Importance of Amateur Radio in Schools

It is vitally important that we make efforts to bring Amateur Radio to young people in schools and other venues. When we spend time bringing Amateur Radio to young people, we accomplish two important things. First, we have the potential to change a young person’s life for the better by involving them in Amateur Radio, a hobby and a service that inspires a lifetime of STEM learning and often leads to lifelong careers in Science or Engineering.

Secondly, our work in schools is one of the very best ways that we can make the general public aware of the positive benefits that Amateur Radio provides to their kids and to the general public.

Supporting STEM Learning At Sussex County Charter School for Technology

In my role as an ARISS Program Mentor, I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with Sussex County Charter School for Technology (a charter school in NJ) students and teachers to help teachers there to deliver their summer Radio Camp.

The summer Radio Camp was a STEM education program that the school developed in support of their upcoming contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS). Members of the local Sussex County Amateur Radio Club teamed with the teachers at the school to deliver a 5-day program grounded in STEM learning through Amateur Radio.

DX Experience on the HF Bands
Hosting DX Contact Experience on the HF

Radio camp activities included many hands-on Amateur Radio activities such as making DX contacts on the HF radio bands, building electrical circuits, practicing morse code, a Fox hunt, building and operating a portable HF station, flying a radio-controlled drone, and more.

Satellite Contact at School
Satellite Contact at Sussex County Charter School for Technology

The students and their teachers also learned about how they can make contacts with other Amateur Radio operators through satellites in space.

The student’s parents joined them on the last day of Radio Camp to learn about Amateur Radio and the activities that their kids had done with the school during the week.

Building Public Awareness and Support for Amateur Radio

Helping Hudson Memorial School students to talk to an astronaut on the ISS
Helping Hudson Memorial School students to talk to an astronaut on the ISS

The photo above was taken during an event that I had the great pleasure to help a local school with a little while back. As President of the Nashua Area Radio Society, I led efforts to help Hudson Memorial School, a public middle school here in New Hampshire, to prepare for and make contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station using Amateur Radio. The photo was taken just before the school’s contact began. The school’s principal is explaining Amateur Radio and the positive impact that it has had in his school to hundreds of parents, teachers, school board members, and public visitors. Imagine the impact on public support that we had as part of this project.

These are the sorts of activities that I want to work on and encourage with Clubs and Hams here in New England as director. I also believe that the ARRL can do much more to promote and encourage projects like this to create public awareness and support for Amateur Radio.

Hams, Clubs, and the ARRL have a much greater potential to generate positive public support for Amateur Radio including for legislation to protect our rights and our spectrum through work with young people in schools than we have by lobbying alone.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC


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