Thanks to National Lottery players, the Bittern DXers are celebrating an award of just under £10,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to help us introduce people to the endless possibilities in technology that Amateur Radio offers to young and old alike.
News of the award was heralded around the world by a message transmitted by the FunCube 1 satellite congratulating the group on their award. FunCube 1 was built by members of the Amateur Radio community and launched into orbit on 21st November 2013. It was built with the goal of enthusing and educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics, and is the first satellite with outreach as its primary mission and demonstrates the depth and breadth of the hobby of Amateur Radio.
The Bittern DXers’ own Educational Outreach Project aims to take advantage of technology like FunCube to bring demonstrations of as many aspects as possible of their hobby to public events in Norfolk as well as reaching out to young people in schools, scouting and guiding etc.
With the money provided by National Lottery players, we have purchased gazebos, radios and demonstration equipment allowing them to take a complete hi-tech station to public shows and events that enables conversations with other amateurs around the world, as well as pick up signals live from the International Space Station, weather satellites and the many other amateur satellites currently in space.
Club Chairman, Steve Cordner – callsign M0HET, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund and National Lottery players, for allowing us the opportunity to introduce amateur radio to people and show them what we do.
“We already know for example that when young people are shown images being received live from space, that their imagination is fired up and they want to find out more. For older people it can break down barriers of loneliness and disability and allow them to communicate with others across county, country and world.
“Becoming a Radio Amateur makes one more employable as well as leading to a lifetime of personal growth in the field of electronics and radio communication. Many people holding senior roles in high-tech industries today owe their careers to an early interest in amateur radio. Our project aims to provide people of all ages that ‘first contact’ with Amateur Radio.”
Club Secretary, Linda Leavold, who has been licensed for more than 30 years with her callsign G0AJJ, is proof that it is not just a male hobby! She remarked “Being a radio amateur gives one a great sense of personal achievement especially when you make that long distance contact with someone on another continent. And its something the whole family can get involved in.”
Laughing she added “Even my husband Richard joined me on the air after a couple of years! He got fed up with burnt offerings for meals and decided to discover just what it was that was occupying my time.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, whether you have any disabilities or what age you are, Amateur Radio has something to offer everyone and we want to get out there and show people what they are missing.”
Although we have a very busy calendar already this year, we welcome contact from any person or organisation who might be interested in seeing what we do.