Marshall University's Amateur Radio Club Bridges Communication Gaps

Marshall University's Amateur Radio Club Bridges Communication Gaps,' we explore the inception and journey of the university's amateur radio club under the leadership of Jacob Wriston. The club, born from a passion for ham radio and a desire for a like-minded community, stands as a testament to the power of radio in forging global connections and enhancing campus emergency preparedness.


3/5/20241 min read

Jacob Wriston, the leader of Marshall University's Thundering Herd Amateur Radio Club, shared his journey with ham radio starting in high school. His search for a radio community within Marshall was inspired by the long-standing amateur radio club at WVU. To fill this gap, Wriston initiated a discord server in the summer of 2022, laying the groundwork for what would become an official club by the fall semester of the same year.

Wriston emphasized the club's aim to foster the amateur radio hobby, highlighting the unique ability of radio to connect people directly without reliance on traditional communication infrastructure. This point was illustrated by his reflection on situations where cellular service failures made conventional communication methods ineffective, underscoring the resilience and directness of ham radio as a form of contact.

The club's involvement extends beyond casual radio communication; they played a crucial role in a campus emergency preparedness event, providing vital communication support. Wriston and the club's faculty advisor, Professor Tom Cuchta, who discovered amateur radio during the COVID-19 lockdowns, both participated in this event, demonstrating the practical applications of radio communication in critical situations.

Cuchta, noting the traditionally older demographic of amateur radio enthusiasts, expressed optimism that the hobby's digital aspects would attract younger participants. His personal anecdote about making contact with a radio hobbyist in Russia exemplified the global reach and the minimal equipment required for long-distance communication through amateur radio.

The club, which convenes bi-weekly, offers solutions to the hobby's cost barrier by providing radios for members to rent or borrow. This initiative ensures accessibility to all interested in exploring the world of amateur radio, emphasizing the hobby's potential to unite people across various backgrounds and geographies through the power of communication.