The Third Saturday in October has lost its luster in recent years, as the Vols have lost the past six games against Alabama.
For UT's Amateur Radio Club, however, The Third Saturday in October has a different meaning.
Every year, the Boy and Girl Scouts of America participate in the "Jamboree-on-the-Air" on October's third Saturday, a chance for members to contact other scouts around the globe. They also gain experience with amateur radio, known commonly as ham radio. A handful of students and an alumna were on hand to help the scouts learn the basics of two-way radio communication.
"We presented a class to them about amateur radio, and how to use the radio," Bobbie Williams, the advisor and call trustee for the club, said. "Following the class we let them talk on the radio using several different frequencies."
With two different radios set up, the club had access to both short range and long range frequencies. Williams said that the new amateur radio buffs were able to make contact with other scouts, despite poor weather conditions. They enjoyed a chance to surf the airwaves, almost to the point of exhaustion.
"They had a blast, one of them was so tired he just about fell asleep," Williams laughed.
Michael Miceli, a sophomore in linguistics and the current club president, said he thought the scouts specifically enjoyed connecting with their fellows hundreds of miles away.
"I could tell that the thing that they enjoyed the most was contacting people out of state and out of the country," he said.
He added that the club will likely continue to help the jamboree take place.
"Any opportunity for us to use the radio all day long is exciting, so I could definitely see us doing this again next year," Miceli said.
Amateur radio hobbyists, though not especially prevalent on campus, possess a useful skill. When power lines and cell towers are taken out by natural disasters, amateur radio often provides life-saving communication, as evidenced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The club may not be on many current students' radars, but it has a storied history at UT. As recently as 2008, the club sent a radio balloon dubbed "The Spirit of Knoxville" nearly all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. The 40-hour flight covered over 3,000 miles before coming down 200 miles from the coast of Ireland. During the journey, over 13 million hits were received by their Web site, http://spiritofknoxville.com.
"We just had a special event with the Florida amateur radio club," Williams said. "Before the game that day we ... were on the air contacting people, we made probably 150 contacts that day."
Next Thursday the club will have an exhibit at Engineering Day, with a low power QPR station set up. Later this semester, they will join forces with amateur radio clubs across the SEC to cover the SEC Championship game.