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Ham Radio DIY at Maker Faire

05/26/2009

Ham radio demonstrations and displays are in the works for Maker Faire the world's largest do-it-yourself (DIY) festival. This year, the festival will take place at the San Mateo County Expo Center in California on May 30-31. According to ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R --who is attending the fair along with dozens of San Francisco Bay Area hams -- this annual event showcases the country's best innovations in science and technology, engineering, arts and crafts, food and music. "It's no surprise that such an event has captured the attention of the ham radio community. Do-it-yourself, or DIY, has always been a signature of the Amateur Radio Service," he said.

Inderbitzen said that this year's Maker Faire theme -- ReMake America: Building a Sustainable Future -- is based on President Obama's call to action to participate in a new era of DIY. "The Amateur Radio community fits this mold perfectly," Inderbitzen said. "Hams represent the very best of service-to-country and community. We're both doers and makers of things."

A large exhibit area at Maker Faire is planned to help spotlight ham radio. The Foothills Amateur Radio Society is the primary sponsor of the Amateur Radio exhibit, but volunteers from many participating ham radio clubs and other related groups -- including the Silicon Valley Amateur Television Group, the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association, the Mad Scientist Amateur Radio Club, the Kings Mountain Amateur Radio Club, the Burlingame Red Cross, BAERS Ham Cram and Ham Radio Outlet are going to be there, as well. The coordinating effort is being lead by ARRL Santa Clara Valley Assistant Section Manager Michael Pechner, KI6QNZ, of Palo Alto.

Inderbitzen said that the exhibit will include equipment demonstrations, a basic radio station setup intended for beginners, home brew project displays, an emergency communications van, live amateur television demonstrations and ham radio and radio control planes, as well as a demonstration pairing APRS and model rocketry. Club representatives will be on hand to discuss public service opportunities and to assist newcomers with information for getting started in Amateur Radio. Teachers and students who attend the Maker Faire on May 29 will get to see ham radio educational demonstrations on the day before the official Faire opening.

Started in California in 2006, Maker Faire is held annually in San Mateo, California and Austin, Texas. Maker Faire is supported by Make Magazine, craftzine.com and O'Reilly Media. Additional details about ham radio at Maker Faire, including special event operating frequencies, are posted on the Foothills Amateur Radio Society's Web site.

For more information on the 2008 Maker Faire in Austin, Texas, check out this article by ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX.



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