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What's left for HAM radio?

Sorry for the subject line, but was just at Best Buy and ALL of the FRS
radio MFRS are now selling 5W (5 Mile) FRS/gmrs* radios.  Notice the
"gmrs" in small print and the asterix which you have to search on all six
sides of the box to see in very tiny print (license required).

These are going for $99 a pair with all channels and CTCSS and 5 Watts.
And remember  that there are GMRS repeaters in most places..  THus, WHO
NEEDS HAM RADIO  when you can buy an HT with repeater coverage at office
depot or best buy?

My personal response to this commercialization of WIRELESS began a few
months ago when I began taking a USGS topographical map to my kids SCOUTS
and SCHOOL Club meetings and getting the kids to put pins in the map to
identify their QTH.  Soon it was clear that many if not most were
clustered well within a mile of each other.  MOST already had "walkie
talkies" (FRS).

My objective here is to set up a "NET" time when they can call and find
others in their group on the air.  By educating them FIRST before we begin
these nets, each kid will be assigned a "callsign".  FOr my kids scout
troop it will be "995-AJ" or on initial call up, "This is Troop-995-AJ".
A combination of the troop number and the kids initials.  For his school
radio club we are forming (Severn School) it will be "Severn-AJ"

We will practice calling and net operation in the clubs and at the
meetings before we do any ON-AIR operation.  THus when NET time comes, we
will have an orderly group of kids that can use the radio properly.

IF YOU DONT TRAIN THEM FIRST, you will have bedlam!  Kids want to make
noises and just yell into the radio.  We must educate them first.  Radios
can be valuable if people konw how to us them.  As HAM radio operators we
must rise to this challenge or soon even FRS will be useless...

I stongly feel that getting them to use CALLSIGNS is the first BIG step:

TO give their FRS callsigns some significance and permanence and to
encourage them to use them, One of their first club projects is to
use a computer to print a QSL looking like card with their "callsign" on
it.  When they begin to identify with that call, then I am certain we will
see them use them and be proud of them.

Then hook-line-and-sinker we reel them in to our local KIDS amateur radio
club... to upgrade... and get a real callsign...

P.S.  By organizing a radio sub-group in each group that my kids are
involved with and other  neighboring troops (all of which overlap back
into the same geographical  area) soon we will have enough kids in the
area and on the air to achieve critical mass of being able to raise a
QSO without the organized NET.  THIS is our farming grounds for future
HAM radio operators...

Many in HAM radio do not agree with this approach.  But we have to do

de WB4APR, Bob

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