Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ham Radio Scholarships and DeSTEMber

The Austin based organization girlstart.org has declared this month DeSTEMber and dedicated it to getting girls interested in entering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, (STEM), fields.  They're adding a cool new science project to their web site every day during the month.  You can check them out on their website.

When I was a kid, I got interested in electronics when my dad turned up with two giant ham radio boat anchors.  Ham radio is still a great way for kids to learn about electronics.  In a nutshell for those who don't know, ham radio involves communicating across the country and the world using often homemade radio transmitters and receivers.  In order to be able to do this, you have to get an amateur radio license from the FCC which means passing and exam involving  radio regulations and the theory of how radios work.  For way more about what ham radio is and what you can do with it, check out the American Radio Relay League's, (ARRL), website.  A look at the facebook demographics of the free ham radio license practice exams I wrote indicated something a lot of us in ham radio probably already knew.

Participation in our STEM based hobby might be as much as 10 to 1 guys to girls and even though there's no age limit on getting your license, and it's a great way to learn electronics, there aren't nearly as many kids involved as there used to be.

So, I thought I'd write a few posts this month on reasons that it might be worth while to get into the hobby of ham radio.  First reason:  scholarships for college!  The ARRL administers over $78,000 in college scholarships that are intended to further interest in ham radio.  In most cases, all you need to apply is a ham radio license!

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