I have been busy with Mentoring and Ham Development Activities with my local club, the Nashua Area Radio Society. On November 5th, we held another successful Ham Bootcamp, which was attended by new hams, inactive hams, and prospective hams from all over the US – we even had some DX attendees from Canada and India. Ham Bootcamp is a one-day online program to help hams gain the skills to build a station and get on the air. We have some great instructors from the ARRL New England Division: Jamey Finchum, AC1DC; Abby Finchum, AB1BY; Stu Solomon, W1SHS; Burns Fisher, WB1FJ; Aron Insinga, W1AKI, and Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, for their dedication to mentoring new hams.
Ham Bootcamp started out small and has grown to allow us to help many hams all over the world and even a few DX. We started out by hosting the graduates of our license classes in our home and helped them to get on the air, did a demo of satellite contacts, held a small repeater net, put up an antenna, and demonstrated portable operating and built a small station on our dining room table. We also met students at our local Ham Radio Outlet, and walked them through the choices of equipment they might want to purchase for their first station.
After a few small bootcamps, we were invited to do a Ham Bootcamp for New England Hams at the 2019 Northeast HamXposition, where we hosted close to 70 students.
Then the pandemic hit and we moved our license classes online. We decided to move Ham Bootcamp online as well and were able to serve a much larger audience. We had around 450 students sign up for our first online bootcamp from all over the US and Canada. We have continued to provide the online version of Ham Bootcamp twice per year and to date have served close to 1,000 hams.
Below is the agenda for our most recent bootcamp. The morning sessions focus on activities for Technicians and the afternoon sessions focus on activities for Generals and above. All of the topics provide the basics to help new hams to get started in the many activities in Amateur Radio. We have improved the agenda with each successive bootcamp and now use breakout rooms to allow students to choose between multiple sessions. We have replaced the in-person shopping trip with a Virtual Shopping trip, which is a follow-on activity for the boot-campers, where we visit multiple retailers’ and manufacturers’ websites online.
We held the most recent bootcamp on November 5th and had over 100 people register. Through programs like this we can help the many inactive amateur radio licensees become active in the hobby. This is a great way that clubs can help new or inactive hams to get on the air.
Mentoring and Ham Development Working Group Meetings
The most recent meeting of the Mentoring and Ham Development and the Youth Outreach and STEM Learning groups was held on October 12th. We had two guest speakers. Mike Walters, W8ZY, spoke to the group about ARRL programs for club leaders, the Club Grant Program, the Club Development Webinar Series, and the Club Commission Program. Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, spoke to the group about how your club can work with a school on an ARISS contact with an astronaut on the space station including a recap of the recent BIG E Space Chat. You can watch the recording of the session on the Mentoring and Ham Development page: https://nediv.arrl.org/mentoring-and-new-ham-development/.
Our next meeting will be held on December 15th starting at 7:00 pm Eastern Time. We would like to hear about your mentoring projects. To get the Zoom link, join the ne-ham-dev Groups.io group or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB
Assistant Director, Mentoring and Ham Development