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Help needed to revive LTU's amateur radio club

Release Date: August 5, 2014
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Kun Hua

Assistant Professor Kun Hua of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is leading an effort to reinstitute W8LTU, LTU’s amateur radio club for ham radio operators. Otherwise, its license and call sign could expire in April 2015.

Ham radio has a long history at LTU, most recently when the Lawrence Tech Wireless Society was granted a license in 2002. The following year its call sign was changed to W8LTU. The group has been inactive for several years.

Now is a good time to reinstate the club, according to Hua, but support is needed from LTU faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

“It’s not your grandfather’s ham radio anymore!” Hua said. “LTU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has recognized that amateur radio’s long history of experimentation is the right vehicle to attract university students.”

Amateur radio can provide hands-on exposure to software-defined radios. The club will have access to two Flex-5000 transceivers; exotic PSK, JT-65, and Olivia digital modes that receive signals below the noise floor; and communication via amateur satellites.

The club will have two licensed ham operators to get things started – Hua and Jerry Begel, the education coordinator for the Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club.

Since 2010 Hua has been teaching EEE 6444, a software-defined radio course for ECE graduate students, and has advised software radio student research projects. He can provide space for the student club within his laboratory in the Engineering Building, several software radio systems, and future grant support.

A steering committee meeting will be held later this month to map out plans for the new academic year. If you can help, contact Hua at khua@ltu.edu or Begel at W9NPI@arrl.net for information.