Olin College Amateur Radio Club
Olin Collegiate Amateur Radio Club (OCARC) was an old Olin club that was founded years ago, but was rebooted the year of 2019. Amateur radio, or ham radio, is a service and hobby that brings people, electronics, and communication together. Instead of using a cell phone or a computer to communicate, Hams use radios, antennas, and specific frequencies to talk to each other across the globe. If you have a radio and a license, you can communicate with anyone.
Our club wants to take our love for this hobby and create a ground station at Olin that can be used to participate in contesting, communication, receiving data from and transmitting to satellites, and more. As of now, we have build several antennas and are learning to use our software defined radio (SDR).
In order to learn how antennas work, we decided to build and test four simple omnidirectional eggbeater antennas: two 2m (VHF) antennas and two 70cm (UHF) antennas. The 2m band and the 70cm band are very common ham and small satellite bands and let us transmit and receive on the frequencies in those bands. This project allowed for both groups to get hands on experience with creating antennas as well as learning the process of testing antennas.
OCARC conducted extensive research before building our ground station. After comparing many types of radios, antennas, and ground station set-ups, we decided an SDR and a directional antenna best fit our ground station needs. We decided that the best way to test this completely new setup was to build and test four simple omnidirectional eggbeater antennas. We chose to use an SDR because it is easily programmable and allows us to simulate a radio using our computers. Eventually, our ground station will be able to contact other ham stations as well as satellites, space stations, and more.