Every once in a great while you run across someone very special. In our Ham Radio world it is not unusual to run into generous people. Certainly lots of folks give of their treasure to most deserving clubs, national organizations and volunteer services such as emergency communications groups. It is indeed a rare event when someone gives their time and expertise to a group of children.
For the past two years I have been practicing code with a friend that is just such a person. He donates his time to a group of children with the express purpose of enriching their learning through teaching them the various laws of the physical universe. I am referring to my code practice friend Chuck, W1HIS. Every Thursday for most of the last several years he spends a day a week bringing radio, and demonstrating various forces to the kids. He has support from his local club and the school system and they have purchased and built a complete ham station in the classroom with antennas on the roof. In his own words:
- I told the kids about, and demonstrated, the classical forces that are easy to observe: gravity, electrostatic force, and magnetostatic force. I told them about “action at a distance” and force _fields_. I told the kids about, and demonstrated, various kinds of _waves_ that are easy to observe: the ballpark-grandstand wave, gravity waves on an air-water interface, and waves on a Slinky. I made the connection between forces and waves.
- Then I told & demonstrated how a changing magnetic field makes an electric field, and a changing electric field makes a magnetic field, so that electromagnetic waves occur.
- I showed them computer-generated animations of E-M radiation from a wire dipole. I related this to our ham station.
- I told them about and demonstrated reflection of waves. I related this to the ionosphere.
- I told them about how the waves our antenna generates may or may not be reflected back to the ground in another state or country, depending….
During one class period the propagation Gods smiled and I actually was able to talk to the kids in their class. We did this on 20 Meters SSB. If all of this isn’t enough, Chuck has embarked on the most difficult task of all: that of teaching the 23 assembled children the Morse Code. Each student has a keyer, paddle, headphone and enthusiasm. Chuck has started them on code at 18 WPM. I’m not sure of the range of code proficiency but I know he mentioned that at least a few could send and receive the whole alphabet with a few minor errors. They have not been active with code for very long so I would say this is a major achievement! It is indeed a rare event to see convergence of a willing professor, a flexible and enthusiastic teacher, a cooperative district and a local club all come together to support a class of children. I think it is one of the neatest things to happen to our hobby in a very long time. Congratulations to all the children, teachers and Chuck!
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W7MAP/5