The Fox TV show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" challenges the adult participants to demonstrate that they know more than the typical fifth grader knows by answering any number of questions covering any number of subjects.
With that in mind, anyone who heard and saw fifth grader Jim Krentzel, KE0GEY, do a Tech Night presentation on the Morse Code April 15 at Faith Technologies in Olathe knows full well that he's not your typical fifth grader, that he is, in fact, much smarter than that.
Standing before an audience made up almost entirely of hams several times his age, 11-year-old Jim eagerly treated them to a repetition of the presentation he's been able to do at Pioneer Ridge Middle School in Gardner for some of his fellow students. His talk, enhanced by matching-content slides, lasted about 10 minutes and concluded with the showing of the "That's all Folks!" screen image long associated with the cartoon character Porky Pig.
Jim told the group, among other things, that the Morse Code was invented by Samuel Morse in 1839 and that the universal distress signal, SOS, is represented visually by a combination of dots and dashes that some people like to refer to as "dits" and "dahs". He also demonstrated how to use two very similar devices by which information can be transmitted across great distances using radio, the straight key and the paddle key.
Jim said he became interested in learning the Morse Code after seeing his grandfather, William Berokoff, KI7O, communicate with other hams in this manner. Berokoff lives in Beavercreek, Oregon.
Over the past eight or nine months, club member Jim Andera, K0NK, has been teaching Jim the basics of amateur radio and the effort has paid off twice already. In October, this smarter-than-a-fifth-grader fifth grader received his Technician's license, and in March he earned his General license.
Jim's proud parents are Troy and Sarah Krentzel, who live relatively close to Jim Andera.
And in the spirit of everyone's favorite "oinker", Porky Pig, that's all folks!