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Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club achieves 2,000th License Milestone


Updated 7/10/2023

Student-run Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC) at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo County just hit a licensing milestone. On May 23, 2023, Kyle Wiens became the 2,000th person to pass the amateur radio exam given by CPARC since they started in 2009.

Wiens, now KK6FIX, is a Cal Poly alumnus and CEO of iFixit, a company that produces electronics repair guides for consumers. After learning about the approaching landmark, Wiens expressed immediate interest in being that 2,000th licensee.

Weins and several interested members of the iFixit staff took a course from CPARC officers Mathew Shaham, KM6WIU, and Hunter Herring-Alderete, KN6RJA. Then they took an exam.

The session had 28 applicants and was the largest group of the year held by CPARC's Volunteer Examiners. Alumnus Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, served as session liaison and worked closely with student lead Andrew Fahey, KN6FIJ, to coordinate the exam.

CPARC uses an accelerated course licensing technique that became popular through Dr. Dennis Derickson's, AC0P, Freshman Licensing Initiative which started in 2011. Up until 2022, when the FCC began issuing a fee for new licenses, the initiative provided class credit in the introductory course, BS Electrical Engineering EE 111, for obtaining an amateur radio license.

The effort gave new electrical engineering students a preview of topics covered in further classes. It also afforded students a practical outlet for skills like radio contesting and volunteering as communications support for events. At the peak of the initiative, CPARC was licensing more than 100 operators in one 50-minute class period.

"It's a big milestone. Most exam teams don't make it to license number 2,000. I'm really proud to support the students running these exam sessions," Stieber said after the exam session. As the last papers were graded, the majority of student applicants passed in addition to every member of the iFixit crew.



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