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

Gary - KC3PO

I'd be willing to pitch in on the Ham Class Instructor route as long as I could work it into my schedule. I don't have any realistic room for the rest of this year, but there will be some things falling off my current burden beyond that. I've taught electronics and test equipment topics before, so no big deal there.

I think offering workshops is a very good idea - my first club in Colorado Springs gave classes for Tech and General and there was good participation.

I'm already a VE, but not very active... mainly due to compatibility with my current schedule.

STEM... well, I'm always interested in supporting STEM, but I'd have to see what that entails and it would be limited by my availability as well, so it just depends... but I have some interest in it.

- Gary  KC3PO

Alan - W6WN

Hi Gary,

You and I share the same challenge, balancing our hobby against our home and work obligations. I can understand why so many of us got into this hobby when we were kids and then got out of it for years while we launched careers and raised families. A comprehensive, 360° program is going to take a group effort to be effective. Especially any program that involves school presentations would most likely need to be scheduled during school hours. 

I'm still some years away from retirement, but I'm willing to at least help start the process now and see where it leads. I've already started a list of tasks that don't involve a lot of face time. Much of this involves expanding what the Club and its Members are already doing:

  1. Identify local school contacts and resources
  2. Learn what they're already doing with science and technology
  3. Develop a mailing list
  4. Develop a brochure specifically for schools, highlighting local resources they can share with their students
  5. Develop a short, general presentation about radio, and the role local clubs play.
  6. Develop and promote hands-on license application training programs
  7. Expand our existing programs to recruit Exam Applicants,
  8. Develop a follow up program to encourage newly-licensed Hams

Best Regards,

Alan Thompson - W6LAN
enior Technician
El Dorado Networks