Members of the local university-community K7UAZ Amateur Radio Club installed a new antenna on the roof of the Old Engineering building, expanding their abilities to connect with like-minded people across the world. For the past few years, the group has been upgrading radios and transmission lines for the antennas they use to communicate, including replacing safety wires securing the antenna tower. But they took a major step forward in March, when they raised a 15-foot by 30-foot, 60-lb antenna onto the roof of the Old Engineering building.
“What I like about the nature of amateur radio is taking ownership and understanding how wireless communication works day to day,” said Sarah Li, a molecular and cellular biology major who is in the process of changing her major to systems engineering. “It’s easy to just take advantage of it, like, ‘Oh, of course I can just call someone,' or 'Of course I can use the map app on my phone.’ But this is about building an understanding of the world around you and how it works.”
“We had antennas up there that were probably 20 or 25 years old,” said Curt Laumann, an ECE research engineer and technology programs advocate who manages the club. “It was a nice mix of teamwork: We had ropes, we had pulleys, we wore gloves, we wore hard hats.”