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Note: If we have a web cam going, click http://kc5cyy.dyndns.tv - yes it's a work in progress.  Do not click any buttons, but if you do.  Use guest as your user name and guest as your password (both are lower case.)

Imagine being 10 years old (again) and seeSky View of the Park 
Pavilioning a grown man get excited because he just talked with someone in Japan, or someone aboard the Queen Mary, W6RO, or the USS Cod, W8COD. That excitement is exactly what Lawton OK based K5USA creates during their Amateur Radio Outreach program. Taking the "Get On The Air" (GOTA) station idea straight from the ARRL, W1AW, Field Day playbook. The local parkisKid's Zone and it's filled with kids and parents. These park visitors are of course non-amateurs, making them perfect audience members.

Kid's Zone (Left) and adjacent pavilion (photo center) provide a fantastic facility to introduce amateur radio, complete with power and overhead protection. The openness of the location allows for casual observations, and opportunities for the forever magical question, "What-cha-doing?" With that one question, the stage is set for GOTA opportunities!

When the group is active in the park, they try to have a web cam up and running. Click this live feed link www.hamsoncams.com to observe the activities.

You are welcome to follow K5USA on Twitter. The goalis to send out 1 message when active in the park, nearly every Saturday, typically telling the frequency they are active on. If you have HF capabilities, you're encouraged to stop in, make a contact and enjoy a nice QSO. The group uses one of two antennas, a ATV - 12 vertical (typical setup) and a G5VR streached between the corner of the tennis court and the playground.

With a core group of amateurs they’ve been doing this monthly since August 2008. Typically, meeting on the third Sunday of each month, (weather permitting) and set up one or two stations inside the pavilion area. If the weather is nice on a non-scheduled event weekend; they’ll do a bonus outreach event. This school year, the goal is to go to the park every Saturday during the school year from about noon until 4pm. Their commitment and focus remains the same. Be excited when presenting amateur radio, after all, not everyone can talk to an astronaut! Be consistent in the message and presentation! Be persistent in presence and visibility! Be prepared to count your successes on one hand!

Top Right, 11 year old Keeley is doing a peer to peer demonstration. Initially very shy and soft spoken, until she spoke with WD5USA. Keeley in her very soft voice said that she lived in Austin, TX and was here (Lawton, OK) visiting her grandmother for Spring Break. Mike a Texas native, let out a huge "Hookem Horns". Instantly, Keeley had a big smile, found her voice and started talking up a storm! Keeley, like all guest operators received a radio card (QSL card) complete with contact information, the date of the next scheduled outreach event and information about the next amateur radio class.

Clifton Harper, KE5YZBThe outreach program caught the attention of Eisenhower Middle School art teacher Clifton Harper. Clifton studied and earned his Technician license as, KE5YZB. Clifton upgraded to General and received support to start the Viking Radio Club, KF5CRF as an alternate school activity. Viking members may use the radio before and after school or during their scheduled lunch if it doesn't conflict with Clifton's classes. The club meets each Tuesday prior to the start of school. Peer to peer teaching is constantly in progress within the club. All members are required to learn their name and club callsign phonetically.

The Viking Radio Club has about 21 members, mostly girls and about 9 are studying for their Technician License. The majority of the students are in the 6th grade. There is a lot of growth potential before they go off to 9th grade and start high school. Viking members enjoy a scholarship for the cost of study materials and testing fees. The Club has regularly participated in School Club Roundup events since being formed in the fall of 2009. Several Vikings have joined in the fun of the Outreach program and contributed to the success of the program. For recent photos please go click here. The other area school program is with W5LHS, Lawton High School. Generally, the Eisenhower Middle School district feeds into the Eisenhower High School, where they are still looking for an interested teacher to take on a radio in the classroom program.

 

Kid's Zone20 Meter Home Brew 1/4 wave wire antenna

If you desire to send a physical QSL card, it will be passed on to the guest operator. Please address outreach event QSL cards to Paul Goulet, KC5CYY and put the guest operators name on the card. If you include an SASE, we will attempt to have the guest operator complete a card and return it to you. Thank you for spending a few minutes inspiring a potential future radio operator.

* The original idea for operating from a park setting came from the Mesquite, TX radio club WJ5J. The concept was reworked to focus on introduction to non-amateurs. Apr 9 2011

Lessons Learned

Over the months the group has learned a few things.

  1. Most kids are mic-shy. Thankfully, kids come in pairs and one is more likely to get on the radio, amazingly the mic-shy child will provide most of the input. Be ready to prompt and coach. Kids are quick to answer with just a yes or no, frustrating the remote operator! After this little bit of prompting the (distant) operator may be able to get the conversation rolling.
  2. Queue Cards? Have something written and point to the words. Pre-formatted 5x7 Queue cards may work fine? Have card arranged in a conversational order.
    Card 1 Card 2
    Hello my Name is ______________________________. My favorite subject in school is ________.
    I am __________ years old and in the ________ grade. I enjoy playing (sport or instrament) ___________.
      When I am older I want to _________.
  3. Identify your target age group and design your program to interest those ages.
  4. Bob Roundtree, KC5EIU is the first to tell parents – Amateur radio is a lot more than talking on the radio!
    1. Be prepared to tell what the “lot more” is.
    2. Be consistent and be persistent.
    3. Develop a schedule and make it work for your events.
  5. Identify key support operators.
    1. Those naturally great with kids.
      1. Limit the size of your key supporters to 3 or 4.
      2. Large group of hams socializing may send the wrong message and shy some interested youth away.
    2. Youthful operators, the more the merrier, they tend to make a really fast connection to the younger guest operator. Take advantage of that natural rapport.
    3. Utilize and mentor operators that lack access to HF opportunities or experience, especially those that live in an apartment or antenna restrictive areas.
  6. Mom and dad will be asking questions, be ready.
    1. Identify who’s talking for the group.
    2. Have a consistent message.
    3. Have something to hand them with current information. (See Below!)
    4. Answer their questions – referring to a web site is lame and do you really think they will look it up?
      1. Why should my kid go to all this trouble when cell phones are so readily available?
      2. Be ready for the Internet question too.
      3. Remember the journey of self-learning!
      4. Positively embrace new technologies! Hams have benefitted too. But remember, how did we get here.
  7. Find an operator that loves doing something actively on the radio?
    1. CW and Phone will have the most activity, but SSTV, RTTY and/or PSK will work also, just have someone doing something.
    2. This operator is the grinding wheel – who may not be the best person to talk with visitors, but is always active.
    3. Activity draws in the curious. You'll have something of interest to talk about!
  8. Be excited —
    1. WOW!!! He just talked to the USS COD, an amateur radio station aboard a WWII submarine in Cleveland, OH.
    2. How exciting will it be when you make contact with the Queen Mary?
    3. What about a distant lighthouse or a foreign country?
    4. Treat every (radio) contact as a new contact and walk through those introductory steps each time.
      1. Introduce yourself and spell your name even if you are on a local repeater talking to the regulars.
      2. A bit of show and tell goes a long way – even if it is your planned backup remote station waiting on the local repeater.
  9. CW -- Morse Code!
    1. ALWAYS have a key available
    2. Be ready to challenge them to learn something that may someday save their life. Have a unique story to tell.
    3. Provide positive reinforcement for their effort.
    4. Have a means of attaching a computer to verify their input. They'll believe a computer long before they believe the most experienced fist in your club.
    5. Kid’s love keys!
  10. If you build it they will come. Occasionally build something, right there during your Outreach event.
  11. Welcome! Have a colorful welcoming sign prominently positioned that invites people to your event.
  12. Banner? Determine the location and don't hide your activities behind your great looking banner. Banners take setup time.
  13. Be safety conscience.
    1. Ask people to move away from antenna structures.
    2. Place antenna(s) away from obvious pathways.
    3. Use safety cones or safety tape.
    4. ALWAYS - At least two adults present - ALWAYS. A non-ham is ok.
  14. Provide a localized information flyer?
    1. Hand one to your visitor when they leave.
    2. Include WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW.
    3. Include your next planned Outreach event?
    4. Include contact information?
    5. Include the next licensing class start date?
  15. Make the local repeater a resource too.
    1. Ask volunteer operators to reply back when requested.
    2. Avoid using event staff for this.
  16. Document your events!
    1. Web, media and always include pictures.
    2. Send a report to your state director, and anyone and everyone that supports youth enrichment programs.
    3. Remember your friends at the Park and Recreation Department
      1. Occasionally take them a Hard Copy!
      2. People in these positions love talking positively about how their facility is being utilized for community benefit!
      3. If consistently present at a single location, get on their calendar.
    4. Kick a copy back to kc5cyy@arrl.net, he enjoys reading about your attempts, successes and ideas and looks forward to borrowing a few.
  17. Media coverage? Absolutely!
    1. Take advantage of that resource whenever you can get them.
    2. Have a good speaker be the front guy.
    3. Prepare a list of talking points that everyone should read.
    4. Be prepared for no-shows -- and when that happens only reinforce the positives of the event (not the fact that the media was a no-show).
  18. Change it up and do something different.
    1. Bring out renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind generators.
    2. Drag that great fist out of their shack and bring them to the park!
    3. Be prepared to talk about these extras.
    4. This type of eye candy tends to bring out adults that ask – wha-cha-doing?
  19. Metrics. Set reasonable goals to measure successes.
    1. We measure successes based on positive contacts and interactions.
    2. Be patient! New amateurs will happen, but that process takes months – and years.
    3. Providing an opportunity for kids to enjoy a positive experience and learn about amateur radio is enough fun for us, and that’s why we go to the park.
  20. Amateur Radio is a unique and satisfying hobby providing rich opportunities to enhance lives. The amateur radio journey and experience can not be duplicated by making "contacts" using modern telephone infrastructure that deliberately by-passes the radio part of amateur radio.

 

 

 

5008 Last modified: 2013-09-07 10:39:09, 65229 bytes

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