Congrats to Bloomington IN South HS - and to WB9VPG, the teacher behind the ham club !

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K7JOE, Jan 28, 2019.

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  1. K7JOE

    K7JOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    My friend Neil, WB9VPG is far too humble to boast about this but it made front page news so let me share the accomplishments of the Ham and his High School Ham Radio Club - he's the guy behind the mic in HAM TALK LIVE and a Ham who is getting new student-hams into the hobby and on the air - all winning in the process. Neil - sincere congrats and thank you for the effort to elmer the newcomers ! Keep up the momentum !


    Once a week, the students of Bloomington South’s Amateur Radio Club head up to the school’s
    penthouse and reach out to the world.

    “Kilo-Nine-Sierra-Oscar-Uniform, CQ, CQ,” they call onto the airwaves, issuing an open invitation
    to other amateur radio operators to get in touch with them. Using a rotor and antenna to direct
    their signal and an amplifier to boost their range, the ARC members scroll through frequencies
    transmitting their call sign: K9SOU.

    The club’s work on the airwaves is paying off. On Jan. 1, the team received oicial notification
    that they’d won first place in the high school division of the American Radio Relay League School
    Club Roundup competition — for the third time in a row.

    And that’s not all: They also won first place overall, beating out college teams including Georgia
    Tech, Purdue University and Harvard, making them world champions in the School Club Roundup
    competition. The competition took place Oct. 15-19, and students were limited to a total of 24
    hours in that time frame. They received their oicial notice of victory just a few weeks before the
    next competition, which takes place over the week of Valentine’s Day.

    In the roundup, which challenges amateur radio clubs to communicate with as many call signs as
    possible, the three current members of South’s amateur radio club made 746 contacts, reaching each
    U.S. state and 33 countries, including Canada and as far away as Algeria, Bosnia, the Canary
    Islands, Russia, Namibia, Svalbard and Portugal.

    “We try to talk to as many other schools as possible,” said Neil Rapp, the club’s sponsor. “That’s
    kind of the intent of the contest, is to get school clubs around the world on the air at the same
    time, so the kids can talk to other kids.” They talked to 44 schools in this year’s competition,
    but they don’t limit themselves to schools. “We also just try to contact anybody and everybody
    that’s on the ham radio, and try to cram in as many as we possibly can in that time.”

    The student radio club has been around since 1942, when it belonged to Bloomington High School.
    It’s been going on and off ever since, including a year during World War II when it shut down
    because the government needed all the radio frequencies, Rapp said. It had been on hiatus for some
    time before Rapp revived it in 2001. Notable contacts include the International Space Station in
    2006 and an expedition on Antarctica’s Peter I Island.

    The club has had a few dozen members at a time. This year, after many older members graduated, the
    club is down to three members: Trevor Cutshall, Zach Kasper and Adam Terry. Certainly the club’s
    small size hasn’t hurt its world standing, but Rapp would still like to promote interest in the
    group. Ham radio operation brings into play several fields of science, not to mention geography and
    foreign language knowledge.

    “There’s all kinds of chemistry and physics there with how the radio waves work, how they bounce
    off the atmosphere, what causes interference on the radio and things like that,” Rapp said.
    “There’s a lot of connections to a lot of school subjects. This just reinforces what they’re

    It’s also a useful skill. During natural disasters or failures of cell towers, ham radio operators
    step in to provide an alternative means of communication.

    “It has the potential of being life-saving in an emergency situation,” said Michael Belanger, a ham
    radio operator from Prescott, Arizona. Belanger was on the air one recent Monday as
    Terry scanned the frequencies. After chatting with Terry for a few moments, Belanger agreed to be
    interviewed for the story. “If people don’t have power and whatnot, we can still operate our radios
    on battery power, or solar, or a combination of the above when necessary.” Depending on atmospheric
    conditions, they can broadcast their signals worldwide. “There’s not too many public service
    agencies that can do that,” Belanger said.

    Belanger has never had to step in for an emergency situation. Neither have Rapp or the members of
    South’s amateur radio club, though they have assisted with community events such as the Hilly
    Hundred bike race in the fall. They might never need to use their radio skills during a crisis, but
    practicing ensures that if the need does arise, they’ll be able to help.

    “If a person can’t practice their craft, they’re not going to know how to use it in an emergency,”
    Belanger said.

    Reach Brittani Howell at 812-331-4243.
    K9CTB, N9KFW, K4SAW and 5 others like this.
  2. W9WWG

    W9WWG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kudos to the young Hams here in Indiana. It's great they are participating like they are.
    WB9VPG likes this.
  3. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nice article. Congrats to the club!
    K9CTB and WB9VPG like this.
  4. KC3SWL

    KC3SWL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Fantastic. need more radio operators in the hobby ....
    K9CTB, WN1MB and WB9VPG like this.
  5. WB9MSM

    WB9MSM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey way to go Neil and all the students at K9SOU for taking first place in the School Club Roundup three years in a row!!! WOW what a force to be reckoned with. 73 from the Badger State, Denny WB9MSM
    K9CTB, WN1MB and WB9VPG like this.
  6. AI1G

    AI1G Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congratulations, Bloomington South ,K9SOU, and sponsors. I have at least four contacts in the past few years, and i hope to work you next month in the Roundup.
    K9CTB, WN1MB and WB9VPG like this.
  7. WB9VPG

    WB9VPG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, Joe. As I said on social media, I’m so proud of these students who earned this and all the ones before them that laid the groundwork and elevated us to this level. We are all thankful to those that have donated funds, equipment, food, drinks, and assistance to keep this growing. Thank you.
    K9CTB, W5AVN, WB9MSM and 2 others like this.
  8. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats to the club and to Neil! Y'all rock!
    K9CTB, WB9MSM, K7JOE and 1 other person like this.
  9. W2CSI

    W2CSI Ham Member QRZ Page


    I remember working them and it is great news to hear they won the contest.
    K9CTB likes this.
  10. N9SYI

    N9SYI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Years of preparation by Neil to achieve this. Congratulations to Neil Rapp and Bloomington South.
    K9CTB likes this.

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