My activities are split into two clubs – OM3KFF, OM3KII.
University radioclub in Bratislava. We have good QTH (for HF) at student dormitory. Last 2-3 years were affected by reconstruction of dorm buildings so we had to release old rooms and built new club almost from scratch. Also lot of work on the antennas regarding to that.
We attended to youth science exhibition on September like last years. We showed HAM hobby to kids and wide public. As you see on photos, we built up HF antenna and bring radio with loud speaker so we can handle with noisy environment (and it really was). One operator was operating the radio (SSB, CW), another one was explaining. Also HF propagation, we had white board, markers, some printed materials, student’s book for exam…
Another show was handy, we repeat contact any time we needed, we had arranged buddy for that. Daring kids can do contact by their own. Analog and also DMR.
We was also handing out QSL cards, kids were instructed roll the dice (big one from IKEA) that showed how many. Sounds silly but works. We got recommendation for this technique from PR guy.
Also satellite yagi took attention, we could explain basics of antennas, show that HAM do not has to be expensive hobby. We listened air traffic control on that. Tried listen to satellites but only some NOAA chirping or noise from carrier / telemetry.
Kids keep attention just for few seconds so it is very hectic. Finally, it is more public presentation than recruitment but hopefully some of the kids will pop up later. Three presenters are minimum staff even for this small stand, we were four most of the time. We think about double stand for the next year.
Whole event were professionally organized, supported by some funds. Exhibitors were volunteers, mostly secondary schools, universities, science club and some companies. We did not pay for stand, neither got paid. Organizers did PR, mostly online but mainly they convinced many schools to come with kids also outside of Bratislava.We alse had own roll-up poster at the stand.
Beginners course OM3KFF
We have some new newbies who interested so plan is do some PR (online) and open a ham course this October. This new members usually take exam in spring. We had about 8 participants two years ago who made Novice license. 4-5 of them are really active and they are waiting for Extra exams this autumn.
We do PR mostly FB page, shares thru friends, university group, hamradio and CB groups. We also willing to pay Facebook ad. And ‘old fashioned hamradio webs, CB forum. Again we don’t expect dozens of participants but if you get 4-8 people for course, half of them will stay in this hobby, it’s 2-3 guys every year, 20 per decade. Let’s be realistic, how many members do you gain in your club?
What I see as crucial, very few radioclubs do this. I listened lot of excuses but people are simply lazy or/and selfish. Some (contest) clubs are closed – our effort money, we operate. That selfish approach leads to lack of operators after 10 years of building QTH. In one moment, they all are 60+, some have passed away, lack of tower climber, operators… OK, enough complaining
Minimum age for license is 14 years. Exams are oral and usually everybody do it. The bigger bogy is engineering part but examiners are usually helpful and tolerant especially for youngsters. On course we teach them all – law regulations, operational practices, engineering and later also morse code.
OM3KII, summer youth camps
VHF / UHF / microwave contest station. QTH at Velka Javorina, 970m ALS. Most of members live in Bratislava and they have children in teen age.
Last several years, OM3KII organized Ham youth camp on behalf of association (SARA). Unfortunately, reply for public call was very lax this year so we decided organize only smaller club camp.
Generally fathers-kids holiday with trips, swimming pool, barbecue, some portable operation (SOTA, Fauna-Flora) and VHF activity contest.
This is point. Our summer was always focused as study with exams at the end and morse code practice. We also do some hiking trips, portable operation, solder some kits, very easy foxhunting,… No rocket science, like everywhere.
Last few years, camp was ‘saved’ by teens of OM3KII (5 kids of hams in the same age). I thing, it’s necessary to move it towards more standard summer camp, rid of exams, less study, easy with CW, more fun activities and sport. Also spread more PR, not only in ham community. I suppose this at SARA board, one older member hated me for that but I thing I can convince the rest of board members.