Olin Collegiate Amateur Radio Club
Olin Collegiate Amateur Radio Club (OCARC), originally founded years ago, was rebooted in 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).
Ham Radio Recruiting & Licensing
Olin Collegiate Amateur Radio Club (OCARC) and OSSTP have been hard at work licensing new amateur radio operators (HAMs). As part of our program, we provide complimentary materials, lessons, and testing to anyone affiliated with Olin, Babson, or Wellesley College. Our goal is to improve representation and awareness around the vital role wireless communications play in our daily lives and how they can make our world a better place. We are proud to announce that in 2022 we licensed 31 new HAMs. Here is a breakdown of their demographics:
52% identify as female
23% are from an underrepresented minority group
30 members are Olin students or Administration and one is from Wellesley
It's become a tradition for OCARC members to volunteer their HAM skills at events like the Boston Marathon. Read about their experiences from past events here.
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.