RS Components has donated 23 Raspberry Pi computer board kits to schools that attended the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) ‘Centenary Day’ event.

The centenary commemoration was held at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park to celebrate 100 years of radio technology and the existence of the RSGB, which represents Britain’s amateur radio enthusiasts.

During the day, a number of activities, talks and displays took place, involving the general public, members of the RSGB, and three schools in Bedfordshire – Wootton Upper School, Holywell Middle School and Marsden Vale Middle School – from which 20 children, who have demonstrated a keen aptitude and passion for mathematics and IT, were selected to take part in a ‘Buildathon’.

The main event of the day, the ‘Buildathon’ – supported by RS via its donations of the Raspberry Pi boards – was all about learning through building. Students were given a project to build a radio to receive 14MHz transmissions and decode the datastream using Raspberry Pi computers. While most were building receivers, a small group were also learning to program the Raspberry Pi to create a computer-logging program that listed all the amateur radio stations they managed to tune into on the day. In addition to the ‘Buildathon’, Raspberry Pi enthusiasts also talked about how they had used their Pi for many different applications such as bird-box time-lapse photography.

“We are really grateful for the donation of the Raspberry Pi kits from RS, and I’m really enthusiastic to get them back to school and start using them in the classroom,” said Sarah Chick, Assistant Head at Wootton Upper School, who is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Co-Ordinator and the school project leader. “The children are really interested in the project, and it was also great to see so many girls at the event.”

Two RS Components executives – Colin Eddy, Business Development Manager for Raspberry Pi & New Technologies, and Pete Wood, DesignSpark Community Manager – also attended the day to demonstrate to the amateur radio society members just a few of the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi, including giving demos of the Model B Raspberry Pi camera module.

“The Raspberry Pi has been a massive success in bringing easy access to low-cost computing and electronics technology to a multitude of people,” said Colin Eddy, RS Components. “We join with the Radio Society of Great Britain in celebrating its centenary and also making this such a successful day in introducing computing and radio communications technologies to a new generation of enthusiasts.”

“While it is true that radio technologies have changed a great deal over the past 100 years, the amateur spirit remains the same,” said Graham Coomber (call sign G0NBI), General Manager of the RSGB. “However, we need to continue our work and forge relationships with key partners such as RS to help drive enthusiasm for fantastic initiatives such as the Raspberry Pi and create opportunities for young people to learn about the technologies that are so influential in our world today.”


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