Get Involved at Hamvention!
As an 18-wheeler pulls away from the ARRL warehouse loading dock, destined for the Dayton Hamvention® -- only a week away -- ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, looks on with a sense of relief: “There go all of the supplies for our huge exhibit area -- ARRL EXPO.” In 2005, Inderbitzen helped introduce ARRL EXPO to Hamvention where it has become a centerpiece of the event.
“ARRL EXPO is the place to meet ARRL program representatives and explore the very best of our Amateur Radio Service,” he said. “I am excited about this year’s planning that includes 20 exhibits and a team of 140 volunteers, officials and staff. Our rallying message for all radio amateurs is ‘Get Involved.’ Get involved in emergency communications. Get involved in radiosport and contesting. Get involved with a local school. And get involved with a radio club. If there’s one thing we know about radio amateurs, we know that the most active hams are involved and connected.” The booths throughout the ARRL EXPO will help underscore the ‘Get Involved” message.
Get Involved: Project Building
A project-building booth will help introduce visitors the fun of homebrewing, also known as project building. Participants will get to handle electronic components, circuit boards -- and even try their hand at soldering and completing a basic kit. The activity is organized by ARRL Product Review and Lab Technician Bob Allison, WB1GCM. Allison and team of instructors will be on-hand to help mentor participants through the construction. “There’s a great sense of pride and satisfaction from building something,” Inderbitzen said. “For some participants, we expect that this might be the first time that they’ve ever built something. For others, we hope returning to the ‘lab bench’ will help rekindle their interest in Amateur Radio project building and experimentation.”
Get Involved: Radiosport
ARRL’s Radiosport exhibit will be abuzz with radio amateurs who participate in on-air competitions, awards and events. Representatives from the ARRL DXCC Branch, Contest Branch, Awards Branch, QSL Bureau and Logbook of the World will be on hand to answer your questions and fill you in on all of the exciting radiosport activities. “When the Hara Arena doors open, the lines form very quickly for QSL card checking and award applications,” Inderbitzen said. “But don’t let the seasoned award-hunters scare you away. We hope newcomers will stop by and speak with our contest and award program representatives. Whether or not you have a competitive spirit, all of these activities help contribute to improving on-air operating and technical skills. Plus radiosport is fun!”
Get Involved: Youth
Well-known youth organizers Andrea Hartlage, KG4IUM, and her father Scott, KF4PWI, have once again teamed up this year to organize the ARRL Youth Lounge. This is “the place to be” if you are young -- or young at heart -- where young hams can meet and socialize together. “Andrea and Scott have become mainstays in ARRL’s annual Dayton planning,” Inderbitzen explained. “Once again, they’ve organized a terrific space for young radio enthusiasts to gather. There are loads of activities planned, including a scavenger hunt, find-the-hidden-transmitter ‘fox-hunt,’ crafts, prizes, snacks and more.” See the program and activities guide for ARRL Youth Calling Frequencies and the ARRL Youth Dinner planned for Saturday night. College-bound students and their families are encouraged to visit the combined ARRL Development and ARRL Foundation booth for information about scholarships. Charitable giving opportunities are available to help strengthen ARRL’s work on behalf of wireless technology literacy in schools.
Get Involved: Emergency Communications
Meet with program representatives for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®), the National Traffic System (NTS) and Ham Aid. Find out about public service groups in your area and emergency communication training for beginners and leaders, as well as other resources. Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, and Field Organization Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X, will be on hand to help you explore the world of Amateur Radio and emergency communications. “Mike and Steve want to shake hands with as many radio amateurs who volunteer their skills in public service applications,” Inderbitzen said. “These hams pride themselves in their readiness to respond with skills to communicate helpful -- and even life-saving information -- when other communication systems fail.”
More Ways to Get Involved
Many other exhibits are planned for ARRL EXPO, including a booth representing ARRL-affiliated radio clubs and related benefits, guides to help you tour the recently-launched new ARRL Web site, software demonstrations, resources for classroom education and scouting programs, as well as an opportunity to help advance ARRL’s federal legislation initiatives that support the entire Amateur Radio Service.