It seems that contesting clubs in Manitoba and New England want to show non-hams, new hams and all hams, the 'joys of HF radio'. In a beta test of their idea, called 'Discover the HF Experience', participants in Manitoba will have the opportunity to get on HF by operating K1K, in Massachusetts, remotely, from the Garden City Canada Inn located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Saturday, April 2nd.
Future events will take place in Massachusetts from the Yankee
Clipper Contest Club's venue on April 10th and a much larger operation,
featuring four operating positions at Dayton in May, at the ARRL's Expo site.
Full details of all operations can be found here.
The idea was the
brainchild of Gerry Hull, W1VE who, along with Cary Rubenfeld, VE4EA, has brought his idea to
“Our amateur population is at an all-time high, but most new hams are
getting a Technician ticket, getting on VHF and UHF, and hanging out
with like-minded friends,” Hull said. The limitations on what Technician
licensees can do often leads to boredom, Hull said, “and they drop out
of the hobby. They never get the exposure to HF ham radio, and as any
veteran radio amateur can tell you, that’s a lifelong exploration.”
Now I fully concur that far too many of our
newest amateurs land on VHF or UHF and never move, almost totally unaware of
what HF radio is all about. Being exposed to HF radio is a great idea, yet ...
and maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I'm not sure that this 'first experience'
is best done via remote operation. From my own initial exposure to ham radio,
seeing the magic happen in a basement or attic radio shack, complete with
glowing dials and a wall full of QSL's from all over the world, was enough to
hook me for life. I'm pretty sure that same feeling can't be conveyed by sitting
in front of a laptop and pushing a few keys.
I am not a fan of 'remotes'
but from what I have seen, this may be one of the better examples and if it
grabs and convinces even a few to explore HF on their own, that would be a good
thing ... then all we'd have to do is get them on CW !