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CCCCD Radio Field Day Event Draws Visitors Of All Ages



CCCCD Radio Field Day Event Draws Visitors Of All Ages

JULY 10, 2002 - Collin County Community College District's Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco recently hosted National Amateur Radio Field Day, with participants ranging in age from 13 to 80 years old. Plano teenager Stephen Brock, made his first radio contacts at the Field Day event and spoke to people in North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Brock recently acquired his first amateur radio license (KD5SYT), Technician Class, from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is a recent graduate of the college's Tech Camp 2002, a camp designed to bring math and science to life for area teenagers.

"It is fun, and I am enjoying finding the stations and talking. In Tech Camp, they taught you what you were supposed to say and how to find the signal," Brock said.

Ham radio is now a father-son hobby for the Brock family. Stephen's father, Larry, made a deal with his son about earning the FCC license. If his son passed the test, then he would also take the test. There are now two licensed Ham radio operators in the Brock household.

But teenagers were not the only ones chatting over the airwaves during the college event. The last time Harold Thompson, an 80-year-old resident of England, was on the air was during World War II when he used Morse Code. Thompson took time out of his Texas vacation to get on the air and make radio contact with a resident of North Carolina. Though he does not have an FCC license, Thompson, like other Field Day visitors, was able to operate the radio under the supervision of licensed operators.

"I think it is very good," Thompson said. It was amazing how you could speak to someone miles and miles and miles away."

Besides exposing visitors to Ham radio, the national Field Day event allowed members of the K5CCC college amateur radio station to practice their emergency skills. In the event of a disaster, the radio club would set up a generator and radio equipment in a matter of minutes and serve as a communications hub for area residents. During the 24-hour event, the K5CCC station operators made 800 contacts throughout the US and the world. Members made contacts with other radio operators as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Puerto Rico.

To learn about amateur radio, visit the American Radio Relay League web site at http://www.ARRL.org/pio/whatis.html .

For more information about CCCCD's amateur radio station, call the college's Engineering Technology Department at (972) 377-1715.