Back From PacifiCon 2018 #volunteer

Alan - W6WN

This was my first trip to PacifiCon, and I enjoyed it a lot. The Banquet keynote speaker, Jeri Ellsworth, AI6TK, was very entertaining, and her anecdotes proved how far you can get with smarts, grit and moxie.
For me, the seminars have always been the best part of these Conventions, and they're the main reason I attend. Friday kicked off with an all-day series of seminars on antennas. Sunday was devoted to DMR workshops.  I especially liked the Ham Instructor Academy, presented by Gordon "Gordo" West, WA6BOA. Gordo brought many of the props he uses to demonstrate electronic principles to would-be Hams, even a mad-scientist device that sets fire to a pickle using Morse Code :)
There was something for everyone: Contesting, DX, Kit building, CW, EmComm, Digital, Satellites, Moon Bounce, Remote Ops, DMR, QRP, SOTA - so many different interests and they were all covered at PacifiCon. Yet, ever since I'd regained my license last year, I've been unable to pin down any one thing about Ham Radio that really revs my motor.
Then, Gordo's Academy, and a seminar on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school programs, by Darryl Paule, KI6MSP, gave me the answer I'd been searching for. I spoke to Gordo afterwards, and mentioned one my concerns about brand new Hams passing their exams only to be largely left to find their own way after that. My own experience was that I was literally "over the moon," right after I had passed my license exams. But nobody was there to help focus that enthusiasm. I realized that passing a license exam is not an end point. Instead, it's just one of many steps needed to develop the next crop of new Hams and scientists.
So, my biggest takeaway from PacifiCon 2018 was that it helped me discover where I'm going to put much of my focus, and it's squarely on helping to promote technology and science to the next generation through Ham Radio. My goals this next year are to get qualified as a STEM Workshop facilitator, a Ham Class Instructor, and as a VE. 
Ideas, advice and partners welcome :)
Best Regards,

Alan - W6LAN
VSAT Field Engineer
El Dorado Networks

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