Our Student Ham Journal

Welcome to K6DGE's student ham journal. Starting in January 2013, we will be posting updates to inform you about the activities our club is participating in. These activities will include guest speakers who come to visit and share their knowledge of amateur radio, current concepts we are studying, and activities we are participating in. Initially, the journal entries will be created by the teacher, but this responsibility will soon be handed off to the students. Be on the lookout for new and interesting entries each month!

April 2016

Thursday, April 14, is the day! At 10:00 am David Collingham, K3LP came to spend the day with us in our classroom. We were all very excited to see him again and to hear about the VP8 DXpedition to South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands. Upon his arrival we took some time to say our "hellos". Then we reviewed and practiced our calling technique, and got directly on the radio! We love that about David because he loves radio as much as we do and wants us to be on it as much as we do! We made QSO's until lunch time and then came back after lunch and made some more. Every student was able to make a QSO with David there! It was pretty amazing.


David sharing VP8 DXpedition pictures.  Sally Poncet talking to us on satellite phone.


    Students making QSO's and logging in the book while others search QRZ.com.


At the end of the regular school day, we then met for our 2016 testing session. When students arrived for the testing, they were initially super excited to see David. But then the nerves kicked in and it become very quiet. Everyone sat down and followed directions for filling out all the forms. There was a mix of students with some taking the Technicion test for the first time, while others were attempting to pass the General test. There were a few adults from the outside who also to their chances at testing. Of the 22 who took the Technicion test, 19 passed. Of the 12 who took the General test, 11 passed. These kids work so hard all year long! I am very proud of each and every one of them!


At 6:00 pm, David presented the VP8 DXpedition to families at our school. For an hour and a half, the cafeteria was filled with over 100 people eager to learn about ham radio and about the trip the Intrepid DX Group took to South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands. Everyone listened eagerly as they feasted on pizza that was generously donated by the Dorothy Grant PTA. David passionaltely spoke about his trip, the planning needed to execute such a journey, the struggles they had along the way, and the thrill of being greeted by penguins every step of the way. He spoke of the Braveheart and her crew. He told us of their skill and willingness to help and of their bravery, especially during critical times. He reminded us of the fun had by all including Captain Nigel Jolly and Chef Charlie. It was an amazing evening to be sure and one we won't soon forget!



March 2016

After returning from spring break, our club meeting was very busy with announcements, studying for the upcoming exam session, and making contact with David Collingham, K3LP. Nearly all the students were able to speak with him on the radio, while practicing giving reports and just getting over the jitters of talking on the radio. We are anxiously awaiting his visit in a couple of weeks and are extremely excited to hear about the VP8 DX-pedition first hand!

February 2016

On Saturday, February 27th, the K6DGE students and their families traveled to San Pedro, CA to visit the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and the Battleship Iowa. There were 60 participants including students, parents, siblings, and multiple volunteers from the IOWA and the radio station on board NI6BB. We met at 9:30 am to pass out tickets and wristbands and to receive final instructions from our control operator Doug Dowds, W6HB. At 10:00 am began our self guided tour of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. There we learned about the history of the Los Angeles Harbor and how it grew from nothing, to a hub of international trade. Students explored many exhibits and were able to view the radio room K6AA.

After a quick bite to eat, we were off the the Battleship Iowa, a 5 star battleship that served during World War II. 

February 2015

On Monday, February 23rd, we were lucky enough to have our club trustee, David Collingham, K3LP, come and spend most of the day in our classroom. We started our day learning about conductive and non-conductive materials and how much resistenceOhm's Law. 

February 2015

February is off to a great start! We continue to make many QSO's . It is still a struggle to keep up with all the QSL cards to send out, but we are trying. This past week our special guest, Carl Gardenias, WU6D, came to visit during both the 4th and 5th grade club meetings. He spoke to the kids about DXpeditions and about how there was one currently happening on Navassa Island in the Carribean. We learned that Navassa is a protected bird sanctuary and that you need special permission to get onto the island and that the team needed to use helicopters to transport themselves and all their equipment to and from the island. What an exciting trip this would be to go on! On Tuesday we tried to break through the pileup to make contact with K1N, but were unsuccessful.

Attempting to contact K1N

Carl also worked with us building snap circuits. We learned how to read a schematic by identifying symbols and then building the snap circuits based on the schematic Carl presented us. We learned about open and closed circuits, conductive and non-conductive materials, resistors, and how to measure voltage and resistence using a multi-meter. 


January 2015

We returned to school January 12th after our winter break. Since our return we have made nearly 100 QSO's from Alaska to Florida, thanks to our equipment and to other hams spotting us on DX Summit. We even made contact with Thailand and Monterey, Mexico! This has been very exciting for us all. It seems that after we make a few contacts, that other hams start to call us, so much so we have our own little pile up! What a great experience it has been for the students to listen carefully to call signs and be able to pull them out of pileups. They are getting pretty good at this.

Our goal now is to try and keep up with sending out QSL cards. This has proven to be a little bit difficult with all the contacts being made. So students are learning how to look up callsigns on QRZ.com in order to get the addresses needed to fill out the envelopes to send the cards. Next they will start filling out the contact information on the cards which will make this entire task much easier to complete. We would like to start logging our contacts online, but that is something I need to learn more about.

November 2014

November is a short month for us since we are off all week for the Thanksgiving holidays. But that didn't stop us from making calls on the radio. This year we are averaging 15 to 20 calls everytime we turn on the radio! This is especially exciting for the students who were in the club last year when we were using a 15 foot vertical antenna and rarely made any calls.

This year we have a 50 foot tower that was donated with the help of Eric Archer, N6CV, a ham volunteer from JPL. Thank you so much Eric for all your hard work and persistence locating, taking down, and delivering the tower to our school! On top of that tower we also have a Strikeforce Beam Antenna with rotor that was generously donated and installed by Bob Grimmick, N6OX of San Diego. Thank you Bob for driving up from San Diego and spending the day with us installing the antenna! Finally, we have an Alpha Amp donated by Tony Heatwole of Maryland. This amp gives us more than enough power to get our signal out there. Thank you Tony!These tools together have provided our club with amazing success making contacts on the radio!

We also have to thank our school district for the installation of the tower. With their amazing support this has all come together for the students! Thank you everyone!

This month we were also lucky enough to have Carl Gardenias, WU6D, and Cathy Gardenias, K6VC visit our classroom and present to the students. The students enjoyed hearing about their experiences with ham radio and working the radio with them. We look forward to their future visits.


                Carl Gardenias, WU6D                            Cathy Gardenia, K6VC

October 2014

During the month of October, we also had the pleasure of hosting a visit by Tony Heatwole and his son Nat. Mr. Heatwole lives in Maryland, but was in California to visit his son who lives in the L.A. area. He is also the very generous ham operator who donated a powerful amplifier to our club. This amp allows us to make contacts with other ham operators we would probably  not be able to make contact with otherwise. Mr. Heatwole told our class how he and his son became interested in amateur radio and how they really enjoyed contesting. Students were then able to ask the Heatwoles questions. After that a few of the students enjoyed operating the radio with our guests. Thank you for the visit Tony and Nat. We hope you can visit again sometime!


Tony and Nat Heatwole

October 2014

October 8th David Collingham , our club trustee, was able to spend the day with both our fourth grade classroom students and our 4th and 5th graders who meet after school. It was an amazing fun filled day of getting to know each other and making contacts with our new Strike Force beam antenna.

After introductions and a quick review of proper calling techniques, David fired up the radio and the fun began. Students lined up anxious to have a turn at the mic.That sat down with a partner. While one student attempted making contact, the other waited and listened carefully, in anticipation of hearing a call sign emerge from the speakers so they could write it in the call log. After a handful of students called "CQ", the responses finally began to happen!

The contacts just started rolling in, one right after the other! 60 contacts to be exact! They were from as far east and New Jersey and as far west as Japan. We were also lucky enough to hear a conversation that was taking place in South Africa. For those students that were new this year, it was just exciting overall to make contacts. But the students who were returning from last year, they were extra excited realizing how clear our contacts now were, since using our beam antenna donated by Bob Grimmick. A big thank you to Bob for his donation and another thank you to David for a magical day on the air!


     David fine tunes the radio.                            Students make calls for the first time.

To see more pictures checkout DGE ARC Fall Field Day tab!!!

September 2014

DGE ARC 2014 has now started their meetings. 4th graders will be meeting in room P-3 after school on Tuesdays and 5th graders will be meeting in room P-3 after school on Thursdays. Former students may come on Thursdays and students who are in Ms. Matheson's homeroom will not need to attend after school since they will be participating in the same activites during class. 


After our first meeting we had an additional 10 4th graders join our group as well as 25 5th graders who came on Thursday. This year looks to be the largest in attendance so far with 45 4th graders and 25 fifth graders. Woot! Woot! for Ham Radio!!

June 2014

50 ft. Rohn tower installed next to classroom with a Force 12 beam antenna and rotor donated by Bob Grimmick. Thank you Bob for your amazing donation and the time you took to install it. The antenna works GREAT!!

May 2014

May has been a very busy month. Not only is it the end of the school year, but the students have been busy making contacts. As a club, we have made over 45 contacts throughout the school year. Some students have made contacts with their own call signs! This is not always easy since their Technician License only allows them limited access on the 10 meter band. Great job John and Nathan for making your first contacts!

March 2014

Communications Field Day #4 and Test Session #2 were held March 19-20, 2014:


Student Presentations at CUE-Computer Using Educator Conference:

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, 16 students and their parents traveled to Palm Springs, CA to present at the CUE conference. They were invited by Discovery Education to showcase what they have learned using amateur radio in the classroom. Students created science board presentations that showcased basic radio technology, operating techniques, and projects completed during the year related to amateur radio. Students also set up the station, K6DGE and operated right outside the building. In the short time they were set up, they made contacts in both Nevada and Utah. Students also invited teachers to be guest operators and assisted them in making contacts as well. Good job DGE ARC! 

Check out the teachers at the link below:


January 2014

January 14 was our first day back from our holiday break. Today we learned about "Code" and how it's related to ham radio. Did you know that you can tell a computer what to do by writing code? We had fun leaning about code on www.code.org. We also practiced writing code using certain symbols and then had one person in our group try building a cup tower by reading the code we wrote. We learned quickly that you have to be very careful and not make any mistakes or the tower will not turn out right.


December 2013

December 10th meeting with 4th graders was the last meeting of the school year. We decided to have a holiday party with space sandwiches and yogurt parfaits. In case you are wondering what space sandwiches are, they include flour tortillas, peanut butter, and honey. These are all items that last a long time in space and taste pretty good too! In honor of the ISS we took a tour with Suni Williams and learned many interesting facts about life aboard the ISS. 

December 11th, 3 of our newly licensed technician operators attended the Fontana Unified School District board meeting. Joel Cerda writes...

Last night we went to the school board meeting for Fontana Unified School District. It was a reward for our amazing accomplishments and to inform them that our school has been chosen to talk to the ISS, International Space Station. We were recorded live and put on channel 3 locally. We even got to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. It was  a good experience for us to share.

Those in attendance were Joel Cerda, KK6HZG, Laisha Vergara, and Maribel Laguna. Ms. Matheson discribed to the board, how hard these students worked to earn their FCC Technician licenses.  The students then introduced themselves and their call signs. It was a very proud moment for all in attendance! Students later received gift bags from ARRL which included a very nice letter of congratulations, and hat, and shirt. Thank you ARRL for all your support!!

December 12, the 5th graders returned after 2 weeks off. Joel Cerda said, "We had a great day refining our radio skills by having fun educational activites. The radio was open to all who wanted to make a contact." We tried to practice Morse Code with our keyers, but they didn't seem to be working :( Better luck next time.

We also had a visitor from the local newspaper, the Sun Telegram. They wanted to see a ham radio club in action at an elementary school. They interviewed the students and teacher, took pictures of students operating the radio, and asked general questions of the group. It was very exciting to have the newspaper come to our club meeting and see what we are doing. 

November 2013

West Coast Amateur Radio Club, WCARC student presentation in Huntington Beach, CA

Congratulations to the students who presented at the West Coast Amateur Radio Club monthly meeting on November 16, 2013. After school, parents drove their students to Huntington Beach where we first met for dinner. After dinner, we gathered at the senior citizen center where the WCARC meet each month. The students did an amazing job presenting to the attendees information about our radio club and explained what they have learned and shared why they love belonging to the amateur radio club here at our school. Great job Ashlyn, Belal, and Aiden. Thank you also to your parents for supporting you!!



November 2013

Testing Day with David Collingham, K3LP

Dorothy Grant Elementary Amateur Radio Club, held its first ever FCC "Technician License Exam" Testing Session. With the help of David Collingham, K3LP and Paul Ewing, N6PSE, we were able to test all 48 4th and 5th graders. From those 48 students emerged 4 new Technician Class operators. They are:Maribel Laguna, (call sign TBD), Laisha Vegarra, KK6HZH, Belal Al-Sabbagh, KK6HZI, and Joel Cerda, KK6HZG. Great job you guys!!! (read more on the DGE ARC Testing 2013 Tab) 


Pictured above are: David Collingham, K3LP Club Trustee, Joel Cerda, Laisha Vegarra, Belal Al-Sabbagh, Ms. Matheson, WA6BK Teacher , and Paul Ewing, N6PSE.

October 2013

Today was a very exciting day for one of our 5th grade club members. She made her first contact on 2 meter with our ICOM handheld radio. The entire class cheered as Maribel handled her conversation with 2 operators. Kerri from Kramer Junction, CA and Danny from Rosemead, CA. They were very kind speaking with us and encouraged all the students listening to continue with amateur radio! The classroom was filled with excitment!

September 2013

Jay Kobelin, W2IJ, visited our classroom and club meeting. He introduced the students to the idea of DXpeditions and explained the risks and consequences involved in handling such a trip. He gave the students QSL cards from two of his previous trips!

In late October he is leading a DXpedition to Banaba in the Central Pacific and will be taking a flag the 4th graders made in homeroom that says "Kindness Is Contagious." Our hope is that the people who come in contact with our flag, have their day brightened in some small way. Along with the flag he will be taking school supplies collected by the students for the children in Banaba. The students and parents at DGES did a great job collecting supplies that are greatly needed by the teachers and children of the island community.

Thank you Jay for taking the time to share your experiences with us and for taking our flag with you on your trip!


August 22, 2013

Today was our first ham radio club meeting of the year. This was an informational meeting with over 33 kids. Ms. Matheson's friend, Byron Hunsaker, NF6T, came to visit. He is going to be a Vice President of Technology for our club and help us operate on Thursdays.

He told us about himself and all the things he has done. He talked about the different schools he went to and that he joined the Navy when he was seventeen years old back in 1955. Byron learned Morse Code while he was in the service and had to do at least twenty words per minute. He was part of the Navy for ten years and got shot in the leg. The bullet is still in his leg! When he got out of the Navy he studied Ham Radio at different schools and it has become an important part of his life.

After he talked about his life he showed us how to use the radio and made a contact in Houston, Texas. It was a nice experience meeting Byron and it will be nice to have him help us each week during our meetings!

June 15, 2013

DGE ARC will be host ARRL Kids Field Day at Grant Elementary, from 8 am - 2 pm in P-3 the new location of the radio club. There will be expert ham operators to assist the students in getting on the air, snacks, and awards. So come join the fun!

May 1, 2013

DGES ARC Present to the FUSD Board of Education

Tonight 6 students from our club presented DGES ARC at the FUSD Board meeting. There was a packed house, but that didn't bother the student hams. They stood at the podium and spoke clearly and firmly into the microphone as if they were talking on the radio. They talked about everything from making contacts to building antennas, to using a multi meter. The students' enthusiasm was definitly obvious and their love of the radio club apparent. Many people asked the students questions and congratulated them for all their hard work. Their pictures were even taken by the local newspapers. GREAT JOB hammies!

April 22, 2013

Grant Field Day 2

Today we held K6DGE Communications Field Day #2! A total of 54 students participated in the day's events. Twenty-nine of the students were from the 4th grade class and after school the 25 DGES Ham Radio Club students participated. Students were divided into smaller groups and rotated through 3 modules.

During Module A , students worked the radio. With the help Dr. Arnold Shatz N6HC, and Clark Stewart W8TN, students were able to make multiple contacts as far away as British Columbia.Students took charge and became very confident at calling CQ. They learned how  to log their calls in the log book and how to speak firmly and clearly into the microphone. Arnie and Clark said trying to make a contact is like casting a line for a fish. You never know what or in our case "who" you will get. We had a lot of fun!

Module B, students learned how to build antennas. Jay Kobelin W2IJ , Mike Mitchell W6RW, and Charles Spetnagel W6FF, taught the students the difference between a 1/4 wave vertical antenna and a 1/4 wave dipole antenna. Students partcipated in building the masts to support the antennas , measured wire, stripped wire, completed math calculations, and much more. We raised our antennas and tested them with the radio and to our surprise they both worked!

Module C,taught by David Collingham K3LP, explained electronics theory and had a hands-on component where students learned how to use a volt ohm meter. Students learned the difference between AC and DC and conductive and non-conductive materials . They also learned about electronic components such as capacitors, resistors, and inductors. Our special guest Louis P. Malory WA6DVK enjoyed watching as the students participated in all the activities.

Thank you to all our guests for taking the time to come all the way to our school and teach us about ham radio! It was an amazing day and full of excitment!

April 18, 2013

Radio Donation from David Collingham

Today we received a donation of 4 ICOM Hand Held radios from David Collingham. We are very excited for David to visit so we can thank him in person for his kindness and generosity! Ms. Matheson divided us up into 4 groups so we could put +++the radios together. She gave each group a box and told us to read the directions and figure out on our own how to put the radios together. She said that is what ham radio operators do. They figure things out. So we did! It was a lot of fun and pretty easy.

April 4, 2013

Return from spring break! Today we tried to make contact on the radio but had no luck. We continued reading the Technician manual and played a game with the test questions for practice.

March 16, 2013

Presentation in Palm Springs for Discovery Education

Eleven students traveled to Palm Springs, CA to present what we are doing in the classroom with Ham Radio, to teachers from all over California. Parents drove the students and met at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The day started with Discovery Education buying everyone pizza for lunch. After the students and adults were fed, the presentation began at 1:00 pm. Dorothy Grant ARC was in the spotlight . Students displayed items to help explain what they are learning in the Ham Radio Club, on science boards. Teachers and parents came up and the students explained their part of the presentation and answered questions. Our website was projected on a huge screen behind the science boards, Two other students presented the website on the screen. Discovery Education was proud to have our students from DGES ARC, presenting at their first ever Student Spotlight. They were very impressed with the childrens knowledge of Ham Radio and they were delighted by their enthusiasm for the hobby. They were also impressed with their willingness and excitment to present to a group of adults. GREAT JOB WELL DONE!

March 14, 2013

Today students who didn't use the hand held radios last week got to practice calling CQ and practice what to say to a contact on the radio . The rest of the students continued reading Chapter 3 in the Technician's Manual while other students took the practice tests. Ms. Matheson also told us we were invited to present at the CUE Computer User Educator Conference in Palm Springs. It is last minute but 11 students will be able to go. Students who are going to present at the conference practiced their presentation.

March 7, 2013

Today we used the hand held radios to practice making contacts with each other. We worked with a partner and took turns calling CQ and practicing what to say. Other students worked with their partners reading in the Technician manual while ther rest of the students were taking practice tests on the computer.

February 25, 2013

Grant Field Day 1

Dorothy Grant Field Day!

Today we had a special guest, the trustee of our club, Mr. David Collingham. Along with our teacher, Ms. Matheson, he held a "Communications Field Day" at our school Dorothy Grant Elementary School in Fontana, CA in order to help us better understand how to use our radios. David first earned his novice license in April of 1975 at the age of 15. He now travels around the world setting up ham radio remote locations for hams to make contact with and has traveled to nearly 80 countries in the world.

Our day started with David making an amazing donation of 4 ICOM VHF/UHF Dual Band FM Transceivers as well as electronic equipment and supplies for a new lab! We are so very thankful to David Collingham for his guidance and generosity!

We then participated in a classroom radio communications training. We practiced the correct way to speak when making radio contact and how to log the information we collect from the contact. We also learned how to identify the country we are contacting based on the prefix of the call sign. 

Finally, we went On-the-AIr as K6DGE and made long distance communications with hams in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and the Falkland Islands.

At the end of the day, we all received a Certificate of Completion for successfully participating in our first Dorothy Grant Field Day.

Thank you again to David Collingham for his guidance and generostity in helping our club become a success! He is a true mentor and makes a difference in our lives!

January 31, 2013

Visit from Dr. Kate Hutton

Dr. Kate Hutton is a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. She is known to some as the Earthquake Lady or Dr. Kate. She is also an avid ham radio operator, K6HTN. We were lucky enough to have her and friend Jutti Marsh, K5FRG, come and visit our school on Thursday, January 31. Dr. Kate did a Morse Code demonstration as well as talked to the DGES Student Hams about the valuable use of ham radios during emergencies. The students also had many questions concerning earthquakes that Dr. Kate eagerly answered. Her friend Jutti Marsh, a former 4th grade teacher, brought a Yagi Antenna, her mobile radio, and a portable battery pack. She explained how these peices of equipment worked together and how easy they would be to set up if an actual emergency were to occur. Jutti also shared her love of endangered frogs and told us some interesting frog facts. We would like to thank them for taking the time to come to our school. Maybe we will be able to contact them on the radio one of these days!

January 24, 2013

Visit from Chuck Sweeten

Welcome to our guests Chuck Sweeten, AI6I and Marta. 

Chuck is a local Amateur Extra Operator and Red Cross volunteer who came to talk about the importance of ham radio in the community. He explained how he is routinly called upon to set up emergency radio communications when disasters happen. He was recently on the east coast assisting with the Red Cross during the Hurricane Sandy cleanup. Marta is also a Red Cross volunteer and local General Operator. Together, they conduct classes at the local Red Cross in Rancho Cucamonga, CA to prepare future hams for their licensing exams. This is where our teacher Ms. Matheson earned both her Technician and General class licences. Chuck and Marta brought their handheld portable transceivers and demonstrated how easy it is to make local contacts in the Southern CA area. With just one call, he was able to contact a ham in Burbank, CA which is about 50 miles to the west of Fontana. They were also able to tune in ham operators on our club ICOM (hf) radio. Thank you so much Chuck and Marta for showing us how easy it is to use the radios!

January 17. 2013

Donation of Technician Manuals from Ray Novak of ICOM.

Today at our meeting we had a fun welcome back! There were popcorn treats and many announcements to share with the students. Our first major announcement was the donation of 10 Technician manuels from Ray Novak of ICOM North America. These manuels will be instrumental in helping us earn our Technician Licenses.


We would also like to thank the Ham Radio Outlet of Anaheim, CA for donating a Ham Radio Guide and catalogues to our club. We have been very fortunate to be surrounded by so many generous people!

November 29, 2012

Today was our first club meeting. There were 28 students who showed up.It was very exciting to find out all the things we are going to be doing in our club. We will be learning about electronics and radio science. We will also learn things like the phonetic alphabet and how to talk on the radio. We are very excited to make friends on the ham radio and to learn about where they are from and why they love ham radio!

© 2012 Dorothy Grant Elementary School


Kids in Communication

Created with the QTH.com SiteBuilder.