“The K1USN radio club is doing a great thing! Each year we introduce amateur radio to approximately 4,000 scouts as part of their Overnight Adventure on the USS Salem museum ship in Quincy, MA! The scout groups each receive a 30-minute presentation introducing them to amateur radio and Morse code, followed by a 30-minute hands-on radio demonstration, allowing them to talk on-the-air to hams via HF and/or 2M/IRLP. In the typical weekend (about 40 weekends per year), we do this for 6 different groups of scouts, typically reaching a total of 100 or more scouts. Who knows how many of the seeds we sew will eventually sprout into the next generation of hams?
“Unfortunately — as is too often the case — the bulk of the work tends
to fall on the shoulders of a handful of individuals. While the work is
enjoyable and gives us a tremendous sense of accomplishment, the
unrelenting requirement to give up every single Saturday leads to stress
and burnout. We need to spread the load!
“I ask for your help to change this situation.
“First, I ask that the various clubs in the area make a commitment to
help us out. Clubs on the South Shore might commit to providing us with
2-3 volunteers, one weekend each month. Clubs further away might commit
to sending us 2-3 volunteers, one weekend out of every 2 months. (They
could carpool, reducing the cost and boredom of travel.) The scout
groups come from a wide area, from New York to Maine. It’s not
unreasonable to ask a volunteer to travel an hour or more once every
couple of months.
“Second, I send messages requesting volunteers each week to a list of 85
area hams. I would like to expand this list to include more people who
may be interested in volunteering to help on occasion. Please forward
this message to hams in your local area. Anyone interested volunteering
for this valuable project should send a message to
W1AI@hamtestonline.com requesting to be added to the USS Salem list.
“Third, talk us up. If this sounds like a valuable project, then tell
your ham friends about it. Come out and visit us some Saturday, and
find out first-hand what all the fuss is about, and then take the
message back personally to your clubs! I don’t have any statistics, but
it’s possible that we may be spreading the word about amateur radio to
more kids than any other single organization in the world!
“I’m not asking you to do more than I am willing to do myself. Each
week I spend 2-3 hours on emails and phone calls to coordinate the next
weekend’s events, 1 hour driving, and 4 hours on board. If one person
from each area club did as much in each month as I do every week, my
life would be much easier!
“No special skills are required. If you want to do the ‘Intro to
Amateur Radio & Morse code’ presentations, it helps if you have at least
a little experience doing presentations. We have a script that you can
follow, but you are free to do it your own way. You do not have to be a
Morse code whiz. You can watch one of the “pros” give the course 1-2
times to see how it flows, and take over doing the presentations
yourself when you feel ready.
“To demonstrate the VHF equipment, you need a Technician license and at
least a bit of operating experience. To demonstrate the HF equipment,
you need at least a Tech w/HF license and a bit of operating experience.
We will show you everything else you need to know!
“Many people have read articles speculating about the future disposition
of the USS Salem. People often ask me what’s going to happen. The
answer is that I don’t know, and neither does anyone else at this point.
We’re all hoping that the USS Salem will continue to provide this
excellent learning opportunity for many years to come.
“However, what might happen some number of months or years from now is
not important to this project in the near-term. Right now we need to
take advantage of the opportunity we currently have, and that’s why I
need your help today!
“I’m always sad when I’m forced to cancel the amateur radio activities
on board the USS Salem due to a lack of volunteers. I need a larger
number of people to participate in this activity so cancellations won’t
have to happen!”
Thanks & 73,
and solicit 2-3 volunteers to assist in this worthy cause. -K9HI]