/W7ASC Newsletter July 2018
is hardly ever a “regular” day at W7ASC. Visitors are varied in age,
gender, education, interests and even their residence location. Only a few
visitors really understand Ham radio, so the challenge, for the Volunteer,
is to fill in the gaps without seeming to lecture. Where does one start the
conversation? One good starter is to ask about the visitor’s activities.
The conversation should, after all, focus on what Ham radio might do for the
visitor. Starting with the technology is usually a losing gambit. Why should
a visitor care about antennas, modulation or frequencies? If, however, they
are avid hikers or four-wheel off-road enthusiasts, communication from
remote areas, in the event of an emergency, can be a useful capability. So,
we talk about that aspect of Ham radio. What can it do for the citizen, for
the community? We look for resonance. Once that is achieved, we can move
from the “Why” to the “How”. This is a natural progression, but it
only happens if the volunteer listens for that connection. Most visitors are
only mildly curious about what Hams do, but their interest increases once
they see a connection to their lives.
WB4ZSC reported an incident that demonstrates a fact that all volunteers
have observed. A group entered the Gallery while he was on duty. While the
youngsters were running and shouting, the chaperone who was there to watch
over them, came to the Shack and engaged Steve in conversation. She wanted
to know what went on there. Steve started by explaining the Morse code
exercise. That chaperone interrupted, expressing the view that her charges
would never have an interest in such an odd activity. Steve, who knows
better that to argue with a visitor, simply invited one of her charges to do
the code. Every volunteer has noted the way that this works. Just like
schools of fish, the youngsters tend to move in clusters. Once they see an
activity shaping up, they all must participate. Steve was soon surrounded by
cherubs who were lined up, waiting their turn to do the code. The chaperone,
who had decided that this would never work for her group, was not to be
seen. Steve handed out a serious number of badges to that group.
transitions to a related subject. Are they badges or stickers?
has been handing out these labels for many years. They are self-
bits of paper that have been printed with the “I did my name in Morse
code” words, plus the “at W7ASC” in dots and dashes at the bottom.
When a volunteer hands one of these labels to a visitor who has just
completed sending the code - and, BTW, we never touch the visitor – the
words that go along with the presentation make all the difference. If the
visitor hears “Here is a sticker”, the label almost always goes onto the
code sheet, never to be seen again.
on the other hand, the volunteer says” put this badge on your shirt, where
others can see it and be jealous”, it goes, with rare exceptions on the
shirt, in full view. It might even be shown at school as a “Show and
intent, in creating that badge, is to use it as both a reward and a
recruiting tool. When making the award, do not be silent and, of course, do
not refer to it as a sticker.
are, of course, more stories of happenings at W7ASC. Would like to share in
the experience, as a volunteer? Get to wear a purple shirt and get free
parking? Talk to people about how Ham radio has enriched your life. (It has,
of course) and, possibly, even extended it. Call the number above, make an
appointment to visit the Shack to see it in person. If you know any Hams who
are retiring, please tell them that they would really enjoy volunteering at
doubt there will be more stories in the next issue about the W7ASC scene.
For not, 73. As usual, comments or contributions are always welcome by this
Your faithful scribe can be contacted via email at
email@example.com. By phone, it is 480-664-7353 in
Ahwatukee. 73 de W4CIH Jean