[VHFcontesting] A Central Repository for Newbies?

Austin austin at k4amk.us
Sat Dec 4 15:58:42 PST 2010

It is my opinion that the Rover Contesting and the VHF/UHF/Microwave
Weak Signal Communities have a shared vested interest in encouraging new
hams to become interested in our areas of interest.  I know that this
was a topic at this past year's Central States VHF Conference, and I am
sure it has been a topic elsewhere as well.  How do we recruit new hams?

I recently moved to the state of Alabama and decided that I wanted to
become a serious Rover here in the Southeast.  There isn't a club down
here like I was blessed with up in Wisconsin (the Badger Contesters) to
help "elmer me."  Luckily I found a few hams in the area (Les Rayburn,
N1LF especially) that took the time to encourage me and offer guidance
as the South East is a very different beast than up in Wisconsin
(terrain, activity, etc).  In addition, I spent a lot of time on the web
searching and searching.

During a presentation about recruitment efforts at Central States, I was
inspired to think about ways that I could "give back" to the hobby. 
First of all, I am pushing hard (with the help of several others here in
AL) to increase activity on the bands here in Alabama.  I took a new ham
out with me in September to introduce him to rovering, and I have
already lined up another non-VHF contester to observe in January.  The
Alabama Contest Group has invited us in to join their ranks and to start
building a VHF/UHF/Microwave focus group within their group.  So if
there are any AL hams on here looking for like minded hams in the area,
give me a shout.

But I keep thinking that more needs to be done.  I was lucky when I got
into the hobby back in 1996.  I had members in my local Amateur Club
that were into Weak Signal work and they introduced me to this side of
the hobby.  I owe them and the Badger Contesters up there many many
thanks!  But what about those new hams out there that don't have such
friendly "elmers" in their clubs?

I think about all of the great resources and information that is out on
the web... but it is scattered and frankly not the easiest to find. 
Don't get me wrong, that isn't a slam against anyone.  I appreciate the
information that is out there.  But I have forgotten more than I can
remember as to these great sites.  I almost literally have to stumble
back on it.  So I was thinking.  What if there was a Central Repository?
 A central website that either had the information, or at least had the
links to all of this great information in a user friendly format with
the newbie in mind?  A place with an easy URL to remember for that new
ham that is curious about how to get started?

I have been wrestling with this idea for awhile now.  I went ahead and
took the initiative to register the domain "RoverContesting.com".  Is
this a way that I can give back to a hobby that is near and dear to me? 
Please understand that this isn't a lame attempt for stardom or glory. 
Nor am I looking at this as a money making opportunity.  That isn't my
goal here.  If others are interested in helping me build (information
gathering, link gathering, and your general HTML elbow-grease) the site,
I will gladly accept it.  I have no problem admitting my HTML skills are
still stuck in the 90's.

Before I put the time and effort into it though, is this something that
is of interest to the community?  Do others believe that this is a valid
need and would welcome the effort?  You will not offend me if you say
no.  If something already exists out there that I am not aware of...
AWESOME!!  I am merely seeing a need from my own personal experience and
offering to help do something about it.

I am respectfully curious as to your thoughts.


Austin, K4AMK
austin at k4amk.us

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