NRAO to Launch New Amateur Radio Learning Program for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Students with Support from ARDC


Following a generous grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), the National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) will soon launch a two-year project to engage BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students in learning about the electromagnetic spectrum and amateur excitement—also called amateur radio. The new project Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS)should offer its first courses for students in January 2023.

ARDC selected EMS because of NRAO’s proven track record of supporting underrepresented minority students in science by combining mentorship and instruction from content experts with equity best practices.

As part of NRAO’s broader impact-focused SuperKnova learning platform, EMS will combine the expertise of NRAO staff, amateur radio enthusiasts and other subject matter experts to develop a scalable curriculum and shareable, introduce students to EMS and radio technologies through hands-on activities, and help students obtain technical and general class licenses in amateur radio.

Amateur radio provides a convenient entry point to understanding the radio spectrum and its practical uses, including communications, astronomy, and community infrastructure and emergency response. Early support and engagement with amateur radio has the potential to create pathways for students into a future career or lifelong hobby in science. The ARDC grant of $315,123 will allow the NRAO to develop and run the program for two cohorts of students. This will also result in the development of a nine-month EMS curriculum that will be freely available to school groups, community clubs and educational institutions.

NRAO Director Tony Beasley said, “Amateur radio continues to be extremely important to the nation and global communications, and the NRAO is delighted to work with the ARDC to bring a new generation and diverse communities in the field.

About NRAO
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under a cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Continuing NSF’s mission to advance the advancement of science, the NRAO enables research in the Universe at radio wavelengths and provides the world with world-class telescopes, instrumentation and expertise to the scientific community. The NRAO’s mission includes a commitment to broader, equitable, and inclusive participation in science and engineering, the training of the next generation of scientists and engineers, and the promotion of astronomy to foster a better society. scientifically educated. The NRAO operates three research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which are available to scientists around the world entire. , regardless of institutional or national affiliation. NRAO welcomes candidates who bring diverse and innovative dimensions to the Observatory and to the field of radio astronomy. For more information about NRAO, visit

About ARDC
Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a California-based foundation with its roots in amateur radio and Internet communication technology. The organization got its start by managing the AMPRNet address space, which is reserved for licensed amateur radio operators worldwide. In addition, the ARDC provides grants to projects and organizations that follow the practice and tradition of amateur radio technical experimentation in the fields of amateur radio and digital communication. Such experimentation has led to advances that benefit the general public, including mobile telephony and wireless Internet technology. ARDC envisions a world where all of these technologies are available through open source hardware and software, and anyone has the ability to innovate on them. To learn more about ARDC, please visit

Media Contact:

Amy C. Oliver
Public Information and News Manager, NRAO

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
ARDC Communications Officer

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