Publicising Amateur Radio

Yesterday, 11th December 2013, VK5KC, David, President of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society Inc., (AHARS) and I, attended the Blackwood High School to present two awards to students in year nine. The awards are for achievement in the areas of science and technology. You can see more details in my 2012 report below. This is the second year that our Society has made these awards available. This year two young male students, Mr X and Mr Y won the awards. The Senior Leader for the School in this area stated, ‘…these two students have demonstrated excellence in both achievement and commitment within the areas of Science & Technology. In addition to outstanding achievements in these two learning areas in terms of their grades, they have also achieved the following: (they have) participated in two science competitions (ICAS  http://www.eaa.unsw.edu.au/icas/about and Big Science) achieving High distinctions and for the ICAS they completed the Yr 10 competition and achieved High Distinctions. They are both accelerated into Yr 10 science and achieving A’s at this level. (Both) students participated in the UNSW Science and Engineering challenge (and) were selected for and attended the Siemens Science experience at Flinders university. (They) both attended the Flinders University engineering expo. (Finally, they achieved) outstanding results (high A’S) in their yr 9 electronics courses’.

I had a chance to speak with both students after assembly and Mr Y told me he likes making kits and soldering. Except for the great results and the much improved opportunities for students now, I could see something of my past!

I attended Devonport High School. I was in year nine in 1956 – the year television transmissions began in Sydney and Melbourne. I watched flickering images of the Melbourne Olympics in Devonport. I did not know about tropospheric ducting then, except that signals in Devonport were better in North Easterly weather!  I was building crystal sets and one and two valve regenerative receivers. I also did not know that I would eventually begin on a path of formal life-long learning, something that has enriched my life beyond measure. It is very difficult to imagine what the world will be like when these young men are at my age! I wonder whether they will be chasing SOTA contacts and working QRP from National Parks?

Here is my report from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society Inc March 2013  Newsletter, p. 4.

On a very hot Wednesday afternoon, December 12th, at 1.30 David Clegg (VK5KC) and I (VK5BJE) returned to school. No, it is not because we can’t spell! David originally attended High School between 1962 and 1965 and, for me, 1954 to 1957. But this time we went to Blackwood High School.  Our purpose was to represent our Society at the presentation day for year 8 and 9 students as they complete their work for the year. We were warmly greeted by the Principal of the School, Ms Marion Coady and then set off on a short walk to the Hall were the students were gathered.

The Society’s criteria for selection of students are:

In year 8 or 9 at Blackwood High School

Demonstrated interest in electronics

Commitment to their science and technology studies

Interest in pursuing science and technology as an area of interest.

The appropriate discipline teachers are responsible for making decisions about the successful students.

The formalities were quite informal but orderly. How different from my day! David was invited to present the inaugural awards to the recipients.

(Ms K) produced an excellent report on the history of radio, as part of her work in a Year 9 science class this year.

‘When I first heard we were going to be choosing a specific piece of technology and tracking its progress and evolution, the first thing that popped into my mind was the radio. I am fascinated by Nicola Tesla – one of the closest examples to pure genius this world has ever had the honour of knowing – and his struggles to be recognised as the inventor of the radio.’

The second recipient was (Mr I). ‘ (Mr I) represented the school at the Southern Science Expo during Science week  2012. He was selected to go because of his interest in electronics and commitment to studying Electro-technology and Science in the future’.

The awards are a framed certificate and a $50 voucher for use at one of three retailers including the Society’s sponsor, Aztronics, or the Wireless Institute of Australia book shop or a commercial retailer.

For these young students beginning the early adult life-long journey of learning, the Society hopes that its awards will recognise outstanding achievement among their peers as well as encourage them in their endeavours. The Society aims for its awards to highlight its work at the school, as well as bring a new awareness of our hobby as a potential learning ground for some young people aspiring for a scientific, technical or engineering career. The awards may also demonstrate that amateur radio can be a satisfying, enriching and life-long hobby pursuit for those who undertake employment in different arenas.  David and I represent both these pathways.

We enjoyed the afternoon, sharing with the students their triumphs and were proud to represent the AHARS at this important event.

John Dawes VK5BJE

13th December 2012

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