It’s about 6AM Saturday morning at Near-Fest, and I’m sitting under the BARS tent with Randy, KC1NN. The sun is coming up over the top of Commercial Building #1, hitting me in the face and warming me up. The pot of coffee has just finished brewing, and I’m sipping on a little of it as I contemplate my first President’s Letter in quite a few years. In fact, I don’t remember exactly when I was the president last time. Maybe 1985? I’ve forgotten exactly when it was – another sure sign of advancing age, I suppose.
And I’m not the only one. Looking around here, one can’t help but be struck by the limps and wrinkles. The hobby has definitely aged since most of us got our first tickets. First order of business this year – find a few new young recruits to our hobby. If we don’t get on this quickly, we won’t have anyone able to climb our towers and fix our antennas. Not to mention continuing and growing the hobby. Easier said than done, though. A lot of ideas have been floated over the years to accomplish this, with only modest success. The reasons why some things work and some don’t are varied but it occurred to me the other day that there is a common thread. Approaches that involve one-on-one relationships with new hams work far better than blanket schemes. You can talk to a crowded room, proselytizing ham radio, or you can sit down with someone who shows a little potential, and tell some stories about your experiences. You can pitch to a troop of scouts, or you can show a kid your station and help him or her make a QSO. I guarantee you’ll have more success with the one-on-one.
For BARS, the next big event is Field Day. Tom, K1TW, is the Field Day Chairman. I’ll captain one station, and Jerry, K0TV, will captain the other. The site is Nan, NK1A’s house at 65 Littleton Rd. in Chelmsford, and she’s the hospitality chair. I guarantee we’ll eat well. Field Day will be the main topic for the May meeting. Don’t miss it. It’s on Wednesday, May 7 at my house again. 85 High St., Chelmsford, at 7PM. There’s plenty of parking on the street, or behind the house.
The sun is now a little higher in the sky. Ken, WO1N, Jim, K1IR, and Peter and Peter, K1SUB and N1ALO, have emerged from their sleeping bags and are now standing at the BARS table, busy pitching their junk boxes. The rest of the crowd should be up soon. Time for me to go sell some old radios.
Mike Raisbeck K1TWF