[CQ-Contest] Getting Kids into Contesting

Greg Fox fox at obsolete.org
Thu Oct 19 13:28:18 EDT 2000

I appauld you, entirely, Doug. 

I'm 20, and thinking back, it was the local radio club that got me
into contesting through a Field Day. I pressed that mic, and we 
scribble down the QSO. It blew me away how that wire up in a 
tree could get Flordia so easily. 

Since than radio has always been magical for me. That's all it 
takes, one moment where you insert a spark. They might not consider
it again for ten years, but it's still in there, and Doug is 
very right. 

People think that young people don't like radio. That they'd rather
type away on the internet and talk to people with eight numerals
in their alternating caps username. It's not that they don't like 
it, they just don't know it. 

I tell my friends contesting is radiosport. I tell them about 
propogation modes, running JAs. They come over and help me install
my antennas in the rain and sway back and forth on the piece of
25G we are in the process of guying. They all listen, and almost
none of them dismiss it as being lame. About one in three takes
a interest and asks me to get them the licensing books. 

Kids don't know what radio sounds like. I wish someone would upload
highlights of their contest audio as .mp3's to their site. When I 
watch NHL2Night they don't just tell me what happened when the Blues
got downed by the Red Wings, they let me see. I don't think I'll 
ever see the scores being reported with little witty comments than 
fading into audio of KC1XX's eight high stack smashing into EU for a
200 hour rate, but, just a few pieces of what we actually do on those
fangled `mHz frequencies' would be a big jump towards what us hard
wired kids are used to. 

Contesting.com kept me staring with want at the stacks while I was
away at college. I played the V31BB audio clips over and over again
when I first found them on a link from K5TRs site. I really think 
that these two things were very important in getting me to spend 
my summer work money on a C31XR and 100' of 25G vs the new Dell 
Inspirion laptop. If I went with the latter, I certainly wouldn't
be contesting this season.

When I drive by a big station I see those stacks and I see big rates,
first calls, straight line paths to EU and JA. When they drive by they
see weird pieces of alluminum pointing in various ways, which seem
almost junky, in their apperance. I'm not sure how to fix this, other
than trying to let them operate. Have them call on 10 meter phone in
the novice band during a regular day and get abashed by all the people
who come back `59+40' with disbelief. 

(Big guns: you're heros, you have things in your receiver most of us
can't even dream about. Theres a lot of weight there, smile, and let
them come in and press the knobs.) 

I don't see radio being outdated, or left behind. Theres band maps, 
computer controled rotators. I tell them about meteor scatter and
watch them loose theirselves when I talk about EME. If your into 
the internet you can buy a PK-88 and hack TCP/IP in Linux over 2mtrs.
You can spend two years trying to learn about propogation methods 
and still be humbled. Theres antenna design, which never seems to 
go. My friends smiled at me when I spent the whole afternoon digging
through the Proceedings of the IRE in Purdue's library storage. 

Radiosport has heros. Just like hockey or basketball if you gave me
a piece of paper I could write down fifty call signs that regulary
get boxed, or are locals, who have helped me immensly. Theres the 
Multi-Multi's who almost seem to be in the Americas Cup race. There
are the good hearted local scraps who will stop on each other and 
exchange numbers. Theres contest clubs which kick you, and tell you
to spin that thumbwheel-- and most of the time, you can't shoot down
team spirit.

There is a whole, whole, lot. But mostly, it starts by that spark.
Go out and give those kids that visit Doug, and everyone else sharing
their time, a big kind hello.

73 Greg/KE9R

CQ-Contest on WWW:        http://lists.contesting.com/_cq-contest/
Administrative requests:  cq-contest-REQUEST at contesting.com

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list