From Ukraine to Namibia and around the U.S., Russell Elementary School’s amateur radio club, KM4RE, contacted almost 500 locations to win first place in the national Fall School Club Roundup (SCR) competition for elementary schools. Their victory unseated the reigning national champions from Dresden Elementary School in Ohio.
KM4RE’s eight-member team, which launched less than two years ago, is the only amateur radio club within the Cobb County School District. Also known as the DX Roadrunners, the team competed against schools all over the U.S. and Canada. The Russell Elementary students earned points by making radio contacts. Every contact earns at least one point, but the team earns multipliers according to the number of states, countries, and other school clubs that are contacted. The DX Roadrunners scored a total of 128,904 over the five-day competition and accumulated a SCR record 492 contacts in 43 states and six countries. The Ohio elementary school previously won the competition in five of the last six years.
Students in KM4RE take a course on amateur radio, which includes Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations on electronics, electronic safety and the physics of travelling radio waves. Students then have the opportunity to take the amateur radio-licensing exam to earn their operator’s license from the FCC. To date, five Russell students have earned a technician class amateur radio license, and one student has earned the more advanced general class license.
The members of the DX Roadrunners and their designated radio call signs if earned includes fifth graders Alex Brown, KM4WMZ; Isabel Mcleod, KM4YWQ; Arielle Terrell; Jessica Adim and Javier Peralta; and fourth graders Cooper Jones, KM4WNA; Jarobie Miller and Zahir Annylus. The team will be competing again in the Spring SCR in February.
The KM4RE operating station is equipped with a Kenwood TS-2000 high frequency transceiver that was purchased for the club by school partner Pugmire Lincoln-Mercury. With this transceiver and the 65-foot antenna mounted on the school’s lunchroom, students have contacted radio operators in places as far away as Ukraine and Namibia. The station is in the process of installing a dual UHF/VHF antenna system on the roof with a tracking system that will enable them to communicate with other operators via satellites in space and to track wireless transmission of data from orbiting satellites. The same system will also be able to communicate with astronauts onboard the International Space Station.
The club advisor is Chris Laster, who has worked with Russell students for more than 15 years. He recently received the Smyrna Mayor’s Award for his contributions and dedication to education.
Learn more about KM4RE at Russell Elementary Amateur Radio Club.