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W8LT - A History of Amateur Radio at Ohio State University

W8LT is the call sign for the Amateur Radio and RF Club at The Ohio State University (OSU).

The university club has a long history, and archive records indicate that 1926 was the year it officially became a club, likely making it the oldest one on campus. W8LT is just 3 years shy of celebrating its 100th anniversary.

In the early 1920s, the call sign started out as 8LT, until the Radio Act of 1927 added a "W" to all radio call signs. Then, W8LT had been closely associated with WOSU Radio, the university's non-commercial station, which began as WEAO in June of 1922. The two stations were believed to have shared a small building near campus until the mid-1950s.

In 1957, both stations were moved to small military-style Quonset huts. From July 1961 to January 1963, the club was unable to find a location anywhere on campus, so all of their equipment was put into storage in club member Bill Hale's, K8JIX, basement and brought out only for ARRL Field Day each June.

Eventually, W8LT found a new home in the bell tower at Ohio Stadium, a room directly below where the bell rings after every home-game win. That location allowed a 500-foot-long wire antenna to be stretched from the tower to a nearby smokestack at OSU's power station. The result was a very powerful signal that could be heard clearly on stations around the world.

When Ohio Stadium was renovated, W8LT moved again, this time to Bevis Hall, where it remains today near the location of the old military - style Quonset huts.

Today, the club continues to grow with 15 active members, including students, staff, and alumni.

Faculty Advisor Larry Feth, K8HTC, said that the club takes every opportunity to recruit new members and offer license testing sessions.

More information is available on the W8LT website and on their Facebook page.

W8LT is an ARRL Affiliated Club and participates in the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Program.


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