LAMPASAS — Approximately 30 Radio Club members from Lampasas Middle and High schools competed in two events for amateur radio operators in the last year and earned second place in both world competitions.

In October 2012 and February 2013, Lampasas students were second only to the Viking Radio Club at Eisenhower Middle School in Lawton, Okla.

Lampasas Middle School teacher and Radio Club sponsor Gene Case brought the program to the district in 2005. They worked hard to set up the communication system and their first radio contact with the outside world was in spring 2006.

Case said the program has grown in popularity through the years.

“They thought (second place) was absolutely fantastic, and it gets the kids more excited about being able to do this and believe in their abilities,” Case said. “During our competitions, we have tripled our contacts.”

During a School Club Roundup contest, students take turns around their class schedules, logging onto the radio in an attempt to make contact with other users on the same frequency. They’re awarded points for each successful contact they make. Winners are judged on the number of points they accumulate.

“I think the program is great for kids. They get to increase their communication skills, and as their confidence grows, they’re more apt to try new things,” Case said. “It also increases their math and electronics skills, and they can go on to get an amateur radio operator’s license.”

About a year ago, resident Gordon Thornton moved back to his hometown of Lampasas and approached Case about volunteering his services to help with the Radio Club. Thornton graduated from Lampasas High School in 1957 and received his radio license when he was a freshman.

“That’s why I’m so interested ... because they’re starting the program the same time I did,” he said. “There was no club when I was in school, and I was the only one with a license back then.”

The kids will be at the microphone again Monday when the School Club Roundup kicks off the last 2013 contest.

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