From communication support during regional emergencies to connecting with the International Space Station, amateur radio operators have a long and storied history. New amateur radio clubs are emerging on college campuses, and to help encourage that growth two Rochester Institute of Technology engineering students have developed an online support tool to keep the tradition alive.
“Our Web site, CollegeARC, will provide not only an interactive way for the college amateur radio clubs and operators to communicate, collaborate and share their experiences but also provide a needed resource of relevant information for clubs to grow,” says Brent Salmi, a third-year electrical engineering student in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “College amateur radio clubs are spread out across the country and do not interact often; CollegeARC will fill this need and provide a link between clubs.”
CollegeARC.com will supply information to help new clubs form, promote membership and increase club activities, explains Bryce Salmi, a third-year electrical engineering student. The twin brothers are members of the RIT Amateur Radio Club K2GXT, a student organization first established in 1953. “We intend to bring the college amateur radio community together in a way that has not been tried before. Using the interactive Web site is our effort to give back to the amateur radio community and inspire enthusiasm to younger and older radio amateurs alike.”
The Web site is open to interested operators, both new and experienced. There is no cost for membership.
Brent and Bryce Salmi learned about amateur radio while growing up in Chelmsford, Mass. They built their own wireless radio equipment and began learning the skills necessary to become amateur operators.
The brothers are licensed operators by the Federal Communications Commission, the organization overseeing amateur and commercial radio frequencies and usage. Brent Salmi is a ‘general’ class license holder; Bryce Salmi is an ‘extra’ class licensee. They established their first club while in high school and have developed the Web site to ensure that others interested in amateur radio would be able to easily start up their own.
“Amateur radio has given us a lot,” says Brent Salmi. “We want to give back. With the Web site we can give back. There are a lot of college amateur radio sites, but we’re all separated. This is a way to share ideas and experiences.”
Amateur operators learn from other operators, usually family members or friends and then, through the wireless radio, connect with other amateurs. “This is a ‘sustainable’ community,” says Bryce Salmi. “It’s awesome to see others getting enthused about this. The website can be a way to have clubs grow and keep enthused.”
More about the Web resources can be found at www.collegearc.com