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Joined: Sat, Apr 4th 1998, 00:00 Roles: N/A Moderates: N/A

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Running A High School Amateur Radio Club; What to do and what not to do? N8ERF on 27/3/13
Dennis, I just sent you an email response. I would be happy to talk more with you about this. But first, Mark is absolutely correct. The TI opportunities at ARRL are outstanding. You should definitely encourage that!

I'm going to go ahead and post a lot of what I emailed to you so that others can see it too.


I don't have a set curriculum. I try to cater to the students' interests on the fly. Some years I do different things, all depending on what they want. But, two activities are a sure hit with mine: 1) Transmitter hunts and 2) School Club Roundup. We always plan a transmitter hunt or two each year. We usually do them right after school is out. We build some tape measure antennas, and that gives an opportunity to teach the parts of a yagi and how it all works. Then, we practice hunting, and finally go on a hunt. They love it because the older kids can drive. Any excuse to drive is usually a good thing. School Club Roundup adds a competition component, which the kids really like because there's a point system involved, so they can make immediate measures of their progress. And, since a lot of kids have mic fright, they thrive in the quick paced contesting mode. Everything is scripted out so they know what to say. This also gives a learning opportunity... RST, UTC time, frequency allocations... all things they need to know for the contest. After that, the kids like soldering pretty well so we try to have some project boards for them to make up. When the interest rises, I have offered tutorials and even a class for the Tech license. But I don't start with that for sure. Taking yet another test just doesn't sound much fun. So be sure to get them hooked before you start talking about studying a book and taking a test.

As for the rest of the year, we spend time filling out QSLs from the contest (which again reinforces RST, UTC, etc.), learning about repeaters, listening to drive up window headsets... anything they find interesting.

The one thing you really need is one thing you have... a teacher that they already know in the school. Students feel much safer and more interested if there's one of their teachers that is leading the direction of the club. Then the teacher can introduce them to others that can present special topics from time to time. I think that's really key to making it work, at least in high school. I started the interest up by talking about EM spectrum in my chemistry classes. So when I get to line spectra and such, we go through the whole EM "number line", and I use the radio to demonstrate the differences in frequency, wavelength, and energy. Then I throw in some stories of listening to drive up headsets, airplanes, etc.

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