Northwest NEWS

August 24, 1998

Valley Special

Tom Swift and the Amateur Radio Adventure

   by Fred McCarthy
   Former Riverview Executive Director of Human Resources and Curriculum

   Before Judy Blume books, the Hardy Boys and the Bobsey Twins, children who read books were enthralled with a boy named Tom Swift and his adventures. The following story harkens back to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
   The two third graders who appeared at the door were eager to leave the classroom and to go down the hallway with the Radio Club teacher.
   "What are your names?"
   "Conner," "Ralph," were the replies.
   All three were heading down to the radio room at the end of the hall and around the corner. Outside of the room on the wall was a map of the world with different colored push pins having been inserted at the locations of worldwide radio contact.
   Mr. Dumond opened the large metal door and turned on the light to reveal a room with a locked cabinet on a desk with four or five chairs around it. The boys' eyes scanned the room, took in the wires, switches, maps and postcards with large block letter call signs adorning the walls.
   Mr. Dumond took the middle seat and indicated for each boy to sit on either side of him. I found a seat behind the trio and felt like a flight engineer on a Boeing 747.
   The lock was opened and the doors were folded back. There was the radio, amplifier, antenna control and four microphones. Mr. Dumond had the boys fill in an information sheet prior to bringing the radio equipment to life.
   He asked the boys if they were ready and called their attention to the sample script on the wall.
   The antenna switch was moved, the power was turned on, the teacher's practiced fingers rotated the large primary knob as the radio crackled to life and the needles swept across the lighted meter indicators.
   The boys were shown how to hold the microphone and then Mr. Dumond keyed his mike and announced, "CQ, CQ, CQ! any station out there receiving..."
   After a three-second delay came the response.
   "This is KNEGFM - The name is Art. The location is Grass Valley, California, 50 miles east of Sacramento."
   The boys are excited and soon are engaged in an animated dialogue with Art. They find out that he is 77 years old, retired, liked assembling models when he was younger, has been to Disneyland a few times and lives without any pets in a mobile home park.
   This brief experience has opened up the world to two students and their teacher from Stillwater Elementary School on the hill above the Snoqualmie Valley in Western Washington.
   Each teacher brings their unique skills, talents and abilities to the classroom. In the Riverview District we appreciate the fact that many of our talented teachers such as Mr. Dumond bring their hobbies to school and kindle in students the desire to have diverse adventures in learning.
   1. I went to high school with Bill Dumond. He was a good basketball player and student. It was a great pleasure to see my former school friend in his professional capacity. Thank you, Bill, for keeping the airwaves open for the next generation.
   2. I have enjoyed writing these articles during this past year and appreciate Lisa Allen and the Valley View for publishing them. The Riverview School District has been the best experience of my educational career. I was honored to work here and be a part of a team of dedicated professional educators.
   Thank you to my friend and Superintendent, Dr. Jack Ernst, the school board, administrators, teachers, support staff, students and citizens. I am taking many great memories with me to my new adventures.