By Molly Burke
Youngstown State University’s amateur radio station, K8YSU, was dedicated on Jan. 21 in Moser Hall during a ceremony honoring benefactor and founder Albert “Norm” Into Jr.
Despite being established over 40 years ago, the club mainly operated in a small closet until this year. A generous donation from Into Jr. allowed for expansion, new equipment and a refurbished room on the third floor of Moser.
Halfway through the six-and-a-half-year process of relocating the club, Into Jr. passed away on Feb. 9, 2019.
Wim Steelant, dean of Science Technology Engineering Mathematics College, was a featured speaker at the dedication ceremony. Steelant met Into Jr. before his passing and said he set out to find a space worthy of K8YSU.
“About five years ago, I had the pleasure to meet Norm for the first time. I just listened to the passion that came out of Norm … everything had to do with amateur radio,” Steelant said. “From the moment I left there … I said ‘we’re on a mission, buddy. We’ve got to get out of that closet and we’re going to get a real space going that is worthy of K8YSU.’”
At the dedication, students, staff and family members of Into Jr. spoke fondly of his life. Brian Nord of the YSU Foundation said he wanted to show gratitude for Into Jr. and his family.
“This is a great memory and what a great gift. What a great legacy here. Thanks so much to Norm for this,” Nord said.
Nord also gave special thanks to Norm Into Jr.’s wife, Frances Into, who said she appreciated the hard work of family, friends and colleagues. “You’ve all been so, so powerfully important to making Norm’s dream come true. I thank you very much,” Frances Into said.
Frank Sole, director of the amateur radio club, said Norm Into Jr.’s contributions have created many opportunities for members of the club.
“Norm Into [Jr.] was one of the founding fathers of K8YSU. He gave YSU the equipment,” Sole said. “It’s basically a resource on campus where students can come and operate amateur radio equipment, talk to people all over the world, try different experiments, build different things.”
K8YSU is licensed by the Federal Communications Commissions. Sole said the licensure allows students to interact with all licensed amateur radio stations, participate in nationwide competitions, and serve as a vital resource to the Youngstown community.
“If amateur radio goes away tomorrow, the community loses a very important resource, if nothing else, in the emergency world. We’re like the minute-minute communications. We come out of the woods with our own stuff, no taxpayer dollars at all, and it doesn’t cost the community a cent when there’s a problem,” Sole said.
The club also offers morse code classes and teaches students how to operate equipment. Sole said this helps students who want to become individually licensed in the future.
For more information on the amateur radio club, contact Sole at [email protected].