Radio group offers broadcast experience to students
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
Oklahoma Student Amateur Radio Club
In the age of cellular communication and the Internet, ham radio may seem like an antiquated means of communication. However, the practice still is alive and well, and the Oklahoma Student Amateur Radio Club is part of it.
The group encourages students to participate in the amateur radio community by providing access to the National Weather Center’s ham radio equipment, which is of a much high caliber than the cheaper hand-held or mobile devices, said Connor Keef, meterology sophomore and the club’s vice president.
Ham radio and amateur radio are used interchangeably to describe the licensed use of a radio frequency that is set aside for purposes ranging from recreation to emergency communication, according to the National Association of Amateur Radio’s website.
Traditionally, meteorology majors have filled the club because of the club’s association with the School of Meteorology, Keef said. However, he and club president Megan McClellan said they are hoping to expand to a broader group of students.
“It doesn’t just necessarily need to be meteorology majors or engineering majors in the club,” McClellan said. “What we really want to work for is having a diverse club. We can have anyone from education majors to aeronautical engineers.”
The group had its first meeting of the semester last Tuesday in the NWC, McClellan said, and discussed its upcoming contest titled “School Club Roundup.”
During the Oct. 15 event, the club will use its station to dial into other universities and clubs to introduce students to amateur radio, McClellan said.
Other amateur radio clubs can be found at universities and community centers across the country, including at Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Community College and the University of Texas in Austin.
The club also holds training sessions to allow people to obtain licenses to use ham radio, McClellan said.
Testing sessions for amateur radio licenses are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Norman Fire Department Training Center at the Max Westheimer Airport, McClellan said.
Keef said that amateur radio is more than a hobby — it’s a community.
“You can hear [members] talking to people like they have known them their entire lives, and they’re talking across the country,” he said.
Talking to someone from across the globe can be as easy as turning a dial, McClellan said.
“You just happen to be on the same frequency as they are, and if you have a license, you don’t necessarily have to know their call sign, their phone number or their Facebook,” McClellan said. “You can just talk to someone and have fun.”