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Statistics in Circuit Design and Engineering

From All About Circuits column by Roger Keim (see below)

For several decades, I taught statistics in Departments of Sociology and used them in my Labs in research centers and institutes. Much of my academic career pioneered the use of computers in social science research. There I frequently hired electrical and computer engineering students to work in my Lab. In fact, I’d get a stream of both undergraduate and graduate students sent by CS and CE faculty over to try and get a job in “that guy Howell’s Lab.” The comment was usually based on the student receiving the CS/CE faculty advisor’s advice: you’ve got what we’re teaching you down well. Go work for Dr. Howell if you can. He’s always doing weird stuff that you supposedly can’t do.” Plus, I paid well. OK, weird stuff being defined as what others say you can’t do was always taken as a badge of honor! Like Artisoft who sold us Lantastic saying we could not use their LAN software in a TCP/IP stack. We did. Later Microsoft Workgroups and Novell pushed them out of the marketplace because they didn’t adopt that stack and couldn’t compete.

One thing that surprised the E.E. faculty was what we actually taught as fairly commonplace in the social sciences. In my graduate courses, I frequently had other professors ask to audit the course so they could get on top of the topic my course was emphasizing that semester, such as survey research methods, data management and computation, statistical methods (basic and advanced), structural equation models, or spatial analysis of social data. During the late 1990s, I was a Coordinator of a 5 year, $60M project in commercial remote sensing with NASA and a Department Head in the Agricultural Experiment Station. A couple of years earlier, I was sitting in a Department Head’s meeting when the Department of Forestry Head, a golfing buddy in the Faculty Golf League, asked if he should replace the remote sensing faculty member who had just retired. My response? No, unless you want to be a good Department of Forestry. If so, hell yes! I helped him hire a top flight GIS and remote sensing scientist who was being down-sized from the USDA Forestry Lab located on leased space on campus at Mississippi State University. David was one of the very best in the nation at photogrammetry or identifying what’s on the ground based upon pictures taken from the sky.

I’ll get to the point of this here. David was conducting a workshop to all of the MS Space Commerce Initiative team I coordinated on using Landsat data for photogrammetry (landuse from landcover inference in this case). As he began walking through the two fundamental statistical techniques of analyzing the eight bands of sensor data from Landsat I, an E.E. Professor, Roger, noticed I wasn’t taking notes. Roger began to goad me with, “What’s the matter, Howell? The sociologist lost already?” David the instructor just smiled as he and I had worked together during the proposal phase of the MSCI. I said nothing as David explained phase one of the analysis was conducting a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) on the 8 Landsat variables, extracting several principal components from the data. During the next phase of analysis, the K-Means Clustering, Roger couldn’t help himself, repeating what was basically a mantra of can’t the social scientist keep up with the engineers? You’re not even taking notes! David asked me if I cared to respond. I did and said, politely, that when David got to material that I didn’t already teach in our second graduate statistics course, I’d take notes! Roger’s flag was quietly folded and he later asked me how to handle missing data (sensor dropped out, etc.) in the multivariate analysis. I later learned a lot from Roger about his goniometer and using it to calibrate ground-based test images from test sensors against a “white” color standard. Some other engineers in weed science laughed at Roger’s application but he’s a smart guy. He just didn’t have any idea of what is taught outside the College of Engineering curriculum! And that’s more typical than many realize.

The moral of this little story? Engineering can get quickly silo-ed in terms of what is learned in the curriculum. Some mathematics training focused on Fourier Transforms and the like doesn’t necessarily generalize to all numerical computations. And statistics is likely one of them. But many engineers, especially those trained in earlier decades, don’t always recognize it. Yet, with the transition from the analog to the digital world, statistics are increasingly important to understand the data arising from not only the digital circuity but the digital test equipment necessary to design, test, and repair it. And this says nothing about the incredible data visualization methods and tools now available for such data (for an example, see the 3D Smith Chart implementation). Frequently, as in the team creating the 3D Smith Chart, cross-fertilization of ideas outside engineering can yield breakthroughs that won’t come about from more silo-ed training. But this does not tend to happen in the silos we in academia and the engineering industry have created.

I was delighted when the All About Circuits email hit my inbox with a new column by Robert Keim regarding statistics in engineering. The first column is “Descriptive Statistics in Electrical Engineering” and will be followed by on one inferential statistics. This will make an impact, I’m sure.

Another example from Roger Keim column in All About Circuits

Beginning with the basics, he explains how the simple mean score can assist in analyzing noise in two signals: “A mean is a straightforward way to reduce noise in a collection of measurements, because it approximates the value that would be observed if we eliminated the small positive and negative deviations caused by noise. We can also use the arithmetic mean to determine the DC offset of a waveform.” Now, this isn’t earth shattering analysis but he walks the uninitiated reader through how simple descriptions of data on signals can be of great benefit. Roger’s future columns will continue this line of application. I hope.

Amateur radio operators who have electronic workbenches and have read test equipment texts by Joe Carr or Bob Witte are already aware that statistical tools are the foundation of measurement in electronic design and testing. Joe Carr’s Elements of Electronic Instrumentation and Measurement (3rd ed.) contains two opening chapters laying the foundation for descriptive statistics and their role in measurement. In some of Joe’s other texts, he discusses electornic measurement theory regarding what test gear measures and what the phenomenon actually is: the difference largely being measurement error. That’s the same as True Score Theory which I taught using Lord and Novick’s (1968) classic text plus other materials.

True Score Theory

Whether it’s digital signals in electronics or Rosenberg’s Self Esteem Scale, it is the same measurement theory: all about the error term. And how you understand measurement theory instead of just meter readings.

Bob Witte K0NR’s Electronic Test Instruments: Analog and Digital Measurements (2nd Ed.) spends part of Chapter 1 on Measurement Theory, invoking statistical aspects of the fundamentals. Formerly at HP and then Agilent, Witte’s 1st and 2nd edition texts are terrific reads and teaches much in straightforward fashion. But understanding the material requires understanding some statistical principles as foundational. He does a good job weaving that into the narrative. I highly recommend Witte’s textbook. I have both editions in my library.

Much of what I’m writing about here is exemplified in the narratives on various websites and social media outlets regarding the exciting NanoVNA and it’s various offshoots. Arriving on the scene over a year ago, the $50-ish dual port Vector Network Analyzer has caught the amateur radio experimenter market by storm. And, has propelled the rank-and-file ham to ask, “Is the NanoVNA better than my MFJ-269 antenna analyzer?” While the two instruments are fundamentally distinct in many ways, something for $50 or double will catch many eyes. But the many discussions about the software tools for the NanoVNA, especially around the necessity of calibration of the NanoVNA and how that works, really hinge around a good understanding of measurement theory and a sound statistics base of knowledge.

The original NanoVNA (

So that’s why I’m delighted to see that All About Circuits is featuring a new regular column by it’s Directory of Engineering concerning the use of statistics in electrical engineering. Don’t assume you already know it because you can do FFT’s in your sleep (or did while take a course). There’s a lot more awaiting you. And more on the way in the burgeoning digital world that is today’s electronics field. Now, let me open that box with the NanoVNA-H that arrived this week…..I might also need to review some trigonometry.

Prominent Ham Operators Lead Major Covid-19 Pandemic Effort

Amateur radio often helps out in emergencies. But hams have other lives besides what’s they’re licensed to do by the FCC under the Amateur Radio Service. One prominent ham, Dr. Scott Wright K0MD, edits the American Radio Relay League’s National Contesting Journal and contacts many, many other hams in official contests. But in his work life as a physician at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, he regularly saves lives as a cardiovascular physician. But now Dr. Wright and a fellow physician and ham operator, Dr. Peter Marx of the US Food and Drug Administration (call sign AB3XC), are engaged in a much broader life-saving activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Scott Wright, MD, Mayo Clinic (K0MD)

Convalescent plasma is the only antibody based therapy currently available for COVID-19 patients. The US Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program is a collaborative project between the US government and the Mayo Clinic to provide access to convalescent plasma for patients in the United States who are hospitalized with COVID-19. The study, goals and explanations for what convalescent plasma is can be found on the official website:

 If you would like to participate, please contact them at [email protected]

My role is to organize the infrastructure, the research approach, help lead the set up of the data collection teams and the website teams while overseeing the study conduct and regulatory compliance,” said Dr. Wright. The study started in early April under the leadership of Michael Joyner, MD of the Mayo Clinic, R Scott Wright, MD of the Mayo Clinic, Peter Marks, MD, PhD and Nicole Verdun, MD of the US FDA and Arturo Casavedall, MD, PhD of Johns Hopkins University. The regulations governing the treatment of human subjects in research studies are substantial and required by law.

Peer-reviewed publications are already rolling out of this fast-paced medical team. The first safety report on 5,000 patients was published in May in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the most recent safety report on 20,000 subjects published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings this past week. Dr. Wright added, “The FDA will be making an announcement in a week or less about the benefit of convalescent plasma. We are working on a third publication now to submit to a major international medical journal for publication on whether the study has shown that use of convalescent plasma reduces mortality.” Dr. Peter Marks and Dr. Nicole Verdun are the leaders at the Food and Drug Administration.

The work of this study has been on top of my regular day job, and has been intense and required working daily including weekends for all of April, most of May and all of June so far.

Dr. Scott Wright, Mayo Clinic and Editor, ARRL National Contesting Journal

The ability of team members like Dr. Wright and others at the Mayo Clinic to move at this fast pace has been remarkable. Most studies of this magnitude take months to a year with planning and execution to initiate the scientific study. Dr. Wright said, “We started in less than a week. Most studies recruit 2500-5000 patients. We have recruited over 30,000 patients in 10 weeks, exceeding all expectations. We have hospitals in all 50 states and several US territories who are participating and over 8000 physician scientists who are working with us as investigators at their hospitals. We also helped manage the start up of collection of convalescent plasma by the large blood organizations like the American Red Cross and others by strategically connecting donor pools and people willing to donate with the blood collection centers. The work of this study has been on top of my regular day job, and has been intense and required working daily including weekends for all of April, most of May and all of June so far.

Convalescent Plasma

Program participation

June 30, 2020

Dr. Marks and I love our hobby of amateur radio. But this study draws on our professional work and our compassion for our fellow human beings. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a shell-shock for me as I’ve worked the Emergency Room at Mayo Clinic. The Convalescent Plasma Program is clearly saving lives and preventing some of the terrible outcomes of the Covid-19 virus. I’ve had to hand over some of my editor duties at the League’s National Contesting Journal to another ham operator so as to meet the expectations of both roles. Dr. Marks and I, along with our complete team including Dr. Casavedall of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Joyner, our program leader at Mayo, are very optimistic that the intervention work in the clinical setting and the research publications that emerge from the Program will continue to make a different in the lives of all who are threatened by this deadly virus,” concluded Dr. Wright. The Amateur Radio Code beckons us to balance our hobby with our other callings. These two ham operators are living that Code daily now.

He also added for the ham radio community, “I will be the keynote speaker at the QSO Today International Ham radio Fair in early August talking about the study, its results, etc.,. and linking it to skills acquired through ham radio.” If readers are not yet familiar with the QSO Today Ham Radio Expo, please visit the website for that event. Registration is free and Scott’s Keynote Address will kick off the Expo with how amateur radio helped him take a leadership role in getting this major medical program up and running in record time. Just like amateur radio does in most emergencies. Except on a much grander scale in this case.

I Participated in Field Day 2020 — and Got the Tee Shirt!

OK, this is a cheesy blog post title. But it’s true. Here’s the picture…and it leads into more important things about Field Day.

I got the Tee Shirt!

My annual Field Day plans are spotty at best due to my wedding anniversary falling near that June weekend. I’ve participated in multi-club “big” Field Day events here in Central Mississippi in previous years. But, frankly, I don’t enjoy them. I prefer a smaller event when it doesn’t conflict with our anniversary plans. This year our planned trip to the UP in Michigan was up-ended by the Covid-19 pandemic. So when my portable ops partner, Mike N5DU, invited me to come out to his farm in Raymond, MS on Saturday, that seemed perfect!

Kyle KI5JCL making his first-ever HF contact–a Big Gun from Western PA!

He also invited a new ham in the area, Kyle KI5JCL, to come and learn more about Field Day. Kyle works in the IT field so his “JCL” call sign suffix gave me vivid memories of the days when I worked on the Big Iron, IBM mainframes at the Triangle Universities Computation Center (TUCC) while on the faculty at NC State. (For the uninitiated, JCL was IBM’s nomenclature for Job Control Language.) Kyle checked into our club’s weekly 2 meter net which is how we got to know him. This was a chance to play Elmer to a very tech-savvy, only licensed for a month, ham in our area. While a tad nervous to jump into the pile-up held by a Western PA ham, Kyle worked on him for about 20 minutes before he heard the November Five Delta Uniform phrase coming back to him. Mike and I stood and clapped heartily for Kyle as he stayed with that big fish and finally landed him. Fine Business! The ham in PA may never know how significant he was for the calling amateur on this end of the QSO.

N5DU has a small separate building adjacent to his home for his ham shack, an almost perfect setting from my point of view. It’s in the country on a family farm acreage where there are no deed restrictions on antennas (except internal approval in the household unit, of course) and with almost no RF noise. The N5DU team used a Kenwood TS-590SG feeding an Ameritron ALS-1306 amplifier, an MFJ ATU feeding a Windom about 30′ up among trees. We also exercised a digital station, first on a Xiegu 5105 and then on an Icom 7200. The digital station fed an MFJ-2982 vertical. FT8 was the digital mode of choice. We rotated among the voice and digital stations and…well, all of the snacks and great food Mike’s XYL had on hand for us.

Kyle KI5JCL in his natural habitat: operating FT8 at a laptop keyboard!

While we didn’t mark any achievements on the scoreboard of this “non-contest, contest” that is Field Day, the N5DU team (led by Mike, frankly) finished with 328 points over 268 contacts. We were missing our CW op, Mike K5XU as well as Thomas N5WDG on this one!

Not terrible but a good event for us

Getting a good group together to share knowledge, skills and suggestions is always a good thing. I have learned a great deal from Mike N5DU, especially on style of operating during a contest. It’s not always about points, Boom! Boom! Boom! But working with ops who are either just getting started or who just stumble across something like this Covid-19 lots-of-teams-working-separately-at-home Field Day is important too. The ARRL’s temporary rule modification to allow home stations to work each other make a notable difference on the band waterfall displays. Watch this video, especially of Mike spending a few moments (and likely losing a couple of contacts during the time where he was clipping along at a 93 contacts-per-hour pace).

Mike N5DU demonstrating Good Operator practices with QRP Op Call

It’s fairly obvious that power makes a difference. We were able to hold frequencies and work them for an hour at a time. Having a tower and beam in addition would’ve just underscored that situation. We moved from QRP on digital to upwards of 40 watts or so on the Icom 7200. In some ways, the need to “handicap” contest stations will make a huge difference in the long run for highly competitive contests. But on Field Day 2020, I was just glad to participate in a small team, learn from one another, and getting a Tee Shirt to commemorate the event. Thanks for the gift, N5DU!

The Future(s) of Amateur Radio

The Sutton & Cheam Radio Society in England invited me to give a talk via Zoom recently. The topic was the future of amateur radio. As a Sociologist and Statistician, I’ve commented frequently both in this blog and on the ICQ Podcast about how to “future” on a given topic. Social change is challenging to forecast in specific terms. But more importantly, knowledge of how to “future” can lead to changes in organizational aspects of the social fabric that gave rise to the present. A mouthful? Yes, but so is “The magnitude of the complex impedance is the ratio of the voltage amplitude to the current amplitude; The phase of the complex impedance is the phase shift by which the current lags the voltage.” (Source) And, we hams can follow that, right?

The ICQ Podcast decided to use the audio portion of that talk as the feature in Episode 326. The disadvantage that podcast listeners face is not having access to the slides that the Sutton & Cheam Society members were viewing as I spoke. I’ve included them here for those who wish to more fully follow my talk. A video of 10 seconds per slide is below. The future is for amateurs to help make. Your ham radio associations are a vital element of which “future” you choose to help make for there are many futures available!

This talk will be revised into a written version, launching a column on my companion website,, under the Social Circuits tab. Understanding amateur radio must be approached for what it is, an organized social behavior focusing on the use of specific radio technologies. This periodic Social Circuits column will examine amateur radio as such.

Is It Purple Inside of Heil Sound?

Well, I really don’t know because I’ve never had the privilege of going inside of Heil Sound in Fairview Heights, IL. But I’m going to … and so can you!

In the past couple of weeks, Bob and I have been corresponding about some configurations for his PRAS system to manage the audio from my friend’s ham station. During this time, and in the commiseration over the Covid-19 shutdown, we acknowledged that the cancellation of Hamvention is a real kink in the usual rhythm of events in the ham radio world. But, Bob told me, he’s going to step out and do something very new: holding Heil Ham Day! It will be live at on May 9, 2020 at 1:00 PM CDT. There’s a special website for it at

Bob Heil, Heil Sound
Bob Heil, Heil Sound
(If you didn’t catch the reference in the title, you can ask Bob why he has an affinity for the color, purple!)

Donna, wizard of the workbench at Heil Sound, is scheduled to discuss the inner workings of the factory in Fairview Heights. She fielded some arcane questions I had about using the powered speaker that my friend bought with his PRAS filter box at a hamfest. Got the questions answered! Jerry, one of the great customer service folks that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to at Heil, has been out on paternity leave. He was kind enough to respond to my email to explain why he was tardy in doing so: he was not at the factory! You don’t get that kind of service everywhere, that’s for sure. I shared with Jerry my preference for the two-finger diaper change method, getting each little ankle into a slot among the middle three fingers of one hand to control their bottom ends for “product replacement,” so to speak. Heil Sound seems like a great place to work, especially if you’re a ham operator and love electronics.

Even down to how to EASILY put coax connectors on…

Bob Heil K9EID on Heil Ham Day program contents

Bob Heil has been a great advocate and educator for amateur radio for many decades now. He’s planning stuff beyond the factory workings, too. Bob said in an e-mail yesterday, “I continue on with making up the demos I plan for Saturday…. Even down to how to EASILY put coax connectors on… it is strange way but has worked for 60+ years for me. It will include a great live demo about phasing and antenna arrays. A bit on grounding, etc. Different things that I usually am called up on to do….Oh, I will touch on a bit of audio but mainly how to make your station work better!” If you’ve ever seen a live presentation by Bob, you know it’s going to be well worth your time.

Here’s one ham who plans to watch this Heil Ham Day presentation on May 9, 2020 at 1:00 PM CDT. It’s not Hamvention but it’s easily equal to one Forum and vendor booth there.

Yep, Winterfest Got Their Windfall!

The hamfest held each year in the St. Louis suburb of Collinsville, IL is called Winterfest. I blogged earlier about the hamfest getting a windfall this year in adding to their growing set of Forums and other programs on contesting and so forth by welcoming the Wes Schum Symposium. Here’s how the Winterfest 2020 Chair described this past January’s events:

The St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club Winterfest has added some great events from previous years. We have added floor space to include Education Alley, doubled our forums and increased our operating hours to 4pm. In addition to these changes, Winterfest has been selected as the ARRL Midwest Conference for 2020. The weekend starts on Friday January 24th with the W9DYV Radio Symposium during the day and a DX/ARRL banquet that evening. Saturday January 25th Winterfest kicks off at 8 a.m. with the opening of the sales floor, VE testing, all day topical Forums, and Contest College starting at 1 p.m. with 10 plus hours of contesting forums and discussion hosted by top area contesters. We invite all hams to come to Winterfest for a weekend of Amateur Radio fun.

Rebecca Carroll, Winterfest 2020 Committee Chair

Kyle Krieg AA0Z, President of SLSRC, and Rebecca KC9CIJ sent me the numbers from the hamfest. They were up 20 percent from the previous year! Wow! How many local or regional hamfests can report that “windfall” in attendance? I don’t have the numbers for that but I don’t think there’d me too many but it’s unfortunate that we don’t have a national set of numbers on hamfest attendance. Hmm. ARRL, if you’re listening, I hope you find those 30,000 hamfest attendance numbers…too soon, Lol?

Nick Tusa K5FF, who chairs the Wes Schum Symposium each year, sent me a list of pre-registered attendees for that specific part of Winterfest 2020. He said that there were a considerable number of walk-up registrants so his list is an under-estimate of this year’s actual attendance. I’ve prepared a map illustrating the “draw” to the Symposium this year in Collinsville (marked with a + sign). If we ignore the extreme distant pre-registrants, it appears to represent the market potential map I created in my previous blog post about where Winterfest could draw from in the coming years. It’s unfortunate that Winterfest per se does not record the call signs of those paid attendees so we could see where their market draw looks like. Perhaps next year!

Map of only Symposium Pre-Registrants

The 8th W9DYV’s Amateur Radio Symposium wrap-up with video of the presentations can be found at the Central Electronics website. They are well worth watching! They include (with embedded links to the video):

Windfall for Winterfest 2020? Yep. A 20 percent bump certainly suggests that. Our public relations contributing to that? Yes, but even though there were a lot of eyes seeing both the syndication and the front page articles, it’s a stretch to make such claims and I do not, at all. But our discussions on what Rebecca and her team had planned as well as what Nick was doing by moving the Symposium to Collinsville, IL certainly did not hurt! The fundamentals are the hard work, ingenuity, and willingness to plan for a hamfest that hams would enjoy should they decide to attend. That’s always the case. But it can help if you wave your arms—or get others to wave theirs on your behalf—and let folks know about what you’re planning. Keep an eye out for the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club’s website for next year. I hear they’re already at work lining up a terrific banquet speaker!

Attracting Youth to Ham Radio: Get Out of Their Way!

Amateur radio has a demographic problem. In the U.S., there is a clear belief that members of the hobby are old. And getting older. What that means in actual age distribution just isn’t known. Unfortunately, our “visions of gray” are based not upon accurate scientific measurement but on the assembled impressions we get through our personal “windshields” as we go about our daily travels. It’s standard convention to hear us hams urge everyone in hearing or reading range: we need to get more young people into amateur radio!

But whose amateur radio? The extant one driven by us largely gray-haired middle-aged to geezer-dom adult (men)? Yep, that’s the one generally being referred to in this wisdom. Our collective strategy amounts to getting them to come to “us.” How’s that working out for us? Given that our knickers are a bit tangled up over the issue, I’d say not so good.

Lee Corso, the curmudgeonly ESPN television sports announcer, is famous for his Not So Fast! comment when he questions another view or approach to the featured college football game being broadcast. Our attempts to bring new, young hams to our clubs is, in principle, admirable and understandable. But how is that working? Imagine a hobby dominated by young people. Say, competitive eSports (video games). We geezer-dom adults are approached to come to a teen-driven club, learn about it, and then join to continue to attend each month. How many readers would find that appealing? I’d bet not that many.

Not so fast, says Lee Corso!

My recent interview in Episode 319 of the ICQ Podcast with Graham Brody KD9NTQ illustrates the clear market failure that this singular “come to us” approach has yielded. Graham’s interview suggests that while this is a good outreach program for many young prospective hams, it’s not enough to engage them broadly. And, it simply does not reach the market where the most likely candidates are socially engaged. Instead, Graham says help them get started…and get out of their way!

Graham KD9NTQ started the Illinois Young Ham Club to engage young people to converse about ham radio and grow into the hobby. We should listen to him and learn what one approach is to do what we collectively tell one another must happen. Talk is cheap. The walk, well, is just more effort. I’ll let you listen to my interview with him for the nuances of the details. But here are some bullet points that are take-away strategies.

  • Do encourage young people to get involved with adult-driven ham clubs. But then encourage, sponsor and assist them to create their own youth-driven groups. Get out of their way but be available to help when called upon!
  • Rich environments for exposing young people, both male and female, to amateur radio lie in Maker Spaces and Gamer Groups. Seek out, especially, maker spaces which tend to be advertised in local communities. Clubs should offer to give a demo—not longer than 30 minutes—without a lecture but with an actual demonstration of amateur radio operations.
  • ARRL and RSGB should “tag” youth-driven or youth-oriented clubs in their Find-A-Club databases. Graham found the North Shore ARC in the Find A Club database. The Illinois Young People Ham Club, for instance, should be tagged as a youth club as should any others. ALL ARRL-affiliated clubs should report annually the number of members who are less than 25 years of ago so the League can track them. This should be a bench-mark metric to gauge progress in recruiting youth into amateur radio and the League itself. (To my knowledge, the ARRL is doing nothing released publicly to track youth members or contacts.)
  • ARRL should offer a “build a club” set of actions to help young inquirers to the League start their own club. They will want to engage with others of a similar age range, Graham says, and the League should explicitly foster that activity, perhaps matching them with an existing adult-driven club for assistance. Be there if asked but get out of their way when they are enjoying the hobby! Walking the walk here as the League has already been talking the talk.
  • Should the ARRL and RSGB buy adverts (or give ad swaps) in gaming magazines, promoting ham radio contesting as a greater challenge? Yes! Track the “how did you find out about us” using conventional “use this code” tags in the adverts. If one thinks they’ll just run across QST at their local Barnes & Nobles, they are very sadly mistaken. Graham bumped into ham radio on Youtube!
  • Help them get launched. Get out of their way. They will grow into mid-adulthood and join our extant adult-driven clubs. Plant the seed. And get out of their way!

It is unfortunate that many organizations are heavily imbued with a “not invented here” mindset. That is challenging for outsiders to the inner circle of power to break through. See the thread and comment by W9WHE on regarding the ARRL, for instance. There are many other examples of this opinion regarding the League. I suppose similar comments could be made about the RSGB, of which I am also a member. But whether “invented” by the central staff or Board of either organization, this teenager has given us a general road map to reaching young people, both boys and girls, similar to him: interested in technology but had to run across something called “amateur radio” on YouTube rather than the explicit efforts of the League. Quit talking without walking.

Graham’s a leader at age 15 already, just won his Extra license, and clearly has an understanding of many of these issues. We have to resist the conjuring up of all the reasons of why they won’t work from a geezer-dom world view. Well, a guy like me can dream, right?

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