HAM Radio at Girl Scout STEM Day

Saturday, Nov. 18, Valley Radio Club and the Salem Radio Club jointly participated in the Girl Scout Western Washington and Oregon STEM Day in Salem, OR.  It was located at the Salem Convention Center and was a perfect spot for the exposition.

There were 1,600 scouts and their chaperones present for a fun day exploring the many aspects of science and technology.  Representatives from commerce, industry, education and interest groups occupiied 168 tables providing the attendees an introduction to the many  various levels and branches of science available for young women and girls to explore.  Of course, HAM RADIO was a perfect fit for displaying our talents and hobby to the scouting organization.  Our booth was constantly filled with enthusiastic scouts and adults  learning about our hobby.

The Valley Radio Club provided the demonstration process, the handout materials and people.  Salem Radio Club (Mark) put the station together, insured operability through the WA7ABU Salem repeater, and of course people.  We organized the booth into three sections.  1. The intro to amateur radio area where handouts were distributed, and the scouts learned about CW (morse code) and phonetic name spelling.   2. The radio station demonstration contact and 3. The Special First Contact Award presentation from the GS STEM Day exposition.

Our volunteer hams received “on the job” training for what to say, what to expect and what to do with the scouts.  I personally could not have been more proud of the performance of the group explaining amateur radio to the hundreds of guests visiting the booth. (yes, hundreds).  Due to the number of visitors attending, the demonstration contacts were kept to about 1 every 4 minutes.  We manned the booth  from 0900 until 1200, and then again from 1300 until 1600.  One hundred contacts were performed through the WA7ABU repeater, and many more hundreds of visitors gathered the handouts and played the morse games.  The Amateur Radio booth received special attention  on their girl scout visitors feedback boards for being one of the best tables at the STEM Day. The booth would not have been successful if it were not for the many, many dedicated hams RESPONDING on the repeater to our calls for contacting the scouts at the STEM Day.  Our heartfelt thanks to the Salem ham community giving great information and friendly conversation to the girls for over 6 hours on anything from pets names to favorite colors to their age and of course why do you like ham radio.  The WA7ABU repeater provided excellent coverage over a 50 mile radius.    There were NO missed call-outs!  A response was received every time.  I wish I had recorded your calls.  Many were noted on our white boards as we operated, then erased.

Mark Holt – W7EAZ

I want to thank Mark Holt for taking the lead on this. Mark you did a fantastic job and it sounds like this is a good event to show a presence at.

Mike Reed – KJ7BRF – SARC VP