RF equipment for radio club

I am a Freshman studying Electrical Engineering at the New Mexico School of Mining and Technology University, and am enthusiastic about radio frequency design and experimenting. As an FCC licensed Extra class ham radio operator (KD0WHB), I am always looking to improve on existing radio based systems and remain on the cutting edge of wireless technology. As the 2016 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year, I am always working to promote the hobby and influence other students to obtain their own license.

For anyone who is new to the world of ham radio, this hobby was formed as far back as the early 1900’s and was introduced by early wireless experimenters including Marconi, the first to send a signal across the atlantic. Although many people may claim the hobby is out of date, and uses old technology, this is not true, and amateurs should be known for keeping up with leading edge wireless technology.

I became president of TARA (Tech Amateur Radio Association) this Fall after bringing the club back to life. Through the weekly meetings, we influenced 10 students (KG5PYJ - KG5PYQ) to test and pass their amateur radio exam at the local hamfest. Different projects including building a linux-based APRS tracker, creating a foxhunt (hidden transmitter) activity for a local school, and the repeater project headed to the roof of the tallest building have inspired students to explore the possibilities of wireless.

As we dive deeper into various projects including the repeater we are soon placing on top of the school, the need for radio frequency test equipment has been on a large increase. Filter cavities for proper repeater performance need sensitive tuning adjustments, receiver and transmitter analysis needs to be performed to ensure a proper setup, and alignment needs to be performed on certain radios to transceive into the amateur bands.

In addition to benefiting the club and fellow college students, a service monitor will also allow active hams in the community to experiment and test their own RF equipment. The Socorro Amateur Radio Association (SARA) does not currently own a service monitor, and currently all equipment tuning needs to be done through a few members occasionally in town.

A decent service monitor can be obtained for around $1000-1500, which is out of the allocated budget by the student government. Donating to the cause will support education in wireless technology, and inspiration for other students in many following years to pass the license exam. The club will greatly appreciate any help towards the equipment, and it will be put to good use for many years to come.

I will personally mail a DVD containing a 440MHz repeater setup, construction, tutorial and demonstration (including internet linking) for any donation over $50. This video will be complete once the repeater is installed after the holiday break in January 2017.

Skyler Fennell


Skyler Fennell
Socorro, NM

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