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Can I Have Amateur Radio for $1000, Alex?: Young Amateur Makes Her Mark on Jeopardy!

07/08/2010

For hams who are fans of the television quiz show Jeopardy! -- where contestants have to answer in the form of a question -- the July 6 show was a real treat: Andrea Salt, KE7OPV, of Gilbert, Arizona, was a contestant. But what makes Andrea’s time on Jeopardy even more special is that she is only 13.

All this week, Jeopardy! is hosting their annual Kids’ Week. To be eligible to participate in Kids’ Week, all contestants must be between the ages of 10-13 and pass an online test consisting of 30 questions. The questions cover a variety of categories and the kids must answer each question within 20 seconds. And yes, spelling does count!

Andrea -- an ARRL member -- said she became interested in Amateur Radio in the summer of 2006. “We went to the Charlotte, North Carolina science center,” she said. “My dad and I challenged each other to get our licenses. I got my Technician license in August 2007 when I was 10. Now I enjoy teaching people about Amateur Radio at the Arizona Science Center.” Dad is Thomas Salt, AD7PM.

Andrea told KNXV, the Phoenix ABC-affiliate television station, that appearing on Jeopardy! was “a dream come true. I’ve grown up watching Jeopardy.” The day she found out she made it onto the show, she said her mom took the phone call from the Jeopardy! producers while she was doing her math homework. But her parents held the news back a little: “They made me finish my homework and practicing my flute before they even told me,” Andrea said, adding that she celebrated with a lot of jumping up and down and screaming.

This was her second attempt to get on Jeopardy! and she said the test was not easy. “There was some stuff I knew, but I didn’t get it written down in time, and some stuff I just didn’t know,” Andrea said. Her father says he knew if Andrea went after it, she would achieve her goal: “She just has a wealth of knowledge,” he said. This future veterinarian said that her favorite Jeopardy! category is “Rhyme Time.”

When it came down to show time, Andrea said she wasn’t even nervous. “All I did was focus!” But when asked what her favorite part about appearing on Jeopardy was -- the tough questions, being in front of the audience, maybe even achieving her goal -- she replied that she “really liked having sodas and cupcakes for breakfast.”

After the first set of commercials on Jeopardy!, host Alex Trebek interviews each contestant. In her interview, Andrea mentioned that she is an Amateur Radio operator. Unfortunately, Andrea did not win her round, but her future is definitely a bright one. A well-rounded young lady who enjoys playing the flute, reading and teaching others about ham radio, we will be looking for great things from Andrea.



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