About Us

About Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio is a great hobby, but it's hard to pin down exactly what it's about. A good place to get an idea is at the American Radio Relay League's introduction to Amateur Radio. Learn about what Amateur Radio is, what you can do, and who you'll meet on the air.

About Our Club

Anyone with an interest in Amateur Radio is welcome to join UTARC: students, faculty, staff and the general public. We encourage licensing through on-campus license classes and a club lending library of materials for new licensees and all upgrades.

In the club you may look forward to participating in contests, foxhunts (hidden transmitter hunts), emergency communications, disaster relief education, National Traffic System (radiogram) message service, satellite and Space Station communications, field expeditions, community service and many fun times in an enriching and enjoyable hobby. If there is something you would like to see the club participate in, feel free to suggest anything, as we always welcome new activities and opportunities.

The Amateur Radio Club at the University of Tennessee was initiated in 1947 by a group of student and faculty Ham radio operators. Since that time, the club has gone through many changes, and various levels of activity. As of Spring 2002, the UT Amateur Radio Club continues to make great progress in building the resources available to members, the University of Tennessee and the community. Dozens of testees have been licensed at our monthly tests, and membership continues to grow. The progress made thus far is a great tribute to the kind and friendly nature of so many fellow hams and community members.

In the fall of 1999, after the club had been inactive for several years, three student Amateur Radio operators, Mike Swiatkowski, Daniel Bowen, and Past Club President Chris Brown, began actions that would lead to the complete reinstatement of the UTARC. Access was obtained to the old radio room, however, the location was thought unusable for effectively operating radios any longer. This was due to the changes in the environment around the location of 401 East Stadium Hall. After the completion in Summer, 2000, of the East Neyland Stadium Skyboxes, the location of antennas appeared to be very problematic if not impossible. Prior to the East Skybox construction, there was an antenna tower mounted on the northeastern stadium lighting tower that supported a tri-bander beam and a 2m yagi. This setup was featured in the photo section of the March, 2000 issue of QST magazine.  In spite of repeated UTARC efforts to remove and preserve the antenna equipment, along with ~150 of feed and control lines, they were destroyed in December, 2000, during Skybox construction.

As a result of unwavering determination of the club vice president, the Club was promised a full replacement in kind through the cooperation of the Office of Facilities Planning and the Athletics Department upon locating a suitable space for placement of the antennas.

The search for a room continued in Fall 2000, and to support and assist the club's cause, a membership recruitment campaign was initiated. Having a strong membership of 20 in February of 2001, the club has been growing at a healthy rate with students, faculty, staff and community members. The membership growth was very positive news for the future of the UTARC.

In February of 2001, members of the club completed a temporary installation of the club's TenTec Paragon 585 HF radio in the existing radio room. This consisted of clearing a space in the room (no small task!), setting up the radio and borrowed antenna tuner (courtesy Mike Coffey, KJ4Z), and erecting an antenna. A random-length long-wire style antenna for its simplicity and cost, and a slingshot was used to facilitate sending the antenna and support rope out through the stadium superstructure to a tree in front of Estabrook Hall. The first reinstated UTARC HF Contact was made on February 3, 2001 by KJ4Z. While the location of the antenna was very poor, limited operations were conducted on HF, and several hundred contacts were made.

In March 2001, Club members erected a much improved antenna, albiet in the same problematic location. The dipole V antenna was erected using similar slingshot techniques, and is supported by a tree at the entrance to Estabrooke Hall and a tree across the road from the corner of Ferris Hall. This antenna, along with an improved ground connection to the steam radiator, performed well in comparison to the original installation. The signal was still heavily blocked to the west by Neyland Stadium, however over a thousand contacts had been made using this antenna as of Spring 2002.

After much work on the part of many people, Spring of 2002 brought a hard-earned commitment from UT to return UTARC antennas to a perch above Neyland Stadium. This time, on the roof of the East Skyboxes.