CAARA Tech-In-A-Day Class Adds 21 New Amateur Operators to the Service

On Saturday January 30th, the Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association conducted its second Tech-in-a-Day program at the Lanesville Community Center in Gloucester. Students came from as far away as South Hadley, Massachusetts and Jaffrey, New Hampshire for a highly compressed day of studying to pass the FCC Element 2 examination. Twentyfour students attended the course, ages ranging from 9 to over 60 years old. The course consisted of six one-hour sessions, each session covering approximately 60 questions in the Element 2 question pool. Students were told to read the question and only the correct answer, which was indicated in bold. Very little lecture was conducted—this was a self-study program. Any tricks or associations were encouraged to memorize the largely unfamiliar material. After 45 minutes, students were directed to get up and move around for 15 minutes and enjoy some of the snacks and beverages that were provided. The next session started on the hour and the cycle was repeated. Three sessions were held in the morning and three in the afternoon.

It was a cold day for January, so the community center was chilly inside, actually the best condition for keeping the students sharp during the long periods of study. After the sixth session in the afternoon, the Element 2 exam was conducted by the CAARA V.E.’s, Bob Quinn, WV1A; Curtis Wright, AA3JE; Bill Poulin, WZ1L; Dean Burgess, KB1PGH; Stan Stone, W4HIX; Sandy Balzarini, N1MAU; Jim Cavan, AB1IV and Dave Suuronen, KB1KR.

Twentyone of the twentyfour students passed the exam with several getting perfect scores. Of the 21 students that passed their Element 2 exam, many went on to take the Element 3 and three of those passed, earning their General license. Two of the new General’s took the Element 4, and Bob Edwards, an electrical engineer from Topsfield passed, earning him an Extra–in one day. Bob and his son Allan joined CAARA on the spot–making Bob the third CAARA member in recent years to pass all three elements on one session (Briggs Longbothum, AB2NJ and Stan Stone, W4HIX were the other two).

Stan Stone developed and conducted the course from reports of similar courses that have been conducted around the country. Dean Burgess arrived early and helped coordinate the day’s activities. This session passing rate was 86%, down a bit from the first session’s success rate. Two students joined CAARA on the spot, and several more expressed a strong interest.

The challenge now will be to engage these new hams so that they actually get on the air. Follow-up e-mails have already gone out to congratulate them and encourage them to drop by the clubhouse on Sunday mornings for coffee, donuts and plenty of free advice.

CAARA’s Tech-in-a-Day program will likely be repeated in the fall.

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