ALBANY — Surrounded by radio gear, Gene Clark sat in his
chair and listened intently as his two sixth grade proteges
were interviewed by a reporter recently.
Dalton Duggers, 11, and Jordan Sirmans, 12, recently earned
their radio technician’s licenses, making them two of the
youngest licensed ham radio operators in Georgia. The two
friends are are members of the Albany Amateur Radio Club
(AARC) and are in the Gifted Program at Merry Acres Middle
Clark, the president of the AARC, is also the elected first
leader of Georgia. A retired physician, Clark is also
“I’d watched my grandfather talking to people all over the
U.S. and Canada and thought that would be a pretty cool
thing to do,” Dalton said. “I decided to get into (ham
radio) and have really enjoyed it a lot. I just want to be
able to talk to people all over the country.”
Dalton’s new hobby caught the eye of his friend, Jordan.
“I saw Dalton having so much fun, I got a little jealous and
asked Mr. Gene if he would also teach me,” Jordan said. “I
enjoy talking to people. My little five-watt transmitter
(which he patted fondly for emphasis) has reached all the
way to Atlanta.”
The boys are currently working on moving up in the ham radio
hierarchy to a general class license which would grant them
“I work with the boys for an hour two days a week after
school,” Clark, who has been a ham enthusiast since 1956,
He then turned and tapped a stack of flash cards on his
“There are 800 questions here. When you take the test (to
earn a license or upgrade), you will be asked 35 questions
and you must answer 70 percent correctly,” Clark said. “I am
doing something different with the boys. These two kids are
special. They represent the future of amateur radio. I am
trying to teach them what the answers mean rather than just
teaching them the answers to the questions.”
Clark’s goal is to stretch the boys brains academically as
well as socially.
“After all, physics is physics and math is math, he said. “I
want them to do what they are really interested in.”
Shortly after receiving their technicians licenses, the boys
put it to practical use during Albany’s Christmas Parade.
“We rode our bicycles around and help set up the floats in
their proper position,” Dalton said. “We used our radios a
lot. We helps get the floats in the correct order so that
the parade would not be a jumbled mess.
Dalton (call sign KK4TXW) and Jordan (call sign KK4TSF) both
have goals set for their future in amateur radio.
“I’d like to reach Extra Class (the highest license possible
in amateur radio) and talk to someone in Asia, Europe or
anywhere else in the world,” he said. “I think that would be
“I’d like to get the Extra Class too and talk to people all
over the world, then meet them in person.”
Clark (call sign W4AYK) would approve.