XENIA — Hamvention kids walked away from the fairgrounds May 18 with their own wireless Tesla speakers and digital clocks — built with their own hands.
The amateur radio convention’s Youth Tech area, sponsored by Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), provided a space for youth ages 9-18 to build their own technology kits.
“The idea here is to teach kids skills such as soddering, which has been pretty much lost by recent generations — kids don’t grow up knowing how to do that anymore,” Jeff Ullery, Chairman of the Youth Tech Committee, said. “So it teaches them skills on how to soder and at the same time they get to build some kits that teach different principles.”
Ullery, from Dayton, pointed out a boy working on a wireless Tesla speaker.
“Essentially when he’s done with it, he can plug it into any audio source such as his phone,” he said.
“It’s a perishable skill that kids are losing today because they don’t grow up doing this,” Ullery continued. “This is a way to re-instill those skills, because they’re still very useful skills.”
Ullery got involved with similar kits when he was a kid. He said he got his license after his neighbor introduced him to ham radio. After graduating, he became an electronic engineer.
“My point of doing this is kind of a selfish thing but there may be some kids here like I was that this gives them that spark, that interest that they may want to grow up and do this someday, too,” he said.
Now, Ullery and his wife and daughter are all licensed ham radio operators.
“It teaches more skills I think than any other hobby — language, geography, mathematics — literally anything you can imagine, there is some aspect in it — building, construction, soddering,” he said. “Every trade and every skill is somewhere represented in ham radio. That’s what makes it such a neat hobby.”