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ARDC Grants to Fund Amateur Radio Project Expansions


Two recent Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) grants will benefit the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC), K6TZ, and Oregon HamWAN.

A $35,550 grant will enable SBARC to construct an amateur radio station at the new Chrisman California Islands Center (CCIC) in downtown Carpinteria, California, at the invitation of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation (SCIF). According to Levi Maaia, K6LCM, who is the K6TZ club call sign trustee, the station is scheduled to open in 2022. SBARC promotes education and training programs for anyone interested in ham radio. It also encourages and sponsors experiments in electronics and promotes the highest standards of practice and ethics in the conduct of communications.

The station will be prominently located near the CCIC main entrance. An interactive display will provide an overview of amateur radio communications and the role that amateur radio has played in the history of the islands.

When the station is not staffed, visitors can interact with it using a custom touchscreen that controls an interactive presentation on amateur radio and wireless technologies and their importance to mariners, aviators, scientists, and explorers who visit the rugged islands off the California coast. Webcams connected to the station via SBARC’s microwave data network will offer visitors a view of the island’s terrain in real time.

An ARRL-Affiliated club, SBARC already maintains open repeaters, data systems, and a club station in Santa Barbara County under the K6TZ call sign.

Oregon HamWAN has received an ARDC grant of $88,000 to expand its digital communications network. The project aims to enhance amateur radio digital and emergency communications capabilities between Portland and Salem, Oregon.

The nonprofit plans to expand its digital communications network by deploying 12 network backbone distribution sites between the two cities. Eventually, the sites will connect to the Puget Sound Data Ring, which currently extends from Seattle to Vancouver, Washington. The network would allow emergency management personnel to communicate in the event of a disaster, such as a major earthquake, that disrupts telecommunications systems. In such cases, amateur radio operators will be able to quickly set up network nodes where they are needed to provide emergency communication via the Oregon HamWAN digital network. “This will be a game changer for emergency communications in the Portland area,” said Herb Weiner, AA7HW, the Oregon HamWAN Project Leader.

“Deciding to fund [the] Oregon HamWAN project was an easy decision,” said ARDC Grants Advisory Committee Chair John Hays, K7VE. “It is a well-organized and well-staffed project that uses multiple amateur radio technologies, such as the 44Net IP address space, 5 GHz radios, and proven software methodologies. It will provide a strong backbone network in Oregon and help preserve our microwave bands.”

ARDC is a California-based private foundation that supports innovative amateur radio projects. The foundation makes grants for projects and organizations that follow amateur radio’s practice and tradition of technical experimentation in both amateur radio and digital communication science.




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