New York ham radio operator Lew Malchick wrote on the ARRL website. “The exchange of information helps to overcome this fear in a low-pressure format. Operators are encouraged to take some time to chat.”
Results from the February contest featured in the roundup have not been posted yet.
During the roundup, students of all ages, including the middle-schoolers at Two Rivers, used ham radios to learn about topics like politics, culture, law, foreign language, math and science.
Students learn all of these subjects while attempting and achieving contact — via voice, computer and even Morse code — with other schools.
They learned how an antenna works, how its size relates to frequencies, and how the waves used for radio and TV through the air surround us all.
“For many of the kids, the most interesting part came on the second day, when they actually spent time behind the microphone,” Kangas said in the release, “talking to other kids and ham radio operators.”
Students huddled inside a Two Rivers classroom, and chatted with fellow amateur radio enthusiasts of all ages.
Some were close by, as close as Carnation. Some were far away, as far as Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. Topics ranged from just regular breeze-shooting to the Northern Lights.
“During these contacts, they learned about others’ lives, interests, geographic locations and more,” Kangas said.
The next roundup will be from Oct. 15-19, according to the ARRL website. Schools must either have a club license or have a licensed ham radio operator hosting.