Spring 2007 Issue
Opportunities for the New Ham
By Keith Pugh, W5IU
Kid’s Connection simulated ARISS contact.
The author and Kid’s Connection Director Cindy Wooten work with the
students to simulate or reenact an ARISS contact. The Kid’s Connection is
an after-school program operated by Hemphill Presbyterian Fellowship for
Elementary School children from Daggett Elementary School in Fort Worth,
Texas. A presentation about the International Space Station, the
astronauts on board, and the school that made the real contact preceded
the reenactment. A long Q&A session followed
Since my last column, the amateur radio bands
have been restructured and Morse code has been eliminated as a requirement
for amateur radio licensing. None of these changes have directly affected
the Amateur Radio Satellite Service, but the influx of new and upgraded
licensees could and should affect our service. Educating these new folks
and educating our school children calls for “Imagination in Education.”
On December 15, 2006, restructuring of the amateur radio bands took effect. This restructuring did not directly affect any of the amateur radio satellite allocations, but it did widen the phone allocations on many of the HF bands and set the stage for the next step—elimination of the Morse code requirement for amateur radio licensing.
This huge step came on February 23, 2007, and
we are already seeing many new and upgraded licensees showing up on the
bands—particularly HF. The Amateur Radio Satellite Service should receive
its share of these new folks as well. Many of them have been out there
waiting for years to get into amateur radio, but didn’t want to bother or
couldn’t learn the code. Many are technically inclined and are naturals
for operating via the satellites. Some, too, are apartment dwellers,
naturals for the small and portable antennas that can be used to work the
Let’s take advantage of this new influx of
amateur radio operators and steer them into the Amateur Radio Satellite
facet of our hobby. We have space on the satellites now, and we could
certainly use some “new blood.”
Years ago I was challenged by a first-grade teacher, Dr. Debbie Coonrod, at Riverside Applied Learning Center in Fort Worth, Texas asked me to help her establish a contact for her students with the cosmonauts/astronauts on board the MIR Space Station during a Space Day at her school. Then, like now, it was impossible to guarantee such a contact with a short lead time and on a specific date/time.
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