By Matthew Sotlar
Youngstown State University’s amateur radio station K8YSU competed in the American Radio Relay League’s School Club Roundup from Oct. 16 through Oct. 20.
The School Club Roundup is a nationwide, radio-based competition that challenges students in college, high school and elementary school to contact as many as possible radio stations across the world within one week. The competition is held each semester, usually in October and February.
K8YSU is operated by members of the Amateur Radio Club, a student-based organization focused on operating broadband radios and contacting other stations on a worldwide basis. Its executive body is composed of a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the Amateur Radio Club to a halt. Sophomore business administration major and Amateur Radio Club President Ryan Pribulsky, said in the past year he has seen major improvements in membership.
“We were down, post-pandemic, to two members in the beginning of 2022, and the organization has grown from two to about 15 interested members since I became involved,” Pribulsky said.
K8YSU usually transmits on a daily basis. Pribulsky said the station operates on different frequencies using equipment to contact parts of the world.
“We are licensed to operate on a variety of frequencies. There is no primary frequency in which we operate. These radios will go from about seven megahertz, we are capable of about 400 megahertz,” Pribulsky said.
One megahertz has the capability of reaching up to 300 meters away. The radios at K8YSU can operate at a full 1,500 watts — the maximum for amateur radios.
In February, K8YSU scored 6th nationally in the School Club Roundup, beating its rival Ohio State University. Pribulsky said distance plays a major factor in the competition’s scoring.
“You get a certain number of points per contact, and some contacts are worth more than others. Contacting school stations, or other amateur radio club stations, are worth more points … also getting DX contacts are very valuable — DX meaning places outside of the country,” Pribulsky said.
Among the countries Pribulsky contacted during the competition include England, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Israel.
For the fall semester, one of the goals of the Amateur Radio Club is to have a new antenna installed on campus.
“We’re kicking around the idea of putting up another big loop antenna — about 800 feet of wire — on top of the roof in between the building. So, it would, in a loop, run between Moser and Cushwa,” Pribulsky said.
Anyone can join the Amateur Radio Club. Pribulsky said students from a variety of majors and programs are part of the organization.
“We have people from all majors and backgrounds, from economics and business … I would say it’s mostly electrical and mechanical engineers … but anyone could get involved. There’s no prerequisites, no dues, no requirements really, other than an interest in radio,” Pribulsky said.
The results of the Roundup are still being calculated by the American Radio Relay League.
Those interested in joining Amateur Radio Club can attend one of its meetings at 3300 Moser Hall. Meetings take place the first and third Monday of each month.
For more information, contact Pribulsky at [email protected].