One club on campus that many
students may not know about is the
amateur radio club.
HAM radio, also known as
amateur radio, is the use of a spectrum
of radio frequencies for recreation.
It is used to exchange messages,
experiment with the equipment,
training and sometimes emergency
The club has around 20 members,
ranging from students, to faculty, to
members of the community. People
from all over Portage County come
together through their love of radio.
The club is mostly for people to
just have fun. Members can meet and
connect with other people all over the
Travis Augustine, a club member,
says he first was introduced to it by a
friend in high school.
“The furthest contact I’ve ever
had was a guy in New Zealand,”
Augustine said. “I reached him from
my backyard with my equipment.”
Members call up other people
known on air by their Federal
Communications Commission call
signs. The club’s sign is WB9QFW.
Augustine states there’s no
shortage of people to talk to. People
are always chatting about anything
from the weather to personal issues.
The airwaves are monitored
by volunteers. This method of self-
policing restricts the use of profanity.
Anyone can listen in to two people
chatting if they’re on the same
The club puts its knowledge to work in the community and helps
out with events such as the Special
Olympics, providing communications
for the duathlon. They notify
members at points along the course
and radio ahead if anyone needs
assistance. They also participate in
weather spotting and the Amateur
Radio Emergency Service (ARES)
The group also participates in
Field Day, which is a contest where
amateurs show off their skills in
emergency simulations. The amateurs
have to make contacts within 24 hours
to help out communications in the
According to the club’s
website, WB9QFW.com, the ARES
consists of licensed amateurs who
have voluntarily registered their
qualifications and equipment, along with their local ARES leadership, for
communications duty in the public
service when disaster strikes. Every
licensed amateur is eligible to apply
for membership in the ARES.
A person can become an entry
level operator in as little as a weekend.
The first level is a technician, second
is general and third is amateur. The
more a person levels up, the more
frequencies they have access to.
It’s not difficult to get a license
and call sign and trainees get a guide
to teach them how to operate the
More information about amateur
radio can be found at WB9QFW.com
and the group meets in the George
Stein building on the second Tuesday
of every month.