I won’t be attending the 2017 Dayton Hamvention this year. I have been asked to be a groomsman for a close friends wedding.
The wedding takes place on May 20, 2017.
Hamvention takes place on May 19-21, 2017.
There may be a chance that I attend a Thursday session like FDIM or Contest University, or even partially on Friday; who knows. It’s but a 5.5 hour drive away from St. Louis, but this time I’m not sure of the wedding schedule. We shall see. If I can’t attend, at least W5KUB will be livestreaming it.
With all the YOTA US stuff going on, and Dayton being the best meeting of interested persons in all things ham radio, it’s a bummer, but it’s what you do for your friends. 🙂
I posted it to the amateurradio subreddit, where it got some discussion. Then, another post, nearly simultaneously popped up on reddit regarding interest in a “University/Colleges on the Air” – of course they couldn’t call it Schools on the Air, as that would compete with the other SOTA, but that’s besides the point.
There are a lot of college and university amateur radio clubs out there, both active and defunct. There have been attempts to collect interest, either through collegiate contests or sub-contests (such as the Intercollegiate Championship that hasn’t been going on since 2011), online communities (like CollegeARC developed by Brent and Bryce Salmi from Rochester Institute of Technology K2GXT, but went defunct sometime in mid to late 2013 after they graduated), and now the Dayton Hamvention Collegiate Dinner and the Collegiate Ham Radio Operators Facebook Group.
I have great interest vested in these topics. Throughout my ARRL Youth Editorship, I poked and prodded ARRL to do more to promote amateur radio to colleges, and vice versa. It cam in the form of free books, promotional materials, and licensing materials, but never have they showed the support they are featuring in the article.
ARRL provides a large amount of grants and scholarships totaling many tens of thousands of dollars – or more – but many of these scholarships often go unclaimed! This is because too many don’t know about them.
Promoting amateur radio in colleges is a huge untapped resource for both the hobby, and the STEM economy. Every technical job I had was resultant of something ham radio related, and it’s obvious that it the hobby has huge merits in electrical and computer engineering and computer science.
Plus, as mentioned in the article, colleges are super competitive! College football wouldn’t be a thing if they weren’t!
Although I don’t agree with the name “Ivy + Amateur Radio” as an all-inclusive invitation to colleges and universities across the world to join up, I still think the ARRL is doing collegiate ham radio a great service to show support, especially from the CEO level. After all, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
I hope to see something great come of this! Conference championships? Colleges/Universities on the Air? A yearlong QSO party for colleges? Incorporating “college” category into large ARRL contests like sweepstakes and ARRL DX? Revamping school club roundup? Tons of ideas.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below if you wish to talk college ham radio. Or send your support straight to the ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher NY2RF, himself!
Too little am I able to express what ham radio is as effectively as I did tonight to a group of friends. Let me tell you what happened:
I live in Saint Louis, which is home to the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club – the largest radio club in STL. I am a member, and I infrequently attend their meetings, events, gatherings, and usually attend their yearly hamfest – Winterfest.
Tonight they hosted a 2 meter FM simplex contest.
After a day of thrift shopping and hitting up the Scarlett’s Wine Bar with my fiancée, I joined up in the contest at around 8:30pm – an hour after it’s 7pm start.
I set up the FT-897 (on loan from WØEEE), with the Slim-jim J-pole I built in the YOTA camp in Austria just a few months ago. I mounted it on a 32′ push-up fiberglass pole I bought from Packtenna at Dayton.
So back to the start: this rooftop patio is frequented by the tenants of my apartment building, so throughout the evening a few people came up and hung out, smoked, drank a beer or glass of wine with a friend and left after a while. I was in a corner so as to not interfere with anyone else’s enjoyment of the evening.
Having made almost 20 contacts and not having any further luck, I decided to pack up early. As I was doing so one group of three friends came over to ask what I was doing.
Abraham was one guy who was very curious. He was really interested in the tall mast I had set up. His friends were a little less interested (but also probably a bit more drunk) but still hung around Abraham, my fiancee and I fascinated by what I was doing.
I explained that this was a contest to get the most contacts as possible with other ham radio operators in the area; that this wasn’t like broadcasting: I’m talking to other people in the area over two-way radio.
I showed him my log, and pointed out all the zip-codes of every contact I made.
I told him about other kinds of contests – ones on HF where instead of zip-codes, I contact other states and countries, and that in fact the CQ WW RTTY contest is going on right now, and earlier Japan and Taiwan were coming in really strongly, which is pretty rare!
Amazement. Bewilderment. Genuine interest! All from a guy who’s never heard of this hobby!
Meanwhile, Jesten explains ham radio’s other sides – ARES and emergency communications, specifically the roles ham radio plays in disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, wildfires, and earthquakes, as well as tornado and severe weather spotting.
On top of that, I was wearing a 100 Acre Wood Rally shirt – an autocross rally where the likes of Ken Block and Travis Pastrana race suped-up 4WD super-cars on gravel roads in the middle of rural Nowhere, MO; an event that could not take place without volunteerism from the ham radio community. That, along with bike races, foot races, parades, and other wide-spread events requiring a lot of communication coordination, is a small part of what hams do.
It may have seemed that we overwhelmed poor Abraham and his friends, but it was not so. The conversation was very two-way. Before I became too crazed about my hobby, Jesten – who isn’t a ham, but has to deal with my day-to-day ham radio life – kept me in check. After we packed up and said our goodbye, she was flabbergasted at how well we sold ham radio. Who knows if Abraham will become a ham – that doesn’t matter, persay. What matters is that he left both with a ton of cool new knowledge, and a smile.
That is awesome.
This is what I do in the hobby; this is why I’m a ham. I’m not really a contester, or a emcommer, or DXer, or ragchewer. I’m a promoter. I’m here because ham radio always needs more people, either more licensees, or just more people aware of it. Knowing I am doing my part in these little accidental ways makes me happy, and that’s really what it’s all about.