Can I use an amateur radio for a science fair? If so, do I need to prove that I have an active license?

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    $\begingroup$ I certainly see no reason that Amateur Radio, per se, would be disallowed. Your question raises suspicions... do you NOT have a license? $\endgroup$ – mike65535 Jul 12 '18 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Whether you can is up to applicable laws and rules. Please edit your question to specify your location in the tags (e.g. united-states). (And of course it's partly up to the science fair itself, but you're going to have to ask them yourself.) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jul 12 '18 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ @mike65535 His call is KM6MCM (Technician). He posted his call in another question. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 12 '18 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Stanley, may I suggest that you at least put your callsign in your user profile. And if you follow what Kevin said, then we can reopen your question and answer it. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 12 '18 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ Never mind, I just approved your edit and reopened it. :-) $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 12 '18 at 19:44

The short answer is probably. Since amateur radio is a scientific hobby, that would be a great science fair project.

You should check with the science fair administrators before you do a lot of preparation, but I cannot fathom why any science fair would reject an amateur radio exhibit. I suggest you make certain that you present your exhibit as scientific somehow, and not just present it as (for example) "Hey, I can talk to the local net, and that's fun", or present it only from the aspect that hams sometimes use it to provide a public service (like storm spotters, or disaster communications when no telephones are working).

In any case, bring a copy of your license. You can print it from the ULS page, I believe. My wife and I keep a copy of our FCC licenses with us at all times.

  • $\begingroup$ When I was in 7th grade (before I became an ham), I built an AM transmitter for the school science fair. Won first place. :-) But you wouldn't have to do anything that complex. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 12 '18 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! Did you make it to regionals? $\endgroup$ – itisyeetimetoday Jul 12 '18 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ I am trying to make an emergency packet mesh networks, hence the question you may have seen me ask. $\endgroup$ – itisyeetimetoday Jul 12 '18 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ @itisyeetimetoday In 1966 for that event, there were no regionals. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 12 '18 at 23:59

It will depend on the science fair, as well as who the fair is affiliated with (if anyone). For instance, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair says:

Projects must adhere to local, state and U.S. Federal laws, regulations and permitting conditions. In addition, projects conducted outside the U.S. must also adhere to the laws of the country and jurisdiction in which the project was performed.

Adhering to laws means you'll need to have a ham license to transmit (or find a ham who will is willing to act as control operator at all times when you transmit).


All projects must adhere to the requirements of the affiliated fair(s) in which it competes to qualify for participation in the Intel ISEF. Affiliated fairs may have additional restrictions or requirements. Knowledge of these requirements is the responsibility of the student and Adult Sponsor.

So even if you have a license or a control operator, you'll need to check with the fair itself.

Finally, be aware that there may be additional requirements when using RF:

A risk assessment (documented on Form 3) must be conducted when a student’s project involves radiation beyond that normally encountered in everyday life. Non- ionizing radiation includes the spectrum of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), microwave (NW), radiofrequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF).

  • $\begingroup$ Good point to make sure the RF exposure requirements are considered! $\endgroup$ – natevw - AF7TB Aug 30 '18 at 20:23

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