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C.A.R.L /W7ASC Newsletter July 2018

There 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.

Steve 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.

Which transitions to a related subject. Are they badges or stickers?

C.A.R.L. has been handing out these labels for many years. They are self-

adhering 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.

If, 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 Tell” theme.

The 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.

There 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 W7ASC.

No 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 scribe.

   Your faithful scribe can be contacted via email at
jeanjol@hotmail.com. By phone, it is 480-664-7353 in
Ahwatukee. 73 de W4CIH Jean


For more information, please contact

Center for Amateur Radio Learning
C.A.R.L - W7ASC
at the Arizona Science Center

600 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ USA 85004-2394
Tel. (602) 716-2000
Email: info4@w7asc.org

Copyright 2018. C.A.R.L. - W7ASC.org