Radio enthusiasts ‘ham’ it up in Mill Creek’s new club
MADISON – The Mill Creek Ham Radio Club has one student who already has qualified for a license. Local enthusiasts are helping by sharing their knowledge of the field.
This club at Mill Creek Elementary School currently has 16 members. The club will prepare students to successfully take the technician class licensing exam and earn their own ham radio license and call sign, club sponsor Jackie Smith said.
One fifth-grade member, Callie Scroggins, already has earned the technician’s license and has received her official call sign from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “Huntsville Amateur Radio Club (HARC) members were very helpful in guiding Callie through the exam process,” sponsor and fifth-grade teacher Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Smith said.
Several other students hope to sit for the exam in January; if successful, they will have a call sign by February. “After the Christmas holidays, we hope to have some HARC members visit our students at Mill Creek to share their knowledge and expertise,” Smith said.
Because students are preparing for the exam, most time in club meetings focuses on reviewing test material. They also use two meter radios to make contacts with other local ham radio operators.
Smith described local hams’ response and positive outreach as “overwhelming. They have been very supportive and have encouraged our members to become licensed ham radio operators,” she said.
Although the club has been organized for only about a month, the club already has completed one service project.
“We collected pet food for local animal shelters. Most of our students have pets and we thought this would be a great way to give back to our community and to help animals who are waiting to be adopted,” Smith said.
The club is open to any fifth- or sixth-grader.
This interest at Mill Creek seems to follow a trend. St. John Paul II Catholic High School hosted its first annual Amateur Radio Camp last summer. One JPII student there also is licensed with a FCC call sign.