Posts Tagged ‘teaching.’

Not so "oldies".

Thanks again to Mike KD5KC for posting these on QRP-L.

You may remember a few years ago (I think it was just a few years ago - maybe 10 years?, or maybe I'm having a "senior moment"?) Icom released a series of comics entitled "The Adventures of Zack and Max".  These were anime style comic books intended (I guess) to get the youngsters curious about Amateur Radio.

Max was a strange little pig companion to Zack - a boy and his pig - go figure.


Anyway, here are their links - both as comic books or as coloring books. If you have any kids or grandkids who are curious about what it is that you do - these may be helpful to explain it to them in a more contemporary fashion.

The Adventures of Zack and Max, Vol 1-7
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v1/ComicBookV1color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v2/ComicBookV2color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v3/ComicBookV3color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v4/ComicBookV4color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v5/ComicBookV5color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v6/ComicBookV6color.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v7/ComicBookV7_Color.pdf

Accompanying coloring books of The Adventures of Zack and Max.
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v1/ComicBookV1BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v2/ComicBookV2BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v3/ComicBookV3BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v4/ComicBookV4BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v5/ComicBookV5BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v6/ComicBookV6BW.pdf
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book/Books/v7/ComicBookV7_BW.pdf

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

A word of advice

This past Saturday, I served as a Volunteer Examiner at the finish line of a "Ham Cram". The Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management offered the day long session in order to allow CERT members from various municipalities throughout the county the chance to earn their Technician licenses. There were twelve participants, and at the end of the day, half of them had earned their licenses.

All of these people were all enthusiastic and determined to become Amateur Radio operators. So what went wrong? Why wasn't there a higher success rate? What went wrong was a lack of lead time and mis-communication.  Some had learned of the Ham Cram session only three days beforehand. The information about the session was directed to the participants through their local municipal OEM directors. Middlesex County OEM did their due diligence by sending out the information in plenty of time, but we all know that information that goes through the chain-of-command can travel particularly slowly, especially if the "powers that be" aren't all that familiar with the information they are passing on. Not realizing that this information was time sensitive proved to be a major handicap.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, or the concept, a Ham Cram is defined as a six or more hour long session where prospective Hams are crammed with the info they need to earn their license.  Think of the all-nighters you may have endured before a particularly tough exam in college. The concept is the same.

The problem with the Ham Cram concept is that many people think they can walk into one as a blank page, and will then walk away as a book filled with all the knowledge they need to pass the license exam.

For the Ham Cram concept to work (and it works remarkably well if implemented correctly), the students need to get their hands on a license manual and read and study for six to eight weeks prior to the Cram session. The Ham Cram session educator needs something to work with. It's highly improbable that someone can walk "cold" off the street and earn their ticket after only six hours of cursory study - unless of course, you have a photographic memory.

Again, going back to the "all-nighter" session in college.  That exam prep marathon came after an entire semester of classes.  You were, in essence,  reviewing what you had hopefully learned throughout the proceeding months. We all know that if you waited until that evening to crack open a book, then you were toast.

Or if you want to think of it another way, the Ham Cram instructor is like a diamond cutter. With a raw diamond he can produce a work of art. Give him a piece of coal and he'll be out of his element. So if you know of a prospective Ham and he or she is talking about participating in a Ham Cram, then the sagest advice you can impart upon them is that they should begin the studying process WAY in advance (weeks/months).  Then they'll arrive at the Ham Cram as a rough diamond ready to be polished into a prized jewel.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

A word of advice

This past Saturday, I served as a Volunteer Examiner at the finish line of a "Ham Cram". The Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management offered the day long session in order to allow CERT members from various municipalities throughout the county the chance to earn their Technician licenses. There were twelve participants, and at the end of the day, half of them had earned their licenses.

All of these people were all enthusiastic and determined to become Amateur Radio operators. So what went wrong? Why wasn't there a higher success rate? What went wrong was a lack of lead time and mis-communication.  Some had learned of the Ham Cram session only three days beforehand. The information about the session was directed to the participants through their local municipal OEM directors. Middlesex County OEM did their due diligence by sending out the information in plenty of time, but we all know that information that goes through the chain-of-command can travel particularly slowly, especially if the "powers that be" aren't all that familiar with the information they are passing on. Not realizing that this information was time sensitive proved to be a major handicap.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, or the concept, a Ham Cram is defined as a six or more hour long session where prospective Hams are crammed with the info they need to earn their license.  Think of the all-nighters you may have endured before a particularly tough exam in college. The concept is the same.

The problem with the Ham Cram concept is that many people think they can walk into one as a blank page, and will then walk away as a book filled with all the knowledge they need to pass the license exam.

For the Ham Cram concept to work (and it works remarkably well if implemented correctly), the students need to get their hands on a license manual and read and study for six to eight weeks prior to the Cram session. The Ham Cram session educator needs something to work with. It's highly improbable that someone can walk "cold" off the street and earn their ticket after only six hours of cursory study - unless of course, you have a photographic memory.

Again, going back to the "all-nighter" session in college.  That exam prep marathon came after an entire semester of classes.  You were, in essence,  reviewing what you had hopefully learned throughout the proceeding months. We all know that if you waited until that evening to crack open a book, then you were toast.

Or if you want to think of it another way, the Ham Cram instructor is like a diamond cutter. With a raw diamond he can produce a work of art. Give him a piece of coal and he'll be out of his element. So if you know of a prospective Ham and he or she is talking about participating in a Ham Cram, then the sagest advice you can impart upon them is that they should begin the studying process WAY in advance (weeks/months).  Then they'll arrive at the Ham Cram as a rough diamond ready to be polished into a prized jewel.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

National Night Out

National Night Out was celebrated at Veteran's Park in South Plainfield, NJ last night. The police, fire department, rescue squad and office of emergency management were all there. And so was SPARC.



We had several setups going in order to be able to demonstrate to the community the various aspects of Amateur Radio - hobby aspects in addition to emergency communications aspects.

I had my KX3 going to the PAR which was held up by my Jackite pole. Dave Hackett KD2FSI had a VHF/UHF station going, as well as his JT65 setup going, and was successfully working DX stations. Dave also had his satellite antenna out for display.

I had the distinct pleasure of having three QSOs while people watched. The first was with Jim WB0ZWW in Anthony, KS.  Jim was using his KX3 so it was a 2X QRP KX3 QSO. But what made it special was that Jim just started using QRP power levels today - so I ended up being one of his first QRP QSOs.  Conditions on 20 Meters were decent and we had a close to a 1/2 hour rag chew.

The next QSO was with W8DIZ, Diz from Flying Pigs fame. Diz was using a QRPp rig, and I was his first NJ QSO. Hearing that, I lowered my power from 5 Watts to 1 Watt and got a good signal report back from Diz. Not having gone milliwatting in a long time, I lowered my power to 500 mW. Diz gave me a 449. Not bad for 1/2 Watt to an end fed antenna in a park, being lifted by a Jackite pole!

My last QSO was with John K3WWP. I explained to him what we were doing in the park and how he was helping me demonstrate Amateur Radio. John surprised me by telling me that today was the anniversary of the start of his QRP QSO a Day streak, and that I was his first QSO inaugurating the beginning of his 22nd year of the streak.  Wow - what an honor and a privilege.

Dave's satellite antenna came in handy later on in the evening as there was a very nice pass of the ISS. It was a good elevation - about 56 degrees and it came shortly after sunset, so the space station was very bright.  Dave aimed his satellite antenna and we were easily able to hear packets coming down from the ISS. That was cool!

But the capper of the evening was a landing by the NJ State Police NorthStar helicopter. This is the helicopter used for various NJ State Police activities, but is most famous as the premier NJ Medivac Helicopter.






All in all, it was a very pleasant evening, and I was proud to be able to represent the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club once again.

By the way, according to the Reverse Beacon Network, this is where my signal was being heard:



72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Hooray NJ2SP – SPARC Rookies!


Great job by the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club Rookies who activated NJ2SP - and an equally great job by Marv K2VHW who mentored the event.

Can't wait 'til Field Day!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

LHS Episode #144: Amateur Radio Resources

ham-radio-operateHello, folks! We're happy to say that Pete has rejoined our crew for this episode of the show, and he brings with him some excellent information for all you listeners out there. We take a look at several great video and audio resources for amateur radio adventures this fortnight. On top of that, we give a detailed description of YFKtest in action during a contest, and an overview and introduction to the latest version of the Tucnak logger. Lots more news, reviews and excitement as well. Please enjoy!

73 de The LHS Guys

2014 SET

This is the weekend for the 2014 SET - Simulated Emergency Test.  Are you and/or your club participating?


The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club - SPARC, will be!

We are going to meet tomorrow at 10:00 AM at out EOC.  Once there, I will hand out scripts to the "players" who will be dispatched at various sites around town.  Basically, without giving away too much (some SPARC members actually read this blog - can you believe it?) we will be providing backup communications for the town as the result of a major natural disaster, including but not limited to, the manning of the regional shelter that is located in our town.

Each ARES/RACES member will receive an individualized script and will be directed, at specific times during the drill, to call the NCS and report a "situation". What is NOT scripted is the follow up actions and communications that will flow as a result of the reporting of the "situation".  NCS has no idea of what he will be called about - the following communications will be dealt with as the circumstances dictate.

Right now, the script is still evolving and won't be finalized until tonight. This is when I should have a very good idea as to how many SPARC members will be participating in the drill tomorrow.  Since tomorrow is Yom Kippur, some of our members will be unable to attend. I don't want this to be a boring, tedious drill. I want our members to actually do some communicating, and we will see where we go from there.

My part in all of this?  I will sit in the EOC and will play the role of ICS, throwing some curveballs to the NCS as well. This should be interesting.  

In addition, I will be looking for a volunteer to send a report of or activity to our Section Manager, our Section Emergency Coordinator, and our County ARES and RACES chiefs via NTS. (I would do it myself, but I'm taking the XYL out for dinner tomorrow night - today is our wedding anniversary!) This should be a good learning experience for some of our members who haven't has much experience with NTS. Instead of sending it as book traffic, maybe I can get four volunteers to send one message each.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!




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