Grant: Fernwood Elementary HF/ ARDEN Station

Date: April 2022
Amount: $4,000 CAD

Fernwood Elementary School in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia works hard to support traditional academic areas of learning while offering specialized programs such as a nature program, an Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies (ADST) / STEM focused program, and a vibrant garden program. The digital modes are a great hook for the younger generation who are nervous to talk using voice but would be far more comfortable with keyboard to keyboard modes and other options for mapping contacts. Additionally, in 2018, the school had a large windstorm which knocked out power cut off road access to the school and trapped staff and students for many hours. Since then, the school has moved forward in advancing emergency preparedness, including through amateur radio. Currently they have VHF capability and can send and receive winlink when the power or internet goes down.

The digital communications that this grant would provide would be integrated into the ADST/STEM class. Students will plot and record QSOs on a giant world map and will be learning how to use the computer to access digital modes. The radio bench is located next to one of the seats in the class which will have a rotation of students who will be they key station operator for that two-week time period. They will check into the noon time net, as well as run FT8 and other digital modes to make contacts. The student will then share out with the class about the most interesting place they made a contact with. Additional support will come from the local amateur radio club as well as a nearby amateur radio club for support using the AREDN system.