Kids these days are consumed by cell phones, Twitter Tweets, text messaging and Facebook.
However, there is a group of youngsters in Calabasas, CA. that have become licensed Amateur Radio Operators. That action has led them to become leaders in a new wave of shortwave listeners.
They still consider Morse Code and the old guy with a box of radio parts and coax cable to be very old fashioned.
One middle school 16 year old always thought that cell phones were the most reliable form of communication,. “After all” he said, “Everyone uses cellphones”.
That thinking changed one day when there was a power outage in his area.
He then realized that cell phones and the Internet, things he took for granted every day, just stopped working!
He also learned that battery powered radio equipment and solar powered repeaters continue to provide communication when “shore power” is dead.
When the youngster’s science teacher talked to his class about learning basic radio principals and receiving extra credit for passing the FCC Amateur Radio license exam, the youngster was all ears.
17 students passed the FCC exam that school year.
Over the next three years, 57 middle school students have earned their license. Plans are being made to offer the two day learning sequence in the coming school year.
The basis of the teacher’s motivation to bring Amateur Radio into the classroom was his personal decision to become a licensed Ham Radio operator right after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
The youngster said he was nervous when he first signed on after he obtained his license and his new radio.
“I heard all these adults talking and thought, What will I say? I have only talked to one person my age over the radio. But they can hear your voice and know that you’re young.” he said.
Since high school students have tried and failed to find teachers that will sponsor the program, an attempt will be made to create a high school club to serve as a follow-up to the middle school class and help to keep teens active on the air.
I helped my son achieve his No Code Tech license when he was 11 years old. We attended a two day learning sequence sponsored by SPARC, the Suffolk Police Amateur Radio Club of Long Island New York.
I served as a VE for a number of years and held sessions at Suffolk Community College.
I assisted a long time friend and fellow Amateur KF2P with classroom instruction for the No Code Tech License while working at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Click on the comments link below and add your personal follow up to this story:
Are you a youngster with a Ham License? Who helped you get into the hobby?
As an adult, have you helped youngsters achieve their license?
Are you a teacher that would like to comment on this idea for your own classroom?