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WestFest STEM Event Offers Hands-On Experience


Amateur radio was represented at the seventh annual WestFest event at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, September 30, 2023. WestFest is a public engagement event that highlights science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research, sustainability initiatives, and outreach programs at The Ohio State University. The event featured three behind-the-scenes tours and 39 activity booths.

The Amateur Radio and RF Club at The Ohio State University, W8LT, and the All Things Amateur Radio Association, W8ATR, provided information and hands-on STEM experiences for nearly 400 attendees. The W8ATR Mobile STEM Trailer, funded by a grant from the ARRL Foundation, included a CW oscillator, a display about the history of Morse code, and signage explaining the history of wireless technology and radios. Three Snap Circuits® stations were set up for visitors to build an FM radio, and there was a working replica of a spark-gap transmitter. The trailer also featured a complete amateur station with a telescoping mast and a quarter-wave vertical ground-plane antenna.  

"It's important to have amateur radio [be] a part of the STEM experience," said Lawrence L. Feth, PhD, Professor Emeritus and Faculty Advisor to W8LT.  

ATARA Activities Director Diane Warner, KE8HLD, said throughout the day the STEM trailer hosted 52 adults and 80 children. "Watching the children's faces as they experience the sounds and sights of amateur radio technology is aways rewarding," she said.  

Additional information about WestFest is available at The Ohio State University website.



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