GM (Good Morning in CW) from Fryeburg, ME!
Judy and I spent the last weekend in Newington, CT, where I attended the annual meeting held for new Section Managers. The participants ranged from two from CA to my friend Nancy, KG0YL, from ND, to MI to NNJ. It truly was an eclectic group that worked well together. Steve, WV1X, was our gracious host who took great care of us! We met all the staff leaders, who briefed us on their areas of responsibilities, along with many others, starting with the new ARRL CEO Howard Mickel, WB2ITX, and outgoing (as of this past Monday) CEO Barry Shelley, N1VXY.
Rest assured, from Howard on down the ARRL is focused on ensuring the Amateur Radio Service’s and the ARRL’s viability, including serving each of you well. I encourage you to make visiting HQ an important item on your bucket list. This was my second trip there, as I was fortunate to visit during the centennial in 2014. I got to operate W1AW again, handing out dozens of QSOs in a pileup on 20m and more on 40m for the PA QSO Party.
We’re preparing to leave for home tomorrow, just in time for this weekend’s NM Section Convention at the Socorro Hamfest this coming weekend. While it’s too late to get a Friday-night banquet ticket, you can still rent tables and register at https://www.socorroara.org/socorro-hamfest/. This is our state’s Convention, which includes the annual ARES and ARRL forums. I’ll host the latter, where my focus will be answering your questions. I hope to see you there! For those in and around Albuquerque, the High Desert ARC will host the Veteran’s Day Tailgate in the Intel parking lot on 10 Nov. See you there too?
The Duke City Hamfest/Rocky Mountain Division Convention was a success by all accounts. Our new venue was well-received, we had many compliments about the extensive presentation list, the food and service were exceptionally good, and the initial accounting indicates we made a small profit. The Board will meet next month to review all the details since many of us had put off necessary travel until after the event. We already have improvement ideas for 2019. Submit yours at www.dukecityhamfest.org
I enjoyed meeting many of you while I ran from one event to the next. We had nearly 50 participants attend the secret Wouff Hong (best when heard aloud) ceremony, which included celebrity guests Mike Corey, KI1U, from HQ ARRL, and Katie Allen, WY7YL, RMD Director Dwayne’s, WY7FD’s, wife. I hope you had fun, learned something new, and found a treasure to take home. About one-third of attendees came from out-of-State leaving approximately 400 from NM.
That number is less than one-third of NM ARRL members and represents 6 percent of the total number of active amateur licenses in NM, less than 1 in 20. Many attendees hoped for more manufacturers and vendors to be in the large hall. Sadly, they won’t be there unless more of you shown up!
I assert the low participation rate at the biggest convention in NM is mostly due to low participation rate in ham radio overall, in club membership, and membership in the ARRL. Each of us has a role to play in turning those low rates around.
The ARRL Strategic Plan includes the following: Get active. Get involved. Get on-the-air. I have heard, sometimes from longtime friends, that Amateur Radio is dying. Nothing could be further from the truth! CW operating is on-the-rise! WSJT-X as implemented in FT-8 has taken over the lion’s share of HF activity! Some clubs meet every week each month for project nights and learning nights! If you believe there is nothing left to do or learn in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS), you and Rip Van Winkle need to shake off the cobwebs and open QST, visit eHam, or join one of the e-mail lists, blogs, etc., that describe the activity the rest of us are enjoying!
For example, our NM W6H operation for Route 66 On-the-Air last month made nearly 4,300 contacts despite a geomagnetic storm and the poor HF propagation. We would have made even more if more “chasers” had show up to work us! It seems many didn’t bother since everybody knows hour poor HF conditions are. Yes, they aren’t great, but there are still many HF contacts to be made and even some DX to work including Chad, an all-time new one (ATNO) for me last week, along with new band-slots for Rwanda. And those with just a dipole at 35 feet!
For those of us who are active in the ARS, we need to do a better job of sharing that activity with others. I gave a presentation on mentoring (Elmering for us long-licensed hams) at the DCHF. Sadly, the tradition of helping others to become active, to become involved, to get them on the air has waned. I hope, over the next year, we can turn that trend around. I’d be happy to give that presentation at one of your club’s meetings.
I have already visited over half a dozen club meetings and hamfests since taking over the SM role in July. Please add my e-mail address to your newsletter mailing list. I look forward to invitations from the other clubs across NM, so I can explain my role in the ARRL and help provide some motivation to get hams in NM active, involved, and on the air. Let me know your thoughts in Socorro or write me at email@example.com. The term “amateur” comes from the Latin “Amare” which means “to love.” A common saying used in business is: “Learn it. Love it. Live it.”
Let’s apply that in the hobby (and Service) we love!
73, Bill, K8TE
ARRL New Mexico Section
Section Manager: Bill Mader, K8TE