Radio Club looks to go ‘global’ at Fredonia Mini Maker Faire

Submitted Photo Members of the STARS will be stationed on the second floor of the Fredonia State Science Center and will look to connect visitors to the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire with ham radio users from across the globe.

Anyone with a cellphone has a world at their fingertips, but what if cellphones ceased to exist? How could you communicate across long distances?

One answer: Amateur radios, of course.

The Southtowns Amateur Radio Society (STARS) of Hamburg is returning to the fourth annual Fredonia Mini Maker Faire and is determined to showcase the true power of ham radio.

“We’re going to set up a world class HAM radio station in an attempt to make contact all around the world,” said Joe Clause, STARS Radio Club recording secretary. “We’ve mentioned this event in the world’s largest ham radio magazine, so we’re inviting thousands of people to attempt to contact us so we should be an easy target.”

STARS will return to the Fredonia State campus on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and join dozens of unique makers passionate about showcasing their creativity.

“Instead of showing us ham radio operators we’re going to give the folks who come in a quick brush up on how to speak on the radio, we’ll put them on the radio so they’ll be actively involved in doing ham radio,” Clause said. “Hopefully, they’ll go away with all the information they need to get their license and how to setup their first station.”

Clause, a retired Earth Science teacher from Pioneer Central School District for the past 13 years, formed a radio club in his class and continues the tradition to this day.

“It’s a very cool hobby. You control a lot technology,” Clause said. “Everyone today has access to the world on their phone but if the phone infrastructure fails what’s your other means of communication? The answer is ham radio. It really is a cool technology.”

In preparation for the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire, Clause was scouting locations inside the Science Center and, for fun, simply mounted a magnet mount antenna to a metal bench on campus. Almost instantly, Clause was able to connect with someone from Germany.

“You need an FCC license to operate a ham radio, because we can command as much as 1,500 watts of blistering radio power we need to know how to do it without interfering with other services or harming anybody,” Clause said. “We’ll be showing folks (at the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire) how to get their technician license so they could do VHF and UHF handheld radio and with repeaters talk in their car … it’s pretty cool. The next level is a general license which gets you into world band radio and we’re featuring that during Maker Faire.”

The Fredonia Mini Maker Faire, held in and between the Williams and Science centers on the Fredonia State campus, will welcome the return of popular attractions, Creation Station, Rocket Launch, Robot Puppet and Mario the Maker Magician. Several stations will feature free make-and-take opportunities for families while others will highlight the process behind creation. Finding inspiration to cultivate one’s creativity is at the forefront of Maker Faire.

For more information about STARS Radio Club visit http://wb2elw.net or about the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire visit www.fredonia.makerfaire.com.


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