Grant: Upgrading the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club “Shack”

Date: November 2021
Amount: $22,000

The California Polytechnic State University Amateur Radio Club (CPARC) has a long tradition of communications service both on campus and in the community of San Luis Obispo. The club helps get students licensed and then provides the facility and equipment for them to get on the air. More recently, this has included projects such as setting up a DMR repeater for students to use, and the implementation of a remote HF station last year around the start of COVID. While the system worked well as a stopgap solution when school was fully virtual, CPARC quickly realized potential issues, as well as some areas for improvement that could be beneficial in both everyday operation as well as in emergency operation scenarios as an emergency communication center for the county.

The “Shack” is the main headquarters of the club. Inside the shack is a full HF station, an APRS station, soldering iron, test equipment, computers, microwave, refrigerator, and couch. Pretty much everything a college student needs in life! The grant funds will allow the shack to upgrade one subsystem at a time. Upgrading the club’s technology to modern equipment will allow the club area to continue being a space for students to come and experiment, apply their knowledge in a hands-on philosophy, and help them grow as engineers for their future careers. The work will be completed by the current students as most of the upgrades and projects are fairly straightforward and allow for students from many majors to participate and learn more about the equipment, the station, and how to operate it. For the more critical jobs like wiring the solar panels or making sure all the grounding and wire gauges for power distribution are correct, CPARC will work together with club advisors who have experience in these fields as well as working with the Cal Poly electrician department to get the installations signed off and verified.

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