News Page 7 - SARCNET

School Amateur Radio Club Network
School Amateur Radio Club Network
School Amateur Radio Club Network
School Amateur Radio Club Network
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News Page 7
This page contains all the latest news about school amateur radio clubs. Please contact us to add your SARC news to this page. Send us a picture and description of your SARC activities. Remember to get parental permission to publish student photographs on this site and in our newsletters.
SARCNET @ Rosebud Radiofest
Inspired by our success and the public response to our message at the Ballarat Hamvention, SARCNET set up shop at the Rosebud Radiofest, run by the Southern Peninsula Amateur Radio Club (SPARC) and held at the Eastbourne Primary School in Rosebud. Every year, SPARC puts on a very good show indeed. It is always meticulously organised. There are informative talks, vendors and a huge number of door prizes.

Our Morse code practice sets were a big hit again, and our USB rig interfaces did well too. But, is our message of "Promoting Amateur Radio to kids" getting through? Well, it is really hard to tell. We had lots of interest. Everyone likes the idea, of course, but they aren't really committed to the next step. That is: Getting kids on the air and building up electronics kits. So we will need to do more to show them how. Next year, all going well, we will be pulling out all stops and trying several new ideas.

SARCNET @ Ballarat Amateur Radio Group Hamvention 2019
In a new approach for us, promoting Amateur Radio to kids, SARCNET set up a table at the annual Ballarat Amateur Radio Group Hamvention. For those of you wondering, a Hamvention, Hamfest or RadioFest is a gathering of Amateur Radio enthusiasts for the purpose of catching up with old friends, exchanging ideas and pre-loved radio gear. This year's event was no exception and very well attended (Congratulations to BARG!).

Now, the main purpose of SARCNET is to promote STEM in Primary Schools by encouraging the Amateur Radio fraternity to get involved in what we do. Our message is very simple:

  • Promote Amateur Radio to Kids
  • Pass on your Skills to Youngsters
  • Start a Youth Program at your Club
  • Start a School Amateur Radio Club Yourself (Every school should have one)

We figured that we could spread that message best by getting out into the community and doing our thing. So far, we have tried Amateur Radio institutes and clubs, school excursions, open-days and science-weeks, ANZAC-Day events, Scout jamborees, public demostrations from mountain summits (SOTA), national parks (WWFF), museums (IMWW), ships (HMAS Castlemaine) and lighthouses (ILLW), but we just weren't sure how it would go at hamfests.

So we decided to put on a demonstration of all the things that the SARC kids do and have made during the year. And, to encourage folk to get involved, we had plenty of the same kitsets that we use at our schools on offer. Those included:

  • Electronics Prototyping Kit
  • Morse Code Practice Practice Set
  • Plated Through Hold (PTH) Soldering Practice Kit
  • Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Soldering Practice Kit
  • PTH Christmas Tree Kit
  • SMT Electronic Dice Kit
  • USB Micro Soldering Irons
  • Arduino Microcontroller Kits
  • Note: All our kits use lead-free solder

Well, it was a great success!

  • We talked about youth, STEM, schools and Amateur Radio to many who passed by.
  • We had quite a few purchase a kit and take it home to interest their own youngsters.
  • We handed out free Amateur Radio brochures, Frequently Asked Questions, Portable Operation notes and lead-free solder samples.
  • We donated a Morse code set and a soldering iron to the club as door prizes.

SARCNET @ Jamboree On The Air 2019
This year's event was organised by Melbourne Cubs coordinator Murray VK3MJT. It was held at the First Glen Iris Scout hall. The event was open on both Saturday and Sunday to any nearby groups, who may not have organised their own JOTA event, to just drop in.

SARCNET helped Murray set up his Amateur Radio shortwave antennas ready for a real on-the-air experience. Murray ran the station and taught the Scouts basic on-air procedures. When the conditions were right, they were able to contact other groups from around Australia. SARCNET provided a Morse Code activity and an Electronics Soldering activity, which were also both well attended.

Morse Code Activity
Groups of Scouts sat around a table, each with a Morse Code practice set and an International Morse Code chart. Slowly at first we learnt the letters A through E. Then we picked up the speed to about 8 words per minute. Everyone learn't the Morse characters easily. In a week, at this rate, they would have it all down pat. Then we spelt out everyone's name. They really enjoyed that. Some had really interesting and musical names in Morse Code. Then we noticed that one child was reciting other letters and numbers, without being taught. "You memorised the whole chart, didn't you?" we asked. "Yes, he said". Simply unbelievable!

Electronics Soldering Activity
Soldering dozens of 1/4 watt resistors onto a double-sided, plated-through hole, printed circuit board may not seem awe-inspiring to you, but to our active group of cubs and scouts, attending JOTA 2019, it was a real hit. For some, it was the first time they were allowed to use power tools and they loved it! Precision and timing are the key to good soldering and these kids can do both. We were amazed at the quality work done by students as young as five. Having proved themselves at this task they can now graduate to building their own electronics kits. Good job guys.

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