Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC)
November 2021

In this issue...

A Note from Rosy

A member of the USS Hornet Amateur Radio Club presenting Rosy Schechter, KJ7RYV, a first QSO certificateMan what a month – in addition to receiving dozens of grant requests and working on a proposal for Points of Presence (PoPs) for 44net, I also got to go to my first hamfest (Pacificon) and make my first contact, thanks to the USS Hornet Amateur Radio Club (see right). I feel like I finally got to experience the magic of amateur radio! Which makes me all the more excited about the grants we’ve been making. Keep reading to learn more about some of the magic from the past month and some volunteer opportunities coming up.

ARDC Needs You!

We are now accepting applications from those wishing to serve on our Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in 2022. These are volunteer positions with a term of one year. These committees meet twice a month for at least an hour. There is also email correspondence and reviews that happen between meetings. Estimated level of effort (LOE) is about 2-3 hours/week.

An amateur radio license is not required to serve on our committees, but a technical degree or experience in digital communications is necessary. In addition, in service of broadening representation in amateur radio, we are looking to broaden the representation of these committees. We are also interested in working with academics involved in some kind of communications research and people who are outside the U.S. (although you'll need a good command of the English language).

Applications are due Friday, December 3, 2021. For more information on how to apply, see this blog post.


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)-USAWhile we are excited about all of our grants, there are two recent ones that deserve special mention. The first is a five-year, $1.3M grant to Amateur Radio on the International Space Station–USA (ARISS-USA) for a project called Student and Teacher Education via Radio Experimentation and Operations, or STEREO. This grant will fund three distinct programs that will enable ARISS to sustain and improve STEAM educational outcomes:

  1. The Space Pioneers Amateur Radio Kit Initiative (SPARKI) will allow ARISS to  send kits that will improve the ARISS educational experience to selected organizations that are planning their ARISS radio contacts.

  2. The Educate the Educator program will conduct educator workshops, thereby creating awareness of ARISS, amateur radio and SPARKI in the U.S.

  3. The grant will also support some of the costs of ARISS contact operations between students and astronauts aboard the ISS over the five-year grant period.

ARISS-USA Executive Director Frank Bauer says “[This grant will] be a STEAM education game changer. It brings wireless technologies and amateur radio into ARISS classrooms.”

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)The second grant that we’re excited about is our award of $318,000 to the Society of Women Engineers. This award will fund 30 SWE Global Scholarships, plus contribute to the SWENext High School Leadership Academy (SHLA),  Community College Women of Color Pathways Research program, and the SWE’s Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI).

Karen Horting, CEO and Executive Director of SWE  says of the grant, “Our new collaboration with Amateur Radio Digital Communications will further our mission to support and empower women in engineering and technology. This grant will have a tremendous impact on our outreach, leadership programs, and research which is pivotal to increasing the diversity and inclusion of future generations of women engineers.” Rosy Schechter, ARDC’s Executive Director adds, “There are few matters in science, technology, and engineering that are more important than equity. Until the demographics of engineers match the demographics of the world, then we still have a long way to go. I am glad that ARDC is able to support the Society for Women Engineers to achieve this vision."

For more information on all of our grants, go to

Library of Congress Grants Software Freedom Conservancy’s DMCA Requests 

In June 2020, ARDC awarded $100,000 to the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit organization that helps people take control of their computing by growing the software freedom movement, supporting community-driven alternatives to proprietary software, and defending free software with practical initiatives. This grant allows SFC to aggressively investigate and litigate violators of the GPL, most notably manufacturers who are using Linux in Internet of Things (IoT) products.

The exciting news is that the work funded by this grant is starting to bear fruit. On October 28, 2021, the Library of Congress issued a rule that grants exemptions for installing alternate firmwares on routers and for investigating copyleft compliance. It also expands an exemption that Software Freedom Conservancy previously applied for and received on Smart TVs.

For more information on this rule, see Software Freedom Conservancy's DMCA Exemption Requests Granted for Alternate Router Firmware, Copyleft Compliance Investigation and More.


ARDC Scholars Point the Way

Frances Bonte, KE8HPA, holding a DX Engineering catalog while en pointeThese days, many hams are worried about the future of amateur radio, bemoaning the lack of young people in the hobby. One of the ways that amateur radio organizations are working to attract younger folks to the hobby is by offering scholarships.

ARDC, for example, gave the ARRL Foundation $400,000 for scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year. This grant funded one quarter of the 120 scholarships given out by the ARRL Foundation this school year.

Mason Matrazzo, KM4SII, sitting at a computerTwo of our ARDC scholars are Frances Bonte, KE8HPA (right), and Mason Matrazzo, KM4SII (left). Frances is studying materials engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and Mason is studying wireless engineering at Auburn University, Auburn, AL. Both are active hams, with Frances favoring the research and experimentation aspects of amateur radio, while Mason is more active on the air. 

For more information on these two young hams, visit the ARDC website and read the complete blog post.

ARDC at Pacificon, Hamcation, and Hamvention

Rosy attended Pacificon, a regional convention held Oct. 14-16 in San Ramon, CA. Though only there for a day, she still got to speak with quite a few people and even see a talk or two. Notably, she got to meet the team from San Francisco Wireless Emergency Mesh (SFWEM), an ARDC 2020 grantee. Their booth was constantly buzzing with people interested in learning more about how they could get on the network. She also got to attend a Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL) forum and meet the team from the USS Hornet Amateur Radio Club – NB6CG – a meeting that would lead her to later visit the famous carrier ship and get on the air for the first time. With a few hundred people in attendance, the event was a small but mighty delight. 

Our next appearance will be at Hamcation, in Orlando, FL, February 11-13, 2022. John Hays, K7VE, will be speaking about ARDC on Friday, February 11, at 1:15 pm. We will also have a booth there and would be happy to meet with you. After that, ARDC will be at the Dayton Hamvention, May 20-22, 2022. Our booth will be in Building 1.

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Our Mission

The mission of Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is to support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, to promote amateur radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology.

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