Sunday , 25 February 2018
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DHS Senior Project Spotlight: Tanner Abernathy – Amateur Radio’s Place in the Modern World

Each year, Discovery High School seniors complete a yearlong research project focused on an important issue facing members of the school, community, or world.  Our students gain a deep understanding of their issue through research, mentoring from a leader in the field, and the development of a project to address the issue.  Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight several DHS senior projects in The Compass.  To learn more about the DHS Senior Project experience, please contact Geoff Crosson –

An amateur radio towerName:  Tanner Abernathy

Driving Question:  How is Amateur Radio still useful in the modern world?

Why I selected the project:  I selected this project because of my strong interest in radio technology, and that fact that it is viewed as useless and outdated by most people.  I wanted to prove that it still holds an important spot in the world.

Description of the research/conclusion and the product:  After spending several months researching, I determined that amateur radio does, in fact, serve a very important role in the modern world.  Amateur radio is the main backup for communication for almost all emergency situations that take place.  Through organizations, amateur operators are trained and placed at the ready to form a communications network if any emergency occurs.  A great example of this is the earthquake that occurred in Haiti some years ago.  A majority of the country was left without power and Internet, but the amateur radio operators that arrived were able to set up communications within hours.  One other thing that shows its usefulness is modern data networks that can be built using amateur equipment.  These networks can allow data transfers to occur at high speeds over large distances.  These networks are also what make up the backbone of my senior product.  My product is a weather data network that reliably collects weather data from multiple remote towers throughout the county.  I was only able to build two of the three planned towers, but I did end up coming across a great opportunity where the City of Conover paid for a third tower to be placed on top of city hall.

Contact Information:

Tanner Abernathy

About Heather Mullins

Dr. Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Her dissertation focused on improving principal practice through strategic professional development. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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