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Hams celebrate Quasquicentennial with BHSU

BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp and Dr. Ken Schallenkamp, assistant business professor at BHSU, visit with Dr. Craig Nickisch (right), local ham radio operator, at the University’s recent Founders’ Day celebration honoring its 125th anniversary. Nickisch assisted them with contacting Jim Harkin, K6DP, in California, who is Ken Schallenkamp’s father. Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service that uses various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.
Local ham radio operators were on the campus of Black Hills State University recently as the University celebrated Founders’ Day during its 125th anniversary.

Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service that uses various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training. A participant is called an amateur radio operator, or a ham.

Joanna Jones, College of Education professor at BHSU, KD7GLY, is a licensed amateur operator, who saw the Quasquicentennial celebration as a rare opportunity to publicize BHSU nationwide and internationally. Assisted by Brian Kassel, K7RE, and Dr. Craig Nickisch, WØWN, Jones arranged a “Special Event” radio station license, with call letters NØB, to mark the 125th. Amateur radio operators worldwide recognize the short call sign as that of a special event station, and are interested in learning about the event.

Station NØB operated high-frequency radio with voice and Morse code signals from the lobby of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Feb. 26, 27 and 28. Assisting Jones were amateur radio operators Bob Weaver, KØGZL; Carroll Cash, KØRXC; Dr. Graham Chesnut, WBØLIW; Don Matthesen, KØHP; Gene Secrest, KBØGZQ; Ray Telkamp, KØRNT; and Harry Irwin, KFØQB, who is a BHSU alumni remembered as a member of the great 1935 football team.

Radiating signals from a temporary antenna strung between the trees outside the Student Union, the hams were able to contact over 150 stations in 31 states. “The topic of conversation was the University, and one can hope that students from those areas may choose BHSU, based on the initial information given out by NØB,” said Nickisch. The BHSU station also contacted stations in nine foreign countries – including Japan, Spain, Kosovo, and Cuba.

BHSU president Kay Schallenkamp had the opportunity to visit with her father-in-law, Jim Harkin, K6DP, in California. Also present for the chat was Harkin’s son, Dr. Ken Schallenkamp, assistant business professor at BHSU.

Besides operating the shortwave radio, Jones and the “hams” presented a display of materials relating to amateur radio and high frequency communication. Visitors to the station could even try their hand at sending Morse Code, and several indicated an interest in earning their own amateur radio license.  Jones and the hams plan to assist BHSU students who want to become licensed.

Following the event, Jones sent out a colorful “QSL” (radio abbreviation for “confirmed contact”) certificate to all stations contacted, commemorating their contact with the BHSU station.

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