Education and outreach: Building HumanaLights with the Skyview Radio Society
Many thanks to ETOW supporter, John Hoffman, K3STL, who shares the following article:
Skyview Radio Society, K3MJW, founded in 1960, is an amateur radio club located about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a small town called New Kensington. Skyview participates in many amateur radio-related activities and events. Members meet every Tuesday night at 7 PM. Each week features a different topic of interest. The 4th Tuesday of the month is Skyview’s “Elmer Night” (“Elmer” is term in amateur radio circles that refers to a person who provides guidance and assistance to would-be and novice hams.)
Occasionally, Skyview has a “Solder Smoke Elmer Night,” which gives club members the opportunity to solder different projects.
The difficulty faced with the Solder Smoke Elmer Nights is finding a project that will appeal both to new and “seasoned” hams and is fairly inexpensive to build. Luckily, while attending the Four Days in May conference during the Dayton Hamvention, I had the opportunity to meet Thomas Witherspoon (K4SWL) from Ears to Our World. Thomas was promoting his organization’s HumanaLight kits. After speaking with Thomas, I knew this would be a great project for Skyview’s Solder Smoke Elmer Night. I ran the idea past the membership and many signed up to order the HumanaLight kits. We decided on September 23rd as a project build date.
Everyone was delighted on Solder Smoke Elmer Night upon opening their kits and seeing a fairly simple build ahead of them. While the soldering pencils were warming up, the plans were reviewed, and everyone confirmed that no components were damaged or missing. Time to start soldering the components!
We had paper handouts and also projected onto the whiteboard the easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Those who were more familiar with soldering “Elmered” those who were new and needed help. What I liked most was seeing the smile on each person’s face upon pressing the switch on their completed HumanaLight and seeing the light turn on. Everyone must have followed the instructions because everyone’s light worked. Some of the people extended the project by trying new and depleted batteries to see the difference in light intensity. Some members plan to use their HumanaLights in their go-kits and some plan to bring their HumanaLights with them while camping. The HumanaLight project turned out being a great Solder Smoke Elmer Night for Skyview Radio Society and everyone really enjoyed building it. What a great development by Ears to Our World!
It should be pointed out that building the HumanaLight kit not only provides an educational and fun activity, it actually is a very useful light that runs for weeks on “dead” or depleted batteries, which can no longer power more demanding devices like radios!
Proceeds from Skyview’s purchase of the HumanaLight kit went to Ebola relief in Sierra Leone in the form of AM/FM radios that make it possible to better disseminate information to the population about Ebola prevention and treatment efforts.
As demonstrated by Skyview’s experience, building the HumanaLight kit is a fun and educational group activity. Other radio clubs, schools, scouting or church groups definitely should consider the HumanaLight kit for their next project.
Please contact Ears to Our World for further information. You can purchase the HumanaLight kit from either Universal Radio or Gigaparts. For more information about the HumanaLight kit, and to watch an instructional video, please visit HumanaLight.org.
Many thanks to the Skyview Radio Society for sharing this article!