Monday, March 21, 2011

6th and 7th Grade Math Champs Build Ham Radios... You Can Help!

The following announcement about an awesome program for 6th and 7th graders came through on the RockMite mailing list this morning. Read on to find out how you can help out!

Thirty two "Math Champs" honor students from the 6th and 7th grades at Blaine Middle School in the state of Washington will be building and operating Small Wonder Labs Rock-Mites. The Math Champs represent their school in the Washington State Math Championships. They have finished the first week of their amateur radio program, which is a regular part of their schoolwork – not just an optional after-school activity.

The 32 students each belong to a work group of four students representing a DX country, and they have corresponding mock callsigns which are not currently assigned to any real hams:

Joseph: 3A2JSA, Gavin: 3A2GM, Monika: 3A2MK, Lauren: 3A2LKO, Candace: 9N7CO, Delaney 9N7DN, Kaylee 9N7KM, Darien 9N7DJ, Logan: ET3LN, Chase: ET3CL, Sawyere: ET3SH, Allan: ET3AL, Sarah: HH6SD, Holly: HH6HJ, Andy: HH6AB, Chloe: HH6CF, Kavish: JW5KC, Tayah: JW5TT, Emily: JW5ER, Riley: JW5RF, Jakob: S21JF, Kolby: S21KWS, Spenser: S21SDO, Ian: S21IM, Michael: XW1MB, Jalen: XW1JK, Matt: XW1ME, Zack: XW1ZO, Preston: ZP4PB, Parker: ZP4PB, Greg: ZP4GA, and Ben ZP4BH. Their math teacher sports EY8NH.

The students can recite the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta alphabet, thanks to instruction from Wayne McFee NB6M. They have started practicing ten Morse characters at a character speed of 20 WPM. For "transmitting" practice, they are singing "dits" and "dahs" for E I S H 5 T M O Ø and sos. Next week, they will add A U V 4 and F to that list. Outside of class, they are listening to those same characters on their home computers using the free G4FON Koch Morse trainer program: http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer.htm .

So far, the Math Champs have been learning about radio waves, about the relationship between RF wavelength and frequency, and about the whole RF spectrum from ELF through EHF, with special attention to MF, HF, VHF and UHF, where most hams hang out. The Rock-Mite will be their practical window into the world of radio and electronics. They will study the circuit diagram in detail in addition to building their own rigs. Making contacts on equipment which they understand and have built themselves should be especially meaningful.

All of this costs money. Some of you have already made contributions which we very much appreciate. These eager youngsters need your help. If you are wondering how much would be appropriate for this group of 32 students:
$30 will buy one student a Rock-Mite, associated connectors, and a simple wire antenna.
$15 will pay one student's required exam fee.
Whatever you can afford, you will be giving a big boost to these eager future hams.

Lyle Johnson KK7P and Heather Johnson N7DZU have generously offered a dollar-for-dollar challenge grant which will match contributions received at the Blaine Middle School by April 15 up to a total of $500.

All 32 students will be earning their Tech tickets. We'll make sure of that. Some especially ambitious ones who get a big kick out of studying are considering tackling both the Tech and the General Class exams in the same sitting. Most of those aspiring Generals will be building the 14.060 MHz version of the Rock-Mite. The rest will build the 7.030 MHz Rock-Mite.

All contributions are tax deductable.

Please make out your check or money order to Blaine Middle School designated for Math Champs Amateur Radio Program. If you include your name, callsign and mailing address, the school will send you a tax receipt, plus you will receive a special thank you from one of the students after the FCC has issued them callsigns. Maybe you can make a sked to chat with that new ham on the air.

Please address the payments to:
Blaine Middle School
975 H Street
Blaine, WA 98230

Attn: Math Champs Amateur Radio Program

Thanks and 73,
Bruce N7RR

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