Care and feeding of new hams

Feb 22, 2011
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If someone gets a call sign and no one hears it…

Last Saturday, I spent an enjoyable morning with Kevin AH6QO, Ron AH6RH, Tom WH6DJF, and Darrell KH6XL, as Kevin held a new ham workshop at Kakaako Waterfront Park for the new hams who passed at the last test session. About 25 passed in that session, and we were fortunate enough to have six hams join us: Fred WH6DQY, Dwayne WH6DRC, Ophemia WH6DRH, Elba WH6DRI, Richard WH6DRO, Leland WH6DRR. (A whole lot of DRs in this bunch, and Kevin had made up mnemonics for some of them, all of which had some form of “down right…” They worked, though, as I was able to remember most of them.)

We were able to get all six of them on the air, whether it was just a simplex contact on 146.52 from 50 feet away, or some contacts off the 146.88 repeater (thanks to Cedric KH6CPU, Lovell AH6LL, and Cyndi WH7JA for the help, and I’m sure there were others.)

Kevin went over the basics for the new Techs – the basics of on-air behavior and ID’ing, repeater and net behavior, and the basics of walkies, mobile radios, and antennas, with the experienced hams there chiming in when needed. All in all, we had a very productive session and we hope to hear these new hams on the air soon.

That workshop addresses a larger problem we see with new licensees. Ron and I were talking after the EARC general membership meeting and he mentioned how we tend to lose newly licensed hams. Out of every 10 hams we license, nine never get on the air – never get a radio, never check into a net.

If I get a call sign and no one hears it…am I really a ham?

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t met Ron at work and if I hadn’t had his support as I passed my Technician exam. I probably would have been one of those 90% of licensees who have callsigns but no radio. And I certainly wouldn’t have gotten this far.

I’m glad to see that we’re making a greater effort toward reaching these new Technicians. Ron is doing a presentation for the Emergency Amateur Radio Club directed toward the new Techs, called “Now you have a ham license; what can you do with it?” after the EARC’s testing session on Saturday.

The session will be from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Fleet Reserve Association, 891 Valkenburgh St. If you’ve recently gotten a license, I hope you’ll make it out.

Filed Under: Ham Radio 101

One Comment

  • Dwayne Fedalizo says:

    It was a great workshop and very informative. Everyone was helpful and willing to answer questions from us newbies. Mahalo for taking the time to welcome us.

    WH6DRC (Down right cool) lol

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