Fall 2009 Issue

ATV

“To the Moon, Alice”

By Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP

Many of you will remember the above declaration, which is from the 1950s television program The Honeymooners, as Ralph Kramden’s vacuous threat whenever Alice, his astute wife, put him in his place. However, to our amateur radio club members at Pueblo Magnet High School in Tucson, Arizona, far from being inane, the phrase “To the Moon” also is more than a trivia answer to a distant sitcom question. Furthermore, it is a message of hope and growth and commitment.

Small ideas, hard work, and fun can become something really big. That is what has happened to the “little engine that could,” otherwise known as the Pueblo Magnet High School Amateur Radio Club.

It Started with My HT

Four years ago my 2-meter HT came to life while I was teaching algebra. The students wanted to know what the funny-looking cell phone was all about. Lots of demonstrations and explanations ensued.

This serendipitous event led to the beginning of ham radio use in the classroom to motivate the students to learn and to apply the math. That same year our Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards (AIMS) math scores skyrocketed at Pueblo. Several reasons were attributed to the significant improvement, and one of those reasons was the increased application of math in the classroom because of ham radio.

Our club has continued to experience other ham radio successes: an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact, students earning their Technician and General Class licenses, the creation of the only amateur television station in a public school in the state, and other significant events.

At present the Pueblo ARC has 27 members. Sixteen of those members are also enrolled in a ham radio class I have begun teaching this year. The class— Radio, Space and Wireless Technologies—is offered as an elective through our Career and Technologies Education Department. The class focuses on the Technician and General licenses, providing instruction and support to students so that they may earn their amateur radio licenses.

The class also focuses on space technologies, with special interest in and study of amateur satellites. The Pueblo ARC has a station setup to monitor and, once more of the students have their licenses, to use the “birds” for QSOs. As part of the preparation for satellite communication, the Pueblo ARC has dedicated many hours to understanding how this particular technology works.

 

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