Jacob interviews Joe Wright KJ7JWW (Our Elmer). (Submitted photo)

Jacob interviews Joe Wright KJ7JWW (Our Elmer). (Submitted photo)

Ten-year-old HAM

  • Sun May 24th, 2020 6:17am
  • News

I am not talking about out of date smoked pork here …I am talking about an amazing accomplishment by a Forks 10-year-old who put his mind to something, learned and with co-operation from his parents and the local school he has achieved something people three times his age work hard to accomplish. He recently became a HAM radio operator.

Andrew Hoschar shared the following story …

When the school shut down, they started sending homework packets for the students to do. I looked at the first packet and knew it would be a battle keeping him focused and interested in school with only paperwork.

I spoke with his teacher, and the principal, and received the go-ahead to use amateur radio as the majority of his curriculum.

We started during spring break, purchased a few books, and joined some Facebook groups for information and guidance. We call our project “The father-son journey into ham radio.” I did not have much experience with it either, so we are learning together from scratch. We have a LOT of support from one page in particular “Ham Radio Crash Course”, there are a ton of people there and it’s all positive feedback.

Some of the things we have done so far are:

-Reading the books, and going through the online resources provided with the books.

-“Field trips” to a good friend of ours that was happy to mentor us through this process (in ham radio a mentor is called an “Elmer”)

-Watching endless YouTube videos about radios, antennas, frequencies, etc.

-We built 2 antennas from scratch, and are going to be making more, then figure out why some are better than others.

-A daily journal that my son does on his computer to document his progress and give to his teachers.

-driving around in the woods to see in real life how radio propagation works through trees, over mountains, and into valleys.

-I purchased a GMRS radio license to use as well, it covers my wife, Heather, Jacob and I. It gave us a small taste of what we could do with an amateur radio license. (The 2 license types are not related). This was a tool we used to break away from studying and “play” while being able to put what we learned to the test.

He is the only youngster that I know of involved in amateur radio in the Forks area currently.

Jacob and I have been learning a lot, and my wife is amazing, she supports all our crazy projects. Even when I go overboard and a project fails, we use that as a learning experience.

My wife and I are very involved with Elk’s club members (lodge #2524). Jacob has always loved helping people. During event breakfasts or dinners at the Elk’s, his favorite thing to do is work in the kitchen and bus tables for the guests. The whole time wearing an Elk’s Lodge apron a few sizes too large.

We are not rich by any means, but we get by. Luckily, we live in an amazing town with wonderful people that love to help others. Two of the local amateur radio operators gave us a total of seven older radios, one antenna, and four boxes of old goodies. some of it is going to be used for education (tearing it apart to look at the guts and see how it works).

Jacob also plays piano and violin. He wants to learn guitar as well.

He is an avid outdoorsman, loves to fish, hike and camp. When we go to the gun range as a family, he leads the safety talk, and acts as range master. He takes firearm safety extremely serious.

Baseball is “lil man’s” favorite sport, and he’s good at it! Last year, he played outfield.

Each day, Jacob wakes up, does his chores, then his schoolwork, and then brings momma a cup of coffee in her home office, usually around lunchtime. Nobody asked him to. He just started doing it one day.

I am constantly fighting back tears and feeling chills from the feelings I get watching him grow and mature.

We are not stopping at the tech license, and Jacob is learning so much more than what is required to pass the tests. His vocabulary has blown up in the last month. He even uses the big words he learns every chance he gets in a sentence. The next step will be our “General” licenses, and after that, the “Extra” (highest level) license.

Jacob would like me to add that he believes part of why he learns so fast at home, is that he listens to Weird Al Yankovic while studying.