|Don, I participate in a ham radio subforum, which is in an Outdoors subforum of a gun forum I frequent. We've been egging on guys to get their licenses, encouraging them to study for more than just the Tech, and many have.|
This was posted by one of the new hams recently:
"I fiddled with my tuner, and found a QSO in progress on 3.890...I called out and Immediately a gent by the name of Larry came back. I gave my call, QTH, and name...and mentioned this was my first QSO-then all trains halted!
"From there Larry, Duke and Nathan chatted along for a bit, asking questions and offering advice (just like you'd hope someone would treat a Green Ham)! They asked about my antenna, and I mentioned I was running about 75' of random wire- no counterpoise? What counterpoise? So I ran out, strung 75' feet of #14 on the ground and called back into the guys-Signal went from S4 to S7....ran another 50' or so and got to S9! Was also directed to up the mic gain and hold it closer to my trap.
"So what if it was only about 225+ miles, I finally got it done; with NVIS to boot––––it wound up being a pretty great day."
Not my very first QSO, but the one that stands out was my 6th. My first few contacts were scheduled with hams I knew. Then I heard a contester calling for Louisiana. I figured I'd fill out his log and answered. Somehow I got through the pileup, and he asked, "Is this your first QSO?" (How could he tell?) I replied, "Heck, no, I'll have you know this is my 6th... " Well, Bill K4EOA, though he could have given me a quick 73, and on with his contesting instead took time out, explained how contests worked, the jargon, what the various terms meant, all that. In the time he took with me he could have worked 15 or 20 others. And he welcomed me to ham radio, as did others waiting patiently in the pileup. When I grow up to be a real ham I want to be just like Bill K4EOA.
Along those lines, last October we hosted about 15 Boy Scouts (all well behaved kids, asked good questions, polite to a fault) in our club station W5BMC for JOTA, Jamboree on the Air. We talked about what ham radio is and isn't, propagation, other things, and then listened a bit with an Icom 718, Samlex 1223, and LDG IT-100 with a 80 m OCFD outside. There was a guy, VE3---, talking to other Scouts and when I heard him closing out the QSO I said, "OK, hold my Dr. Pepper and watch this..."
"VE3---, VE3--- this is W5BMC, W5BMC..." paused, and Tony VE3--- came right back. I had moments before pointed at the map on the wall and asked, "Do you see where VE3 is?" The boys said, "That's up in Canada!" W5BMC is our club call, we are on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
VE3--- came right back, and soon the boys were lined up, Tony talking to each of them in turn for a few minutes, then they'd pass the mic to the next boy. Tony asked "How do you like being a Scout... what do you guys do... so, is Ham Radio something you think you might be interested in doing?"
One boy turned it around, "Were you a Scout as a boy?" There was a bit of a pause before Tony answered. And the answer, well, you could have heard a pin drop.
"No, I was in a bad accident and was laid up a long time. And even when I got out of the hospital I couldn't participate in most of the Scouting activities so I kind of missed out on that. I'm in a wheelchair."
Well, after Tony and the boys were finished I used that as a teaching moment. ANYBODY can participate in ham radio. There are very young kids that pass the test, there is no age limit. Or people with bad disabilities such as Tony, and the test teams will make accommodations, even giving a test at a person's home if he is unable to attend a regular test session.
Don, your story struck home. I hope all new hams have that good an experience, and most do.
Paul - AE5JU