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Inviting Kids into HAM RADIO!

Last night was our first attempt at getting all the kids in the county on
the air on FRS.  (Sorry for the post to this sig, but think of it as an
"outreach" reminder)...

After giving talks/demos on HAM radio to a number of youth groups (scouts,
etc) in the area and then talking about FRS as a starting point and
teaching them about callsigns and proper radio procedure, we finally said,
ok, at 9 PM on Wendsnday Night, go outside and get your FRS radio as high
as you can and see who you can talk to.

This follows several weeks of presentations at Scouts, Kids Radio clubs in
the schools, and anyone that would listen...  Here are the important
points we tried to make to the kids:

1) Put your house on the map with a pin (I had a map board at all mtgs)
2) Always use a callsign (troop/school+initials.  Mine is 995REB)
3) Listen first, then call.  Take notes on who you hear.
4) Use channel 1 no-tones (or tone=0)
5) NEVER use the callbutton unless you have pre-arranged with someone else
   who is specifically going to be listening for it.  But not on our net!
6) Ignore clowns.  Don't be one.

Out of the dozens of kids I have reached, never more than 3 or 4 are
within FRS range of each other, so this is NOT like a HAM net where
everyone in the county can comunicate.  The intent is to establish
NEIGHBORHOOD nets of interested kids who then spread the word to others.
Here is a possible "scenario" that each one of them can be prepared to use
on "NET night"...

1)  Listen to see that the channel is clear....  PAUSE

2)  Is this frequency in use? OVER

3)  Is this frequency in use? OVER

4)  This is NNNABC calling all radio friends in the weekly "Oak-Grove"
Family Radio Service Net.  Is there anyone who would like to join the net,
please call NNNABC now.  Over.

5)  Take checkins if any.  Ignore all clowns...(if any)

6)  The purpose of this net is to establish local Family Radio Service
communications nets for meeting other radio friends, for learning about
two-way radio and HAM radio, and for local emergencies as needed.  We
welcome anyone to join us.  If there are any new checkins, please call

6)  etc...  A third paragraph can suggest how to make up a callsign, etc.

Remember they are going to be lucky to find anyone until we get above
critical mass, so each one of them starts as "net control" until they find
someone to talk to.

I won't know the results of this first night until next week when the kids
report back, but my son and I drove to a hill top and heard two people
(not in our groups) very weakly and were able to QSO with one of them...

This won't work until we get to critical mass, but we have now begun.  My
biggest mistake was forgetting about our own RADIO CLUB!  I should have
gotten all the HAMS in the county to also join us!  That would have
doubled the number of people on the air and ALL of them would have used
proper radio procedure from the get-go....

Anyway, you might think about "FRS NIGHT" as an outreach program for your
area with these "self-interest" objectives:

1) Notice I spoke the full name of FRS.  Many users dont know... and the
name "FAMILY RADIO SERVICE" lends a certain amount of civility to it...

2) It will get kids on the air and get them hooked on radio!

3) It will teach them proper radio procedures.  NOTE, NEVER, EVER admonish
ANYONE on the air.  You are only there to SET THE EXAMPLE.  NOTHIG ELSE.

4) If HAMS dont show them proper radio procedures, then FRS WILL BECOME
with FRS is in not requiring the radio manufacturerrs to include some kind
of OEPRATORS guide in every box!  Sure, no one will read it.... but the
ABSENCE of such a guide leaves the operation of radio open to the worst
possible habits and these CARRY OVER TO ALL FUTURE RADIOS these people
will ever use.  We see this already on the MARINE band and elsewhere...

Look at part 97.  The purpose of HAM radio is to teach the radio art and
proper procedures, etc.  I don't see any RESTRICTION that we have to limit
our responsibilities to only the HAM bands...

de WB4APR@amsat.org, Bob

Now back to your favorite part of the hobby, whatever that happens to be.

P.S.  We chose 9 PM which gives them all time to get home from scout
meetings, etc...  If they do start making contacts, then you can encourage
them to make up QSL cards for their callsigns.  It is IMPORTANT for them
to IDENTIFY with a call and to become proud of it.  QSL cards work...
and are fun to draw up on a PC...

A good closing paragraph for your NET would be somthing that mentions your
next HAM CLUB meeting... etc...

I welcome feedback and ideas, but to avoid cluttering up the SIGS, send
them privately and I will summarize back to the sig if any great new
concepts come out of it...

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