Dorminy is on the MASTERS list for the third year in a row – Henry County Times
For Jonathan Dorminy of McDonough, the seeds of his passion for amateur radio were planted many years ago.
The catalyst for this passion, he said, came when he received a book on the subject as a Christmas present.
“Amateur radio allows you to talk to people all over the world, and it’s a very technical hobby,” Dorminy said. “You can build your own transmitters and receivers and, through this, you will learn about the actual circuits and electronics used in commercial communication devices. “
Dorminy, 14, was recently named to the Broadcom MASTERS Top 300 for the third year in a row. Broadcom is the national college science research fair. Dorminy is one of 1,800 applicants to be on the 2021 Broadcom MASTERS list.
For this year’s project, Dorminy built on past efforts by amateur radio, which also culminated in Broadcom accolades in 2019 and 2020.
“I wanted to replace the receivers in my project with lockable amplifiers,” said the home-schooled freshman. “I wanted to do this because lockable amplifiers are the most sensitive receivers right now, which allows for better communication with a weak signal.”
Dorminy learned in early September that he was on the MASTERS list for the third year in a row.
“I was incredibly happy and proud of myself,” he said.
MASTERS stands for “Maths, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars”. The annual list, compiled by the Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & the Public, honors the nation’s top college students in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition.
In 2020, the Dorminy project featured a basic continuous wave transmitter. He also used locked amplifier receivers connected to a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, which is roughly the size of a credit card.
“I wrote a program that would allow a person to send and receive text messages with this system,” he said.
Dorminy said that looking at the news during hurricane season a few years ago, a hurricane hit the Bahamas Islands. Dorminy then began to think about the effects of inclement weather on roads, bridges and other forms of infrastructure.
“The most important communication infrastructure for emergency response is the communication infrastructure,” he said. “If first responders don’t have communication, they can’t respond as effectively. My project was, I wanted to create a device that would help solve this problem.
Dorminy said voice communication is made more difficult during a hurricane – an issue he was determined to improve in some way.
“If you are talking into a phone, your voice might be muffled,” he said.
“If you are outside in the wind and rain during a hurricane, you can see how difficult it would be to communicate with your voice. I wanted to create a method of sending SMS completely independent of the cellular network, in order to eliminate the interference inherent in voice communication.
Dorminy is expected to help make Project 4-H happen this year, using her ham radio work, her mother, Ann, said. She said Jonathan also holds an Extra Class Amateur Radio license, which allows him to do anything authorized by the Federal Communications Commission.
“It’s a huge amount of physics study – more than an AP course,” said Ann Dorminy. The mother congratulated her son on his accomplishments in amateur radio. Still, she said his motivation is not driven by the recognition he receives.
“I was very proud of him because he spent a lot of time studying ideas from physics, astronomy and other sciences to come up with ideas for his next innovation,” said Ann Dorminy. “The rewards are secondary. He really enjoys sharing what he has learned and what he is doing.
Jonathan Dorminy said he had a passion “beyond the awards” for amateur radio communication. Rather than halt his research, he hopes to learn more about the subject in the years to come.
“I think I want to become an electrical engineer,” he said. “I can’t wait to continue the project. While working on this project I learned a lot about circuits and electrical engineering in general, so I start early in a fun way.