Amateur Radio Club
Giving Engineers a Platform
The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club, UMARC, is a student run organization established in 1913 for the purposes of providing University students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the concepts, techniques and applications of practical radio communications.
Ever since its inception UMARC has been closely associated with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and its predecessors.The club “shack” is presently located on the fourth floor of the EECS building on North Campus where it provides its members access to many convenient communication facilities including HF, VHF and UHF radio frequency equipment. The large rotating multi-band HF antenna with its individually tunable elements and the VHF/UHF rotating satellite antennas mounted on the roof of the EECS building, along with a fixed position HF Inverted-V wire antenna, make possible radio low-power contacts with other amateur stations throughout the world.
The club also maintains a public 2-meter antenna on the roof of the Dennison building on Main Campus which extends limited line-of-sight 2-meter radio communications to a much broader area of coverage. With the link between this equipment and the Internet, students and other local amateurs can use their hand-held radios to communicate with other amateurs with compatible facilities all over the world. A regular meeting of participants is held weekly, providing an opportunity to make new friends, both nationally and internationally.
Although supported and advised by the EECS Department, UMARC is open to all who have an interest in amateur radio. Its membership consists primarily of students augmented by faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University. This diverse membership provides an opportunity for the students to learn many practical and interesting radio oriented techniques as well as have an excellent opportunity to use, study, and construct modern communications devices in an atmosphere of camaraderie with fellow and experienced amateur operators, or “Hams”, as they are commonly known.
UMARC was one of the first student amateur radio clubs in the United States and originally held the license call sign 8XA. It is presently known worldwide by its call sign W8UM. Among its more notable early feats were receiving communications of the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, the handling of radio traffic for the Byrd expedition to Antarctica and providing support to a station on the top of Mount Evans in Greenland.
More recently the club has participated in balloon and satellite tracking. The club records contain thousands of postcards and log entries verifying radio contacts made throughout the history of UMARC.