Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS)


Jesse Alexander and 3 students from the first Wave (cohort) at the citizen science conference [Photo, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio]

Danielle Rowland NRAO Program Manager and 3 Wave (cohort) 2 students building crystal radios at the Green Bank Observatory Science Center 11/18/2023.

Wave 2 Information Session Video

Hands on Activities

The Application Period is now closed.

The 2023 "Wave 1" Cohort is complete

The 2023 "Wave 2" Cohort is complete

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National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) is excited about the funding that we have received from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to deliver a new 2-year project, “Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS)”.

This innovative project will educate high school and college students about the electromagnetic spectrum while sharing the excitement of amateur (ham) radio among BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students.

The EMS Ham Radio Project:

Help your community in an Emergency

"When everything else fails. amateur radio often times is our last line of defense...When you need amateur radio, you really need them." 

W. Craig Fugate Administrator, FEMA
When all else fails Amateur Radio works


NRAO was selected for this project because of our proven track record of bringing together excellent content experts and best equity practices to bring underrepresented minority students to the sciences.

While perhaps unfamiliar to many, amateur radio (also known as 'ham radio') provides a hands-on entry point to understanding the radio spectrum and its practical uses. Thus, it can be an entry to a career in sciences, a life-long citizen scientist hobby, or an important part of community emergency infrastructure and response.

We know it’s not enough to just “invite” BIPOC and  LGBTQIA+ students to the table. In addition to technical knowledge and experience, we will also provide the following support structures to all student participants:

  • Financial support/stipend

  • Weekly coaching meetings with mentors

  • Support students in exploring academic and professional careers in STEM

  • Networking opportunities

  • Conferences to present their work

  • Collaborations with partners

  • Connections with amateur radio clubs

Picture of Jesse Alexander

Jesse Alexander, he/him, WB2IFS/3 Ham Radio Project Lead

This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC).

We would also like to thank the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for donating license manuals and other learning materials and acknowledge the Tuscon Amateur Packet Radio and the Young Amateurs Radio Club for their administrative and technical support in this endeavor.

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QSL cards

front of the card from our first speaker


card from our first speaker!





QSL card

Our card