How Clubs Can Help to Mentor New Hams

Our local club, the Nashua Area Radio Society, provides training and mentoring programs for new hams.  In the past 3 months, we have held classes and VE sessions for Technician, General, and Extra licenses.   Our classes take place in 2-3 full days over a weekend and conclude with an online exam session.  It is always a thrill to see new people getting licensed or earning an upgrade at the end of the class.  In addition, these newly licensed hams can make a great addition to your club.

But just licensing new hams is not enough.  For every ten new Technicians that are licensed, only two of them ever get on the air. The best way we can help our licensees to become active ham radio operators is to continue the mentoring after the class or VE session is over.  

Ham Boot Camp

The Nashua Area Radio Society holds a program called Ham Bootcamp each spring and fall after our license classes.  Ham Bootcamp is a day-long series of training sessions to help new Hams build skills and learn what they need to know to get on the air.  The morning sessions are all about putting together a VHF station, programming your radio, and all the activities you can participate in with a Tech license – fox hunting, satellites, and more.  The afternoon sessions are all about putting together an HF Station, selecting and putting up antennas, operating voice, CW, digital modes, and more.  Our boot camps are held online and we get hams from all over the country attending, and even some DX!

Mentoring a New Ham
Mentoring a New Ham

Any club can start a mentoring program.  We started by inviting the newly licensed/upgraded hams from our classes to our QTH for a few Saturday afternoons.  We gave them a tour of our station, helped them make their first contacts at our station, used HTs and held a mock repeater net, built an antenna, had a fox hunt, and operated satellites. 

It is easy to do something similar for your club.  Just invite one or more new hams over to your shack and help them to get on the air.  Show them your station.  Answer their questions about operating or station building or anything else about Ham Radio. 

You can make Winter or Summer Field Day a mentoring experience by inviting the new hams to help build stations and put up antennas. Once the event starts, help them to operate.  Start at the mic and let the new ham log – then switch places and give them the mic while you log.  

You can also invite your newly licensed members to your QTH to operate in a contest.  The ARRL has the Rookie Roundup contests 3 times a year – it is a great opportunity for someone to try out contesting.  

You will be helping to grow your club as well as the hobby as well as making new friends!

I’d love to hear about how your club is mentoring new hams.  Join the Mentoring and Ham Development group ( ne-ham-dev) and let’s share our ideas.  Your ideas will help all of us to become better mentors. 


Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB

New England Division Assistant Director

Mentoring, Ham Development, and Youth Outreach