Net aims to promote amateur radio at colleges

Amateur radio seems to be enjoying a renaissance on college campuses around the country. Here in Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, the U-M Amateur Radio Club was revived about ten years ago, and it’s still going strong. They hold regular meetings and have a great station. Their callsign, W8UM, is often heard on the air.

This is not an isolated case.  California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, recently set a record for the largest number of freshmen to take the Tech test, and the Iowa State University ham radio club recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. There are active clubs all over the country.

To help bring these clubs together, Jameson, KD8PIJ, the current president of the U-M ARC, started the Collegiate Net. They meet every two weeks on 20m, and on EchoLink, and the next net will take place this Saturday, May 10, at 2030 Z. The 20m frequency is 14295 kHz. The EchoLink node is W8UM-R.

According to KD8PIJ, he started the net because he saw a gap – or rather an opening – in how amateur radio serves the college community, and decided to start the net to try to fill the void. Its goals are to:

  • promote amateur radio to the college students,
  • share club activities and projects,
  • discuss how to incorporate radio into other college and/or community events,
  • brainstorm ways to increase and retain membership to ensure club longevity, and
  • help new or inexperienced Hams get on the air with a familiar audience.

While the net caters to younger hams, OMs can certainly check in. KD8PIJ says, “We want to hear from everyone! There’s plenty to be learned from alumni hams, and since most clubs include a combination of older and younger members, we want to include everyone. You don’t necessarily need to be connected with a college to participate, either.”

For more information, you can email KD8PIJ or join the Amateur Radio Collegiate Net Google Group. More information on how to join the net is available there as well.

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