CMoA Summer Camp “Ham Radio for Kids – June 2023”

Last week I had the pleasure of volunteering at Computer Museum of America (CMoA). Myself, along with several other instructors, participated in a summer camp for middle school students. The camp, Ham Radio for Kids, prepared the young adults to take their Federal Radio Amateur (Ham Radio) exam. Upon passing the exam, they would be awarded a license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would authorize them to operate Amateur Radio equipment. 

As part of the museum’s educational outreach programs, and hopefully the first of many Amateur Radio related programs and activities, CMoA partnered with the North Fulton Amateur Radio League (NFARL) to offer a weeklong summer camp, Ham Radio for Kids.  

While many may think of Amateur Radio as an old school technology, it is a mode of communication currently used by almost 780,000 licensed operators in the United States alone.  Amateur Radio can be used to talk to astronauts in the International Space Station, used for communications during natural and man-made disasters, and used during local community events like parades or festivals.  

“Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.

Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” “                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         –Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL)

The camp encompassed a broad array of subjects including electronics, radio fundamentals, radio wave signal propagation, rules and regulations, to name just a few. 

As part of the program, the students received their own multi-band handheld transceivers. The program also included several hands-on projects during the week. The students built a directional “yagi” antenna, participated in an “electronic fox hunt” (an exercise in which they located a hidden transmitter using their directional antenna and their handheld radios) and built code practice oscillators (a great tool to practice and learn Morse Code). 

To say that the students absorbed a huge amount of information in just a week is an understatement. Comparatively, many adults study for months to prepare for this exam. I am delighted to say all the students PASSED the exam and have been awarded Technical Class Amateur Radio licenses!I look forward to the next camp and hope it will be just as successful. 

About the Author

David Bisciotti – KO4USA

Tags: computers, ham radio, summer camps

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