Local Amateur Community Rallies to Support Collegiate Club for QSO Party
From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Fri Oct 13 19:53:22 2023
By Todd Emmert, W9TWE
Indiana State University Amateur Radio Club, W9ISU, had a successful ARRL Collegiate QSO Party, held October 7 - 8, thanks to the support of local hams.
The club has faced challenges in recent months, including being displaced due to campus renovations and having minimal student involvement; they didn't even have a multimode, multiband transceiver. In an effort to boost interest and attention to amateur radio, Faculty Advisor Dr. Robert Girod, N9RNV, offered 10% extra credit to students who earned their Technician-class amateur radio license. That incentive, along with efforts from student leader and W9ISU President Rowan Eggert, WO1P, helped turn things around. The club received a grant from the school that allowed them to purchase three stations, Icom IC-7300s with Heil Pro 7 headsets, foot switches, and antennas. The gear made it possible for them to set a goal of having everything up and running for the 48 hours of the ARRL Collegiate QSO Party.
Eggert listed the event on the local radio club's social media pages to get the word out to any alumni that would be interested in helping or getting on the air.
She also got with the local Boy Scouts and set up a public demonstration during the QSO party for them. Eggert also invited other faculty to stop by and see what W9ISU was all about.
There was hurdle after hurdle during the week leading up to the event. After finding out the newly ordered antennas were not shipped, and there weren't any solid answers on when they would ship, Rowan went into crisis management mode and reached out to local hams and clubs --the amateur community rallied. Local radio amateurs provided use of a Yagi for satellite contacts, and three multiband, portable verticals and coax for the HF stations.
Friday night, as the operating event neared, Eggert; Seth Byas, KI5QHD, and Dr. Girod were unable to get the SWR correct on the antennas, so they reached out on a local repeater for assistance.
It just so happened that one of their supporting clubs and ARRL Affiliated Club, Wabash Valley Amateur Radio Association (WVARA), W9UUU, was having a dinner and meeting a few blocks away. After WVARA tended to their own club business, a calvary of hams showed up with an antenna analyzer and over a century of cumulative expertise to help get all three W9ISU stations on the air in less than 45 minutes. (They complied with the event rules, which stated operating only one transmitter at a time.)
The W9ISU club went on to stay up day and night making contacts, eating food, talking radio, and hosting guests and alumni for the next 46 hours.
Faculty Advisor David Barber, KB9YDX, brought technical expertise and donuts on Saturday and Sunday.
The club members were anxious to get the logs compiled and see how they ranked in points. Regardless, they learned a lot and felt the support of their amateur community.
ARRL has resources for collegiate amateur radio clubs. The ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Program (CARP) was established to support and promote Amateur Radio among students and ham radio clubs at colleges and universities. More information can be found at www.arrl.org/collegiate-amateur-radio.