Grant: McKenzie Center Amateur Radio System

Date: November 2023
Amount: $15,700

The Bernard K. McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology (MCIT) is the high school career center for students in the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of the Lawrence Township in Lawrence, Indiana that focuses on STEM subject areas. MCIT is renowned as one of the top Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools in the Midwest, and in August 2023, they received the Excellence in Student Pathways award via the Indiana Department of Education. As amateur radio is a possible gateway for STEM-related topics, the Titan Cadet Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) meets as a for-credit course at MCIT and has provided radio communication equipment for instruction and promotion of radio communication capabilities. Though they have purchased basic VHF and HF equipment, antennas, and coaxial cables, they would like to build on this to further expand their capabilities.

This grant will provide funding for MCIT to build an antenna “farm” on their roof and add additional, more capable amateur radio gear. This new gear will provide the ability to connect to a GOES satellite for real-time weather monitoring, as well as to connect to other satellites for hemispheric communication. Once the systems are safe and operational, MSD students and employees will have the option to register for free amateur radio instruction that can lead to becoming licensed. As a result of this funding, there will be improved visibility to STEM-related subject areas, and expanding radio communication capabilities will attract more students to STEM and will also provide students exposure to STEM-related employers, thus improving their career opportunities.

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