Students Join Ham Radio Enthusiasts in Deerfield

Oct 12, 2018

 

A volunteer shows students from Concord Regional Technical Center how to use Morse code.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Ham radio and Morse code enthusiasts are gathering at the Deerfield Fairgrounds this weekend for the New England Amateur Radio Festival.

 

The event has come to New Hampshrie for decades, but this year for the first time, a program called New England Tech Trek is catered specifically to middle and high schoolers.

High school teacher Lisa Marcou brought a group from Concord Regional Technical Center. Standing in between a table of circuitry boards and remote-controlled robots, she calls the event a "one-stop-shop:"

 

"It exposes them in one place to see a variety of different applications," she says. "So they're learning why they need physics, they're learning why they need to know how electrityc and electronics works; they're learning where code is used in all our automated systems."

 

One of Marcou's students, Colin Dubois is at a nearby table learning code - Morse code, that is.

 "A dot and a dash together would create an 'a' - dash dot dot dot would be 'b,'" he explains. "And there's a whole other bunch of series and sets to create numbers and letters. And you're using these telegraph systems in order to be able to transmit these messages using Morse code."

 

At the New England Amateur Radio Festival, students communicated via satellite with ham radio users throughout the country.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

One of Dubois' favorite discoveries from the day: if you get good enough, Morse code is faster than texting with a smart phone.