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Full Schedule of Youth Activities Featured at ARRL National Centennial Convention


[Updated 2014-06-24 @ 2217 UTC] The ARRL National Centennial Convention July 17-19 in Hartford, Connecticut, will feature a wide-ranging slate of youth activities aimed at younger hams and prospective hams. Scheduled on Friday and Saturday, the youth activities include two youth forums, a hidden transmitter hunt, a scavenger hunt, and the Youth Radio Lab. The ARRL Discovery Station in the ARRL exhibit area in the Exhibition Hall Friday and Saturday will highlight programs of interest to visitors of all ages, with an emphasis on younger visitors. A separate forum will expand on some of the Discovery Station presentations and activities.

“The Discovery Station will have a range of hands-on exhibits to help visitors to understand the basics of radio waves, and projects that young operators can explore in the world of exciting world of Amateur Radio,” said Tommy Gober, N5DUX, who will head up the ARRL Discovery Station team. “Stop by the Discovery Station to discover the different parts of what makes up a radio wave, try out some of the electronic kits available through the Education & Technology Program (ETP), and get inspired to create something of your own.”

Gober said the Discovery Station will feature some of the robots developed by ARRL Teachers Institute participants, as well as a CubeSat simulator, and an audio-frequency oscillator with an oscilloscope display and speakers — to help visitors understand the relationship between amplitude and frequency. Visitors will be able to change these relationships by moving their hands over a sensor. “We’ll also have two different-sized coils to stretch or shrink to demonstrate the relationship of coil size and spacing on inductance,” Gober added. “Essentially, [we’ll offer] stimulating, hands-on things for visitors to do.”

Visitors do not need to be Amateur Radio licensees to attend the convention, but registration is required for all attendees, including youth. Two-day tickets (Friday and Saturday) are free for those who are age 21 or younger. Advance registration is recommended.

Youth Forum Schedule

  • On Friday at 1 PM, Tommy Gober, N5DUX, invites all comers to a Youth Fox Hunt. Young radio amateurs are invited to explore the basics of radio direction finding in a hidden-transmitter hunt — or fox hunt. The activity will involved the use of directional antennas to hunt down two secret transmitters.
  • On Friday at 2 PM, presenters Carole Perry, WB2MGP, and Kyle Watt, KD2DWC, will host Youth Forum #1. This is an opportunity for younger and older radio amateurs to see a project on “Rapid Deployment of Antennas for Portable Operations,” developed by KD2DWC.
  • On Friday at 3 PM, Tommy Gober, N5DUX, invites young convention attendees to learn some of the hows and whys behind the activities and demonstrations at the ARRL Discovery Station. It’s an opportunity to learn the basics of frequency, amplitude, and interacting with simple circuits.
  • On Saturday at 9 AM, the Youth Scavenger Hunt gets underway. Tommy Gober, N5DUX, invites young radio amateurs to join the search for various items in and around the Centennial Convention. Prizes will be offered to those who are the first to find certain individual items as well as to those who are first to complete the entire list.
  • On Saturday at 10 AM, Carole Perry, WB2MGP, Devlin Murray, KC2PIX, and Chris Blackwood, KD2CXC, will host Youth Forum #2. This forum will offer a youthful perspective on robotics, Amateur Radio, and public service. It will include a demonstration of the robotic device that the young people have built.
  • On Saturday at 11 AM, the Youth Radio Lab with Tommy Gober, N5DUX, will feature an exciting, hands-on activity. Those attending will build a simple crystal radio receiver, which they can take home.

Amateur Radio License Examinations

The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator will offer Amateur Radio license examinations on Friday and Saturday, July 18-19. Exam sessions will take place at 10 AM and 2 PM in the Capital Room of the Hartford Marriott Downtown, which is attached to the Connecticut Convention Center. Examinations will be offered at all levels.

Applicants should arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the exam session to ensure a spot. A photo ID (such as a driver's license or passport) and a copy of your current Amateur Radio license (if applicable) are required. Applicants do not need to pay Convention admission in order to test.

For more information, e-mail or call the ARRL VEC, (860) 594-0300.

Youth Forum Presenters

Tommy Gober, N5DUX, is an ARRL Registered Instructor, ARRL Education & Technology Program Instructor, and a former classroom teacher who delights in helping young and old discover the wonders of radio, electronics, and the joy of learning. He enjoys hands-on learning projects.

Jennifer Gober, KE5LNK, is a classroom teacher who enjoys working with students and helping them to discover their individual talents and interests. She has taught students at all ability levels and has worked in the classroom for 10 years.

Carole Perry, WB2MGP, has moderated the Youth Forum and the Instructor’s Workshop at Dayton Hamvention® for many years. She is a popular keynote speaker and seminar leader at numerous teacher and radio conventions across the country. Perry taught school in Staten Island, New York, from 1981 until her retirement in 2004, and created a curriculum to introduce Amateur Radio into the classroom. Her contributions to Amateur Radio have benefited hundreds of schools and thousands of students over the years.




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