Illinois Tech Launches HAM Radio Club and Research Lab


The new HAM Radio Club and Research Lab launched at Illinois Tech this week. Founded by Cooper Van Kampen, a student pursuing a co-terminal degree with the Department of Information Technology Management (ITM) at Illinois Tech, “the HAM Radio and Research Club is open to all students, staff, and faculty. Beginners to experienced users are welcomed. The club can even help people get their ham radio certification. The certification is great because it’s federal so it looks good on your resume. You get to learn about all different kinds of STEM stuff, and you can help people with disaster recovery, such as when 50 ham radio operators went to Cuba after the hurricane in order to get emergency supplies where they need to be.”

The club’s faculty adviser, Vasilios “Billy” Pappademetriou, N9SSU, an ITM adjunct faculty member says, “The club is not all about talking on radios; it also offers students a research component, where board members and general members can do research on suggested projects, after they are approved. Examples are 2.4GHz mesh networks for emergency communications, building antennas, using Raspberry Pi, and more. The club helps bridge the IT and engineering fields, while promoting goodwill to society, including talking to others locally or around the world using digital or analog modes. People incorrectly think cell phones work all the time, like in weather disasters when the antennas are destroyed and during power outage. This is where the trained ham radio operator steps in to help public safety and society.”

The club’s vice president is Jacob Knific, also the club’s technical administrator. The secretary is Andreas Vassilakos, also project manager and go-to “follow-up” person keeping everything flowing smoothly. William Gaylord is the treasurer and the club’s current, most well-versed student in ham radio and electronics. Many other students are participating and have helped start the club.

If you are interested in seeing the HAM Lab or learning more about the HAM Radio Club and Research Lab, please contact Pappademetriou at Visit the club’s Facebook page at: