The Ohio State University has an Amateur radio club. The club was founded in 1926, so it has been around a LONG time. There is a lot of heritage in the club. I am a Ham radio operator (obviously), so it makes sense that I am a member of the OSU Amateur Radio Club.
I would have ended up with W8LT no matter what, but I have a neat connection to the club. Here’s a quick story about it:
I came to OSU fall quarter 2006. I had already known about the club before I came here. W8LT is one of the most well-known university call signs for the reason of past contests. Many well-known contesters were cultivated at W8LT. Back about 20-30 years ago, W8LT was one of the biggest signals on the bands. The club members were knowledgeable and dedicated to the understanding of radio systems. They got on the air and made the W8LT signal heard. They placed high scores in dozens of contests.
Enough of the history. Before school started up at OSU, that summer I was in Columbus as my mom and step dad live here. I was on the local 146.760 repeater and was talking to someone, I believe it was Tony KC8PZU (now KC8PZ). AB8VE broke in and Tony told him he was talking to “Steve, KC8QVO. Hes from your hometown, Dayton”. I didn’t know this at the time, but Dan, AB8VE, had changed his call sign. Talking to him, I didn’t recognize who he was. I had AB8VE talking back to me. It just didn’t register in my head who he was.
Fortunately, I haven’t changed my call sign (yet). Dan recognized the call sign and was a bit shocked. He asked to make sure I was the same “qvo” he talked to on the 145.110 repeater in Dayton. He mentioned his previous call sign was KC8UDJ and that’s when it hit me who he was! I used to talk to him all the time. He and I were the only younger guys on the repeaters in Dayton, so we had a unique connection. Its not often being in your late teens that you have someone else close to your age to talk to on Ham radio. Granted, there are even younger kids on the bands. Having someone right in your hometown to talk to that is your age is pretty cool.
Long story short, it turned out he was the president of W8LT. They were going to be having their Field Day operation at Matt KD8ANP’s house in Delaware and invited me along. So I changed my Field Day plans and headed out there. Boy, what an experience! The people were great. I had a spectacular time!
Now, I am actively involved with the club. I don’t hold an official position yet because I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay at OSU after last winter or not (read my post on “OSU-School” if you want to get in to that). So I didn’t want to run for office.
However, I have a deep interest in W8LT. I talk to people all the time on the radio who remember how W8LT used to be. I wish the club was as great as people say it was. Unfortunately, these days interest in Ham radio is fizzling out. Its not just with our club, its the hobby/service as a whole. Since we don’t have many active student members to begin with, the club really has been hit hard. We aren’t as active as a whole because of it. We need to generate new interest in W8LT. We need to spark enough interest with people that they become dedicated to helping and preserving the club. To do this, we need to spark interest in Ham radio. We need to get new people together to show them what we do. We need to get them on the air and able to feel the magic of radio. Its one thing to be sitting next to a box with a microphone and talking to someone else, but to share that magic with someone who doesn’t know about radio and has never experienced anything like it before is very powerful.
Field Day is one BIG exception to our lack of interest, however. Field Day brings people out of the woodwork you would never know about otherwise. If there is any one event that shows what ham radio is, can do, and how fun it can be – Field Day is it! There just is no other event like it. To bring everyone together and have such an intensely enjoyable event is so great.
I wish we could bring people together like this more often. It can’t be done by one person, or a handful of people. It requires the interest and dedication of the club as a whole.
One of my goals being at The Ohio State University is to spark off some interest in Ham radio in others. Because Ham radio can be a technical subject (see some of my posts about Ham radio on here), many people shy away from it. I am a technical person. I dive right in to how it works and why it works. In explaining Ham radio, that flies over a lot of people’s heads. For me to spark interest in Ham radio in others I need to come up with a way of explaining Ham radio that is interesting to people. Its not a very easy chore, but I think it can be done.
I made a flyer for the Fall 07′ Welcome Week Involvement Fair. I took the initiative to do it because no one else really showed much interest. The day before the event I hit the flyer hard. I got it printed out at the Union about an hour before the event started.
In the flyer I explained Ham radio briefly. I only had so much room and I didn’t want it to be over-loaded (back to explaining Ham radio so its not so technical.. its hard for me to do). I put pictures in it and tried to lay it out in an interesting way so that people would want to read it. I am a creative person to a certain extent, but this flyer really wasn’t easy for me to make. I got it done and I think it is a decent, informative piece of information on what Ham radio is and what the club does.
I hope the flyer is the beginning of an interesting period in my time at OSU. It still can be improved. With the collaboration of club members I think it will turn in to a wonderful document. I planted the seed, now hopefully it grows!
I am now the Treasurer for the club. We sorta had elections at the start of the school year and needed someone to step up to the plate. I figured Ill be here long enough, now, that I can hold an official position. So that’s what I’m doing!