Sci-Tech Takes Amateur Radio Further

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Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Plano has designated permanent space for the Brandenburg Life Foundation Amateur Radio equipment on the main display floor.  The equipment will be enclosed in a special modular display with glass panels.  The 80 square foot enclosure will allow multiple operators to operate the station equipment while visitors watch and listen.  Sci-Tech hosted over 50,000 visitors during the fiscal year that ended in May 2013.

The radio equipment is open to the public one-day each month to provide awareness about Amateur Radio.  Sci-Tech plans to continue its support of the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) program and the One-day Radio Merit Badge program that was pioneered here in Texas.  Other camps and special events are planned to introduce Amateur Radio to youngsters.

The Plano Amateur Radio Klub (PARK), McKinney Amateur Radio Club (MARC), Lake Area Amateur Radio Club (LAARK), Denton County Amateur Radio Association (DCARA) and other interested radio operators support K5STC’s operations throughout the year.  Sci-Tech needs your help to complete the station enclosure and increase awareness about Amateur Radio in north Texas.  You can target your donation to the K5STC fund by clicking on the Donate tab on the top of the page at www.mindstretchingfun.org.  Be sure to include the station ID, K5STC, in the Comment section of the donation form.

Here is how Blake Margolis, KE5WSS, described his experiences at Sci-Tech in an address at the recent Heroes of Discovery lecture at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX on September 25, 2013:

Good evening. My name is Blake Margolis, and I am in 9th grade at the new Plano Academy High School. My class will be the first to go through all four years of it. The Plano academy high school is a project-based learning program. It also focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). I like going there because it is a better fit for me and lets me focus on things that interest me.  I have always liked the sciences.  I would wonder about pulleys and electronics from as long as I can remember. I never enjoyed toys as much as other kids, I don’t know why, but I enjoyed vacuums more.

In the fourth grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Stelzl (Christina Stelzl, KE5BYS). I soon learned during the weather unit that she was a Ham radio operator and a storm spotter. I had always wondered what Ham radios actually were, so I told her I was interested in getting my Ham radio license. She told me to come to the Plano Balloon Festival and find the radio station that they were using to track the balloons. There I met Allen (Allen Batteiger, WB5QNG), who told me he was going to run a class to get people their license, and I signed up for it.

The radio class was long, about 12 hours, and I was by far the youngest person there. My grandpa took the class with me.  He had worked for a radio communications company before and had wanted to but never did get his license. After I had completed the test, I waited while the VEs  graded it. After a while my name was called and everyone cheered.

I have been involved with Sci-Tech since they first opened at the Shops at Willow Bend and when they opened their first exhibit, Grossology, at the current location in Frisco, TX. I got even more involved when they opened a Ham radio station.  I really like what they are trying to do at Sci-Tech and I know that it will influence many kids to go into the STEAM fields, like it did for me. It is very hard for a kid to find a passion.  I am just very lucky.  I know that Sci-Tech will help accelerate that process for many kids.  We are all thankful for those who volunteer their time and support such an important cause.

Contributed by Barry Goldblatt, WA5KXX

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