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ARRL Launches New DIY Campaign


The ARRL Public Relations Department has released the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) suite of interrelated promotional materials aimed at exposing the growing Do It Yourself/Maker community to Amateur Radio opportunities. The DIY movement is nothing new to Amateur Radio. For more than a century, hams have been working in basements and attics, taking things apart and putting them back together in new ways, just for the fun of it. Meanwhile, there has been a growing population of DIY hobbyists who do not know about the opportunities of Amateur Radio. “Maker Faires” have popped up in several areas of the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and according to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, look suspiciously like ham radio conventions.

“The DIY crowd is as diverse as hams,” Pitts explained. “Many are into computer programming, using new computer chips and open-source electronics prototyping platforms, such as Arduino that are based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. They are artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects and applications. DIYers work with everything from wood and clothing, to energy and chemistry projects, with many interested in robotics.”

To reach this growing group, the ARRL Public Relations Department has created an entirely new set of campaign materials for ARRL Public Information Officers, groups and individual hams to use in reaching out to the DIY/Maker community. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, and Dave Bell, W6AQ, were recruited to create the new video. Recruiting volunteers throughout 2011, the duo shot more than 65 hours of high-definition video, and then edited it down to a mere 8 minutes. Titled The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio, it shows ham-makers projects from around the country. You can watch it on the ARRL website or on YouTube.

“But a video alone cannot accomplish the goal of linking the viewers with ham radio,” Pitts noted. We also crafted an auxiliary flier as a hand-out to go along with the video. A PowerPoint presentation and speaker’s notes also are available. In addition, ‘Ask Why I DIY with Ham Radio’ buttons were made as a way to encourage informal conversations about our hobby with the non-hams we encounter. We even held a contest, asking hams to provide a scripted 30 second answer to the question ‘What is Amateur Radio?’ that 12 year old Chris Tate, KJ4UBL, of Burlington, North Carolina, took top honors.”

The video is available on DVD discs, along with the printed handout from the ARRL. Find information about ordering or downloading these materials here. For high-definition MPEG versions of the video, please contact Pitts via e-mail (please be aware that this version is almost 500 megs). ARRL members can get a free ‘Ask Why I DIY with Ham Radio’ button at the ARRL table at larger hamfests and conventions while supplies last.



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