Date: November 2021
The Valley Radio Club of Oregon (VRC) began operating a ham radio station at the Eugene Science Center with volunteer operators in June, 2014. The station was largely assembled from equipment borrowed from club members.VRC volunteers have operated the station every Saturday from 2014 until the temporary closure of the museum due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The station has entertained thousands of visitors (many of them children) and has been an excellent STEM teaching tool. The station provided a hands-on (and often first) experience with 2-way radio for many visitors. As the museum is slowly reopening, the ham radio station will be returning to normal operation. However, most of the station equipment is 20-30 years old, and has started to experience equipment failures.
With ARDC funds, the VRC will be able to complete a station upgrade, by way of a club-owned, modern station, to provide a more reliable and effective hands-on teaching experience at the museum. This includes transitioning to a portable station architecture, able to be deployed at different locations within the museum and connected to antennas and grounding via patch cables, or even be operated outdoors. The museum has no licensed ham radio operators on staff, nor expertise in ham radio and is very supportive of the VRC retaining ownership of, maintaining, and deploying the station at the museum for many more years to come.