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Author Topic: What are some of your favorite presentations at club meetings?  (Read 15686 times)
AG5T
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« on: January 03, 2012, 09:57:51 AM »

I am planning a possible presentation for a hamfest (and maybe even an article for QST). What have been some of your favorite presentations at your ham radio club meetings? For example, my club, the Houston ECHO Society, has had presentations such as local weather forecaster who is a ham did a weather presentation, show and tell of everyone's favorite ht, soldering "seminar," slide show from trip to Belize to dx and have other fun, hands-on building dipoles and lots more. Let me know your favorites and also, if possible, what not to do, such as having five straight months of a similar presentation. Thanks.
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K3WEC
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 09:35:08 PM »

I've never seen a club presentation, but I've heard them on some on-air nets.   Most of them have been real snoozers, so I stopped monitoring.   

A show and tell of favorite HT's would not interest me...and I'm probably one of the younger hams when you look at the demographic.  I have all of the latest non-ham gadgets but my selections are subjective and I can easily find out all I want on the internet and brochures. 

I guess it really depends on your audience (age, experience, etc.).   A lot of younger guys would probably be more interested in hands-on stuff than a PowerPoint presentation.  We give and get enough of the sit-down presentation stuff at work.    I like the build a dipole (or something like that) idea.   I've heard of j-pole builds and other practical things that help folks get on the air.  I'd be much more motivated to attend something where I could leave being able to apply something learned vs. hearing about someone's DX trip or whatnot. 

This is just one guy's opinion, obviously.
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W5ESE
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 09:30:41 AM »

I've been to a couple presentations about the Texas QSO Party,
and I enjoyed watching those.

The ones that don't interest me are the ones that are not related
to radio.

Some clubs get so desparate for topics that they have
presentations on unrelated subjects; electric power plants,
photography, astronomy, etc.

I'd prefer that a club either have a radio-related topic, or just
have an informal gathering around a meal, and gab with others
about what they're enjoying in the hobby.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 11:32:14 AM »

I learned as President of a large radio club re presentation:

-Keep it brief.
-Hands-on, interactive, is way better.
-Great presentations do something unusual that most haven't seen or done but might want to.

I used to give a lot of the presentations myself (maybe half of them, the other half were "guest" presenters who were either club members or not) and the top one in the hit parade was setting up a 70cm moonbounce station (working) in the parking lot outside the meeting.  I had it all set up a couple of hours in advance, and about 30 mins into the meeting time the moon was in a good position.  Ran a kilowatt to four stacked 21L beams from a van-mounted station, and very first key closure yielded an echo everyone could hear.  People were amazed.

One of the best "guest" presentation which also rocked the house was when Ulrich Rohde DJ2LR (now N1UL) brought in a homebrew receiver which he built in his lab and demonstrated it alongside a few modern (then) Japanese transceivers, using a 40m dipole we stretched across the room (indoors!).  Unbelievable.  His "talk" lasted only 10-15 minutes but the live demonstration went on for as long as people wanted to play with the equipment.  Very, very impressive.

Getting good, qualified speakers helps.

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W5DQ
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 01:17:00 PM »

I agree with Steve WB2WIK on the 3 guidelines to follow. I'll add one more to his selections, that being to somehow let the audience pick the topic from an array of possibly choices. I guess this can be considered a form of interactive presentation.

As the 2nd VP responsible for coordinating meeting programs/presentations, I found it a daunting task to meet everyone's expectations as to what is a good interesting topic. I generated a small survey sheet and listed out 25 basic topics covering things such as antennas, HF operations, contesting, DXing, QSLing, 6M, EME, digital modes, starting fresh with a Tech ticket, and many others. I also asked some general questions about each persons operating modes and bands, experiences in kit building, repair work, design, cable building, any experiences with EMCOMM, contesting, etc. on the other side of the half sheet (8.5x11 cut in half). I had the club members select 5 topics from the 25 they would be interested in hearing about. From that data pool and the direct question answers, I collected and weighted the results and tried to find either existing presentations online that I could use or a 'willing' expert (at least more expert than me Smiley ) to put something together. We had alot of nice presentations but it takes alot of work to coordinate it all to ensure you've got something ready for the program and a backup incase the intended speaker is not available, which happened last month. I will also admit that as a club, you're probably going to find that there aren't going to be that many people who want to get up and speak in front of an audience, even though they may know most of them personally. I found I had to do many of the monthly presentations myself as I could not get a volunteer and you can't 'voluntold' people to do it. Being able to do public speaking without fear was a great benefit as I do it in my job.

For backup topics I have a few DXpedition DVDs at the ready incase of a noshow. These always seem to get the audience's attention. I especially like Bob Allphin's (K4UEE) style of DVD presentations. Professionally done and always interesting. Showing the 3Y0X DVD in the middle of the summertime heat in the Mojave Desert is a nice way to cool things off Smiley

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
W3HKK
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 02:38:32 PM »

our club has recently  presented programs on:
-lightning protection for the shack (useful and interactive)
-emptying an emcomm carry bag, item by item (surprisingly  interesting and interactive)
-hf propagation
-held an estate sale with the gear in two trucks parked outside (another success)

Our club  is small and a mix of  contesters, EmComm, socializers, highly technical types, non-technical communicators, antenna builders, and  guys who like  special events.  WIthout a sharp focus on one area, its hard to come up with programs that please most.   But I agree with those who point out that those in charge of programming the programs have to work especially hard to put these things together, and to help focus the presentations. 

I remember from my days working through the ranks of Secretary, VP, Pres., Past, Pres., and Board Member of a local SFPE chapter, how much effort was needed to get  our technical presenters to clearly understand their audience, what  questions needed to be answered, how to best spend their time, and when to move on and wrap it up.  Presentations often seemed too brief, and often too dragged out. Rarely just right.  But presumably most were satisfied, and those wanting more details  could always button-hole the speaker afterwards.

No doubt seeing moonbounce in action is far more exciting than just listening to a talk about it.

Good food for thought.
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K3WEC
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 04:05:44 PM »

The moonbounce demo/estate sale type of program would be of great interest to me.  So would the guy with the homebrew receiver...
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K0IZ
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2012, 08:22:20 AM »

EZNEC demonstration of dipole and G5RV patterns, etc.  Show and tell on mobile installations.  Hidden transmitter hunts.  Demo using various types of test equipment.  Youtube ham radio video clips.  Video of last years field day.  Remote radio demonstration.  APRS demo and assistance on setup of software (members bring their laptops, software is installed during meeting).  SHow and tell on homebrew equipment.  Demonstration of propagation program (HamCap).  Soldering equipment demonstation.  How to use logging programs.  QSL card show and tell.  How to solder PL259 connector.  Discussion/show and tell about various types of transmission lines/cables.  Some theory programs re SWR, coax loss, antennas.  How to operate in contest.  Show and tell video/photos of club member stations.  Ins and outs of RFI, clamp on ferrites, etc.  How to use MFJ259 antenna analyser.  Demo of some new equipment.  Talk by area ham radio store owner about new stuff.  How to program HT.  Site visit to club repeater installation. Program about how repeater(s) work, how to properly use.   

Also if other clubs in area, borrow presenter from that club to do same program at yours.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 11:16:24 AM »

EZNEC demonstration of dipole and G5RV patterns, etc.  Show and tell on mobile installations.  Hidden transmitter hunts.  Demo using various types of test equipment.  Youtube ham radio video clips.  Video of last years field day.  Remote radio demonstration.  APRS demo and assistance on setup of software (members bring their laptops, software is installed during meeting).  SHow and tell on homebrew equipment.  Demonstration of propagation program (HamCap).  Soldering equipment demonstation.  How to use logging programs.  QSL card show and tell.  How to solder PL259 connector.  Discussion/show and tell about various types of transmission lines/cables.  Some theory programs re SWR, coax loss, antennas.  How to operate in contest.  Show and tell video/photos of club member stations.  Ins and outs of RFI, clamp on ferrites, etc.  How to use MFJ259 antenna analyser.  Demo of some new equipment.  Talk by area ham radio store owner about new stuff.  How to program HT.  Site visit to club repeater installation. Program about how repeater(s) work, how to properly use.   

Also if other clubs in area, borrow presenter from that club to do same program at yours.

I'd like to find a local club with those interests. Problem is there is only one local club here and it basically caters to shack-on-the-belt types. Most of our club members wouldn't even upgrade past Tech until the code was dropped. Now their all Extras and proud of it Sad

On the positive side, there are a couple of kids coming along nicely in our little group. Brother and sister as a fact and the brother is 16 now, been licensed about 18 months, is an Extra and has almost earned DXCC, just applied for WAS and received the first place certificate for CQWWDX Phone NA 15M Rookie Class and he did it mainly by himself - and some of the DXCC/WAS effort was with a 10W rig!!!!! In the club there are a few of us old codgers who do HF, chase DX and actually know Morse code and we try our best to get the others to look at ham radio across the spectrum and not be limited to SOTB VHF HT ops. Yes I realize there are those folks who can't afford a nice station or don't want to do anything but talk to local friends on a rptr. That's great if that's what they want but I have opened my station for anyone to come over and use it to ragchew or just listen. I also have asked if anyone is interested in learning about contesting or chasing DX. Nary a heartbeat spoke up or contacted me. Like the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can make him take a bath" or something like that Smiley

I tried to gain interest from the group in some of the stuff that was listed above by preparing and giving intro presentations. There was some attention but it never developed past 'Hmmm, that's interesting' and the rest just had the 'deer in the headlights' look Huh

I think the first thing that needs to be addressed when looking for presentation material is to determine the level of abilities and interest of the audience. If the audience really doesn't care about the topic, they'll probably listen to the speaker but IMHO it's a waste of time to put it all together for that sort of venue.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
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www.radioroom.org
AE5QB
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 02:09:28 PM »

I like almost all of our presentations.  I do agree that timing is important but we do need to accept the fact that not everyone is a professional speaker and give them some slack. Look for the good and discount the mistakes and have a good time with it.  I enjoy hearing about anything ham radio related.  I subscribe to the idea that we can all learn something from everyone so even if the presentation is something I feel totally comfortable with, I still enjoy it.  Here are some of the programs we have had:

EQSL and LOTW
APRS and how to use it
The AIM UHF antenna analyzer
Awesome historical videos of the evolution of transmitters and receivers with videos
Vacuum Tubes - history and operation
Loop Receiving Antennas
Video presentation of our club station build out and memorial dedication
Talks by local ARES representatives
Several presentations on our club SOTA trip to Guadalupe Peak, TX. - we have one more video presentation of the trip coming up.
Demonstrations of new gear - Flex 3000, antenna analyzers, and member stations
Antenna construction - mostly 2 meters - dipoles, moxons, j-poles
BTARS - Battleship Texas Amateur Radio club presentations
Field Day and Winter Field Day videos
Status of HOA antenna restrictions legislation in Texas

One of my favorite was by a teenage member new to the club.  He asked a question one day about how to test coax cable so I challenged him to give a presentation on the topic.  I took 4 pieces of coax and very carefully cut off the outside cover.  I then opened the shield on one, the center conductor on one, and I shorted one - center to shield.  I then covered my work with heat-shrink so from the outside they all looked identical.  So I give these three defective cables and 1 good one to the kid and send him home with a meter to figure out how to test them and figure out which ones were defective.  He did an excellent job and although it was a simple topic for the old guys, they enjoyed seeing the youngster work through the presentation.  The youngster was sweating like bullets when he finished, but he did a good job.


We did a survey of our members and here is what we got back:

Capabilities and use of antenna analyzers
Portable power sources - generators, batteries, solar
Using antenna modeling software
CW - tips to get going - practice software, keys, paddles, operating protocol
Echo Link and D-star - what is it and why do I need it
High altitude balloons
Amateur Satellite Operations
Direction finding - RFI and fox hunting
Web resources for Hams
HF Propagation - is it voodoo or can you really use it for predictions
Logging Software comparisons
RF Safety
Portable antenna projects - theory and make and take
The Quagi Antenna - What is it and how do I build one
Houston QRP Club
NOAA Weather Satellite Reception and Decoding
NVIS antennas
Formal Traffic Handling
EmComm training
Working the MS150 bike-a-thon
PIC programming
Vertical antennas and grounding systems
ARRL Traffic Handling
Mounbounce
Digital Operations
Soldering Techniques

I hope this gives you some good ideas.  Keep the presentations short (under 20 minutes) and if you can figure out how to get audience participation worked in you will have a winner.  Even the old guys get a kick out of hooking up wires to a battery and making an LED light.
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W3HKK
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 02:42:36 PM »

one of our members who has had extensive and  good experience selling  his no longer used gear online :   eBay, eHam, and QRZ did a nice presentation on how to be successful with your listings.  It went into plenty of useful detail and was a big success. 

His conclusions  included:  hamfests are drying up as sources of good equipment because more folks find buying/selling easier to do via one of the online options noted above
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K0IZ
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 06:38:45 PM »

A little more info re my post up above, our club is W0ERH, Johnson County (KS) Radio Amateur Club.   Most active (and growing) club in Kansas City area.  Members have conducted numerous Tech and General classes - over 650 newly licensed hams in last four years.   One young member has been ARRL Youth editor until recently.   Another, 14yrs old, has been club VP for couple of years.  Both have participated in the Youth DXpeditions to Costa Rica.  Meetings consist of business meeting of some 15 to 25 minutes, followed by program, which might be 30 minutes, up to max of 60.  Most are 30 to 45 minutes.  Two meetings a month.   John.
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VK5CQ
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 09:41:47 PM »

These "features" make a presentation work for me:

1. It's given "on-site" (eg, at a Sea Rescue Squadron; Metro Fire Service comms room; impressive broadcast station transmitter or studio (eg, our "Reading for Print Handicapped" broadcaster); our electricity supplier (when it was still a gov't monopoly); a nice, new Technical College's Electronics lab; local electronics / radio manufacturer (eg, CODAN, etc.); a Telecommunications Museum; etc.

Basically, anywhere people can see Electronics & (preferably) various types of radios gear - eg, radar (at Sea Rescue Squadron) - in use

Add to the list a largish collection of such items used, in earlier times.

(Of course, you won't have that luxury, at the venue you've mentioned...)

2. If relevant multimedia is used:

2a. The screen is large & bright, positioned for convenient viewing, along with the speaker

2b. The sound is -clear- & loud enough for all to hear

The cost of a wireless head-mic (with pocket/belt transmitter)
is worth the investment... if it's of good quality & noise-free.

2c. Any "powerpoint" like text shown adheres to the rules:

+ each line has FEW words,
+ in large fonts,
+ speaker moves to next slides after no more than ~ 40 seconds
+ instead of standard PowerPoint "transitions"... find some good,
clear, relevant videos, interview (with dynamic folks, who are
unavailable for a personal appearance at your talk)

Cf Kawasaki's "10-20-30 Rule of PowerPoint" (& Pitching to VC's):

. http://blog.GuyKawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

(In a nut-shell, show 10 slides, in 20 minutes,
each using 30-point fonts)

2d. Talk to, ask questions of & entertain ...the audience.

2e. Keep your finger on the pulse on the audience, &
be sure they're with you.... if not, ask a question (to
get 'em awake & engaged again).
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VK5CQ
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 09:56:35 PM »

Guy Kawasaki (ex-Apple Mac marketeer) gave a talk at Stanford,
that's on their eCorner for entrepreneurs; it's here - both in bits
and in whole - to view:

. http://eCorner.Stanford.edu/author/guy_kawasaki

Enjoy!  :-)

PS Good luck with your presentation...
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N4BCD
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 12:54:21 PM »

Two years ago, with no aspirations of running, some members thought I should be nominated & elected president of the Huntsville Alabama Radio Club (HARC).  Suddenly needed to come up with informative & entertaining programs for a club that meets WEEKLY.

I won't repeat the great ideas and presentation styles others have mentioned here except to say that hands-on nights, where we build antennas or hook up a different radio to the outside antenna and operate a mode or simply turn the knobs gets folks buzzing.  Antennas or antenna modeling also generate a lot of spark. 

Our general interest club meeting attendance runs between 25 & 40 and we try to put out a calender about a month in advance plus a drop message on the repeater about the next Friday program.

There's no shortage of technical topics one can choose from.  There is a shortage of people ready & willing to present a topic, but I've found that when asked (privately), a subject matter expert rarely says no to doing a program.  Simply ask them a few months out and more often than not you'll have a program when needed.

Mark
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