Grantee Roundup, June 2024

Here at ARDC, we enjoy hearing stories from our grantees about how their projects are going. Below are some recent updates from York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and W8UM at the University of Michigan.

York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS): Project Target

Grantees from the York Amateur Radio Club (YARC): Mark Pritchard N4MCP and Ephraim Pritchard K4EBP inspecting their work before their next assembly steps for their Go-Boxes.

Mark N4MCP and Ephraim K4EBP inspecting their work before their next assembly steps for their Go-Boxes. Image credit: YCARS

Last fall, ARDC awarded a grant to the York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS) for Project Target, an initiative aimed to remove barriers to access HF amateur radio, promote community communications engagement, and enhance youth support and education. We caught up with John (NJ4Z) and Scott (KG9V) at HamCation 2024, where they gave us some updates on their Go-Box prototypes and their work with establishing local amateur radio clubs at the college and middle school levels. Since HamCation and despite a major storm coming through their area and damaging the club’s ham shack in April, they have completed the builds of one HF Go-Box and two UHF/VHF Go-Boxes, all for community service use, and two UHF/VHF Go-Boxes to be distributed to their local schools. Additionally, YCARS also supported Pleasant Knoll Middle School (Fort Mill, SC) with their ARISS contact on April 22, 2024, where their local news stations covered the event.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE): SWE 2023 Programs

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. In 2023, ARDC funded 30 of SWE’s Global Scholarships, as well as contributed to multiple programs that help women in engineering fields excel professionally and showcase their achievements. Last month, SWE published a blog post that included testimonials from scholarship recipients, emphasizing the significance of ARDC-funded scholarships on their educational pursuits. You can check out the blog post in its entirety at

ARDC also supported a first-time analysis into the impact of SWE scholarships on women pursuing a STEM degree. The results of this analysis can be found at

Funding also supported the SWENext High School Leadership Academy. You can check out a year in review of the SHLA program in this blog post:

The Community Collegiate Affiliate Support & Expansion (CCASE) is designed to encourage more women in community colleges, particularly those facing exceptional financial challenges and from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue a STEM degree. In its first program year, CCASE helped establish seven new community college affiliates/sections and added 81 SWE members.

University of Michigan (W8UM): High Altitude Balloon Tracking Program

W8UM Ham Shack

W8UM Ham Shack. Image credit: W8UM

The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club (UMARC, W8UM) makes available their resources in amateur radio accessible to students, faculty, and researchers both on campus and in the surrounding community. This collaboration leads to further interest, experimentation, and advances in amateur radio.

With a grant from ARDC, W8UM embarked on a high altitude balloon (HAB) tracking program, with the general goal of better assisting students involved in telemetry, communications, and aerospace projects.

Specifically, they sought to improve the methodology for HAB tracking and balloon retrieval while minimizing congestion of APRS networks. They achieved this by incorporating a second transmitter onto the balloon that transmits on a non-APRS frequency. With assistance from Dire Wolf, this second transmitter can beaconing every 10 seconds without any interference into ongoing APRS traffic while still displaying balloon movement on APRS.fl. Using their method provided the students with a detailed visual display of balloon flight and also assisted in rapid balloon retrieval upon landing.

You can learn more about W8UM’s results of the High-Altitude Balloon Project in their article that was published in the June 2024 issue of the K9YA Telegraph.

A giant thank you to all of these grantees for sharing their work with us. Congratulations on all of your progress thus far, and best of luck to our scholarship recipients in successfully completing their educational programs.

To all grantees, we love to hear from you: if you have any updates you’d like to publicize, send them our way at Also, if you see us at a conference and would like to be interviewed by our staff about your project, let us know!