Grant: York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS)

Date: June 2023
Amount: $99,723

The York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS), founded in 1948, serves as the oldest continuously operating amateur radio club in South Carolina. Their goal is to promote amateur radio community service and fellowship in York County and its surrounding area. Their members range from individuals that have been licensed for over 50 years to women and middle school aged children. Over the past 4 years, they have increased their membership from 40 to over 120 members. The challenges that the residents of York County face are low school rankings for mathematics (and by proxy STEM education), a need for reliable and efficient communication services for community events due to their increasing population, and a need to improve accessibility for radio equipment to their residents who are limited by restricted HOAs and/or ordinances of assisted living facilities.

This grant will provide funding for ‘Project Target’, which seeks to remove barriers to access HF amateur radio, foster greater community communications engagement, and enhance STEM education and youth support. To minimize barriers to HF amateur radio access, they will create HF Go-Boxes that will serve as a communications backup should other forms of transmission fail; allow for portable ops, such as POTA and Field Day; and provide remote access to hams that live in HOAs, assisted living facilities, and/or other locations that hinder the ability to operate an effective station from home. Also, they will upgrade their much-needed radio equipment and build a deployable repeater, both of which will allow them to meet their growing communication needs of the diverse range of community activities offered in York County. Finally, they will be able to advance STEM support through a program comprising hands-on projects, as well as establishing school radio clubs and offering a scholarship at York Technical College.

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