A record 150 electrical engineering freshman students from Cal Poly will take their FCC amateur radio technician-class license exam this November in the largest amateur radio licensing event ever held in San Luis Obispo County.
Hosted by the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC), this session may be the largest Amateur Radio License Testing Session ever held at the collegiate level. These 150 potential amateur radio operators will join over 700,000 other hams in the U.S. in providing volunteer and emergency communications support for everything from local bike rides and parades to global disaster relief, including the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Dennis Derickson (AC0P), Cal Poly Electrical Engineering (EE) department chair, conceived the Freshman Licensing Initiative which gives every EE 111 student a chance to get their radio license. As part of the EE 111 curriculum, this test session will be administered during the 50-minute class period and count as one of the midterm exams for the freshmen students.
“CPARC members have been hosting review sessions to help students prepare to pass their exam and get introductory knowledge on a wide variety of electrical engineering topics,” said CPARC member Javen O’Neal. “Getting an amateur radio license is the first step towards many career opportunities in the communications industry, from engineering UAVs and integrating Wi-Fi on the Amazon Kindle, to creating 4G cell phone networks and designing communication subsystems on DirecTV satellites.”
CPARC members learn about radios by retuning filters on radios, building directional antennas for transmitter hunts, and putting together an emergency vehicle tracking network for Wildflower Triathlon using two dozen radios and GPS units, digital repeaters, and internet gateways.
Founded in 1947, the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club has a long tradition of communications service on campus and in the San Luis Obispo community. The club maintains Emergency Communications Station No. 16 on the Cal Poly Campus for the San Luis Obispo Emergency Communications Council (SLOECC) which is equipped with emergency power and radio equipment to support various public safety agencies in the event of a disaster. More information about the club can be found at www.w6bhz.org .
Anyone interested in getting their amateur radio license should contact Javen O’Neal, Marcel Stieber (ph: 970-462-7235), or Shaun Koide at firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming testing dates and study material.