CPARC Awarded Grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC)

March 18, 2022
For more information, contact:
Andrea Lanfranconi, KN6RMW
Club Treasurer & Public Relations Manager
805-756-2737 [email protected]

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA – The Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC) has received a $22,000 grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), a private foundation that supports amateur radio and digital communication science and technology. CPARC intends to use this grant to:

  1. Upgrade the club’s remote HF radio station to the Software-Defined FlexRadio system. This allows for remote operation of the station from anywhere and for the club to demonstrate its capabilities to the public at events. Students without radio equipment will be able to operate the station using a computer or smartphone.
  2. Upgrade the station’s electrical grounding system to ensure ongoing safe and reliable operations.
  3. Upgrade the station’s battery backup system from lead acid to lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. LiFePO4 batteries are safer than lithium ion batteries, have more capacity than lead acid batteries, and provide a longer service life.
  4. Install solar panels to allow the club to operate “off grid” in emergencies, such as power outages. This is important because the club station is an Emergency Communication Center for San Luis Obispo County.

These projects will provide students of all backgrounds an opportunity to gain hands-on engineering and project experience and are examples of Cal Poly’s philosophy of “Learn By Doing.”

About the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club

The Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC) has a long tradition of communications service on campus and in the community of San Luis Obispo, California. The club was founded in 1947, making the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club the second-oldest club on campus.

Our club station, W6BHZ, located on the Cal Poly campus, is equipped with high-frequency radio transceivers capable of worldwide communications. The station also acts as a San Luis Obispo County Emergency Communications Center, as it is fully equipped with emergency power and radio equipment to support various public safety agencies in the event of a disaster. The club also supports other non-emergency events such as bicycle races, triathlons, and parades where club radio operators maintain communications both for event logistics and medical emergencies.

The club maintains a repeater system that extends communication coverage for club members and other licensed amateur radio operators in the greater San Luis Obispo area. The club continues to move into the future with expanded internet connectivity, digital radio projects, and additional wide-area linked radio systems.

Amateur radio is a hobby that attracts a wide range of people interested in all facets of radio communications. Involvement in amateur radio allows people to practice their public speaking skills as well as learn about radio theory, electronics, and emergency management. Cal Poly’s motto is “Learn by Doing,” and involvement in the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club embraces this philosophy to its fullest.

Learn more about CPARC at

About ARDC

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a California-based foundation with roots in amateur radio (AR) and the technology of internet communication. The organization got its start by managing allocations of the AMPRNet address space, which is designated to licensed amateur radio operators worldwide. Additionally, ARDC makes grants to projects and organizations that follow amateur radio’s practice and tradition of technical experimentation in both AR and digital communication science. Such experimentation has led to broad advances for the benefit of the general public – such as the mobile phone and wireless internet technology. ARDC envisions a world where all such technology is available through open source hardware and software, and where anyone has the ability to innovate upon it.

Learn more about ARDC at