Stray Signals

Sea Cadets earn Ham Radio Technician License – ThurstonTalk

Submitted by Jeff Winner for Olympia Amateur Radio Society

During the Winter break from school, local Sea Cadets of the Capitol Battalion Sea Cadets took the opportunity to earn their Amateur Radio Technician’s License. On December 18 through 20, Thurston County District 13 Griffin Fire Station hosted these local Cadets. The class and hands-on practice were provided by Lee Chambers KI7SS, Steve Ward WC7I, and Bruce Montgomery WA7BAM, from the Olympia Amateur Radio Society (OARS). Following their test on the 20th, the group received a gift of five hand-held VHF/UHF ham radios on Thursday followed by a field trip to Lee’s (KI7SS) shack. On Friday, they visited the Thurston County Emergency Operations Center and talked with Emergency Coordinator, Tom Bohon W7BHN.

How did this training come about?

In order for the cadets to receive promotions in the Sea Cadets they have to complete several requirements. One of the requirements is to attend an advanced training for each promotion. These training camps, usually 1-2 weeks long, take place all around the country and cover just about any subject you can think of. But, due to budget changes this year within the federal government, it was unclear if there were going to be any training opportunities within driving distance of Olympia during winter break from school. The unit leadership started looking at training opportunities we could provide locally for our cadets. Ham radio seemed like a good fit on a number of levels, from the opportunity for more community service if they earned ham licenses, to fitting in with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program which would benefit our cadets in virtually any career field they choose to enter after leaving the Sea Cadet program.

I was vaguely familiar with the Olympia Amateur Radio Society (OARS) because I had started to get my ham license a number of times over the years.  I emailed the person listed as the training contact on the OARS website, Lee Chambers KI7SS, to get advice on how to go about putting on a ham radio class. At that point Lee pretty much laid out the entire 5-day course for us including finding instructors and guest speakers for the week. Then it was just a matter of finding out how many cadets and adult leaders were willing to commit a week of their time over the holidays to learn about a subject that many of them had never heard about before. In the end, we had four League Cadets (age 10 to 12), three Sea Cadets (ages 13-17) and four adult leaders attend the training.

Who instructed the class?

Olympia Amateur Radio Society Sea Cadets
Front row: Jaxon Wolfe, Joshua Merry, Caleb Swanson. Second row: Stephanie Winner, Jasmine Gilliland, Jackson Winner, Skyler Tanaka. Third row: Aaron Hayes. Not shown: Jeff Winner, Deb Laur, Evan Laur. Photo credit: Bruce Montgomery WA7BAM

Lee Chambers KI7SS and Steve Ward WC7I were the lead instructors for the course.  Both were incredible with the kids and made the at times highly technical subject matter engaging and fun.  Bruce Montgomery WA7BAM, the current President of OARS also spent a day instructing during the week.  Lee also arranged for the cadets to tour the Thurston County Emergency Communications Center and talk to Tom Bohon W7BHN the Emergency Coordinator for Thurston County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.

Did any of the students receive their ham license?

We decided to title this training “Theory and Operation of Amateur Radio” or “TOHAM”. OARS administers a ham license testing session every month prior to their regular Wednesday meeting.  Because of the way the school holiday schedule

Read the full article at https://www.thurstontalk.com/2018/01/12/sea-cadets-earn-ham-radio-technician-license/. STRAY SIGNALS does not claim ownership of the article.

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