Category Archives: The Positive Ham

Ham Radio’s Second Century – Being on the Ready for TEOTWAWKI

TEOTWAWKI

 

Ham Radio’s Second Century – Being on the Ready for TEOTWAWKI

At the 2015 W9DXCC Chicago September 12th 2015 banquet the Keynote Speaker, ex-FCC General Counsel (retired) Riley Hollingsworth K4ZDH spoke to the need for Ham Radio to be ready for essentially “TEOTWAWKI”, as the decentralized independent hobbyist will be critical to their country (and humanity) in any post-apocalyptic situation.

TEOTWAWKI is shorthand for “The End Of The World As We Know It” which is a phrase most of recognize from pop songs of a certain era, and an unexpected concept for a DX Club keynote speech.

Riley K4ZDH painted a critical need for hams and their capabilities to communicate when all other means are down in a world that has suffered a Cyber War. The Internet of Things is projected to increase its interconnectivity to include some 50 billion nodes, whether people, things or virtual interconnects per projections he quoted, setting us up for a “world of hurt” (pun very much intended) if we are denied that connectivity.

Leon Panetta’s 2012 speech outlining the catastrophic impact of a Cyber Pearl Harbor was the highest ranking government warning Riley K4ZDH referenced, but we’d already listened to earlier talks about Solar Activity and most hams are well aware of the potential impact from a natural event. Less likely scenarios like EMP Bombing were not mentioned, but a quick web search will give a reader days’ worth of public source information about various government and other EMP projects.

Parts of Mr Panetta’s warning are reported in the October 11th 2012 New York Times:

“Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government.

In a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, Mr. Panetta painted a dire picture of how such an attack on the United States might unfold. He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness and technological advances by the nation’s adversaries, which officials identified as China, Russia, Iran and militant groups.

“An aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches,” Mr. Panetta said. “They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”

Defense officials insisted that Mr. Panetta’s words were not hyperbole, and that he was responding to a recent wave of cyberattacks on large American financial institutions. He also cited an attack in August on the state oil company Saudi Aramco, which infected and made useless more than 30,000 computers.”

The largely DXer (hams who focus on making contacts with other countries, collecting records of those contacts for recognition among their peers) and Contester (hams who do highly organized “drills” contacting others in specific time frames and rule sets, competing for the most effective ham or ham teams, again recognized by peers in the hobby) audience were specifically a critical resource per Riley K4ZDH as these groups represent a large group of the best operators – the sorts who know how to make radio contacts under adverse condition and while under pressure.

The discipline of these types of operators lends itself very well to passing traffic with a speed and accuracy, and technically prowess noteworthy among hams.   They typically have access to first-rate stations and gear, tend to be highly motivated, capable and independent individuals, and are well-practiced at the competitive parts of the ham hobby.

Woven into Riley K4ZDH’s talk were references on the important of traffic net capabilities and a critical need to get new & younger hams involved.

Implied with the DXers and Contesters was that they were not “part of the system” that would be attacked and/or fail. It was noteworthy that he did not mention EMCOM, ARES, RACES, FEMA, MARS or any other organized emergency communication group, but instead focused on the independent high capability ham offering their services as a time of need – after TEOTWAWKI.

There are many parallels to Mr. Hollingsworth’s statements and the premises behind the FREECOM proposal calling for individual readiness rather than “in system emergency preparedness.” To be fair Riley K4ZDH did not actually use the work TEOTWAWKI nor did he take time to discuss the current organized EMCOM situation. So perhaps some bias has entered into what I took away from his speech.

Nonetheless the message rang true – be prepared, be ready, keep your skills and capabilities up, get younger people involved and hope that like those school fire drills when we were kids that preparedness and awareness keep trouble at bay.

In a future series of articles I will refresh the ideas behind FREECOM and how using those ideas you two can be part of this state of preparedness.

73

Steve

K9ZW

 

Tagged

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Summary & Wrap-Up

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” and “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part II” here are my thoughts:

Stop playing the “Zero Sum Game”  – More Hams doesn’t mean less for everyone!

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part I

We need to honor the idea that “We are only as good as how well we teach & share.

Keep the anti-Elmers in Check.

Link: Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part II

Control the learner’s experience in a postive way. Basically until an anti-elmer (if they can) is reformed, keep students away from them.

Technical Hermitage

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part III

When you need to, go it alone and do the woodshedding, as – In a “Technical Hermitage” I only encounter the most positive ham I then knew – myself – while teaching myself.

Recognition of Elmership

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part IV

Reinforcement leads to a desire to do the good thing agian and again – Repeated public praise of the successful and willing Elmer will nurture that Elmer and inspire others to join the Elmer ranks.

Encouragement to Find an Elmer

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part V

Every student needs a teacher –Do what is needed to plant the idea of finding the mentorship of an Elmer in your fellow ham.

Awards/Wallpaper for both Elmers and the “Elmered”

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part VI

Tokens marking the successes we have are more than just scorekeeping, they are reinforcement. Consider rewarding your club’s effective & successful Elmers with a tangible award in recognition of their contributions that they can display as wallpaper in their shack.  Include in recognition the student with a certificate type award marking their success as the “Elmered.” 

More Steps recognized at the Club/Community Level than just Three License Classes

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part VII

Break down the advancement into smaller appealing acheivments –Keep track, recognize and honor incremental acheivements within the hobby.

Publicly Praise and Acknowledge the “Right Stuff”

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part VIII

Praise given in secrecy is 1000 times less effective than praise opnely given – Very simple, hold up and publicly praise the Right Stuff in Amateur Radio.

Lessons – Just Like Tennis or the Violin?

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part IX

Like a ballplayer looks to coaches to help advance one’s game –Whether giving or taking instruction, on going amateur radio lessons will keep us improving and learning.

Write About It – Pass it on Vicariously.

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part X

Share in a way that stores your mentorship until the student is ready for it –Put your Radio Amateur Experience into words to give it a legacy of Elmering future generations of hams.

Continuing Education all Around?

Link: “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part XI

Make yourself a challenge to get better at this hobby – Continuing Education in setting personal education goals, starting that training, and seeing that training through until one’s personal goals are met, is core to a life-long progression in personal skills & enjoyment.

….

I’ve tagged all of the posts in this series “The Positive Ham” if you want to search & read the lot of them.

While far from comprehensive the suggestions would seem to go along ways towards meeting the much of the motivators, borrowed from another role in life, contained in the acronym “M.I..CE.”, which stands for “Money, Ideology, Coercion, and Ego”

To that I must insist that even when motivated by MICE in hobby terms we have to be having FUN to make any of this worthwhile.

My appreciation to you for hanging in with me as these idas unfolded.  Thank you!

Again, as these are (just) a few of my observations and thoughts – what are your ideas?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part XI

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Continuing Education all Around?

Life is a journey, not a destination – and like all travelers we should be striving to learn more about every aspect of our lives.

Continuing Education is a good part of that discovery process.  Through life long learning we truly can improve.

A few weeks ago I was having coffee with a retired head of department from a one of the state university campuses, and he decried that though he has been retired for a decades that his cumulative wisdom really only helps him ask the questions in his field better!  He said he didn’t expect to find answers, rather that “better questions” were his goal.

Continuing Education (CE) may seem a bit nuanced in light of my prior suggestions to arrange for lessons, though I see CE as a higher level strategic self challenge where those lessons are one of many tactics that can be used to meet a personal CE goal.

In CE for enjoying Amateur Radio a lot of possibilities show merit – taking electronics courses, learning to solder & weld at a local technical school, learning how to Cadweld Grounding Systems together, studying troubleshooting bench techniques, working on one’s voice, enunciation and communication skills, brushing up (or learning) CW, learning how to code/script, doing a self-study course on using test gear… the list is endless, and really centers on what is useful, available and FUN for you personally.

CE may be a multi-year self challenge where perhaps one learns basics to build simply kits, then later surface mount skills, then another time on how to program ICs, then some study on enclosure layout & fabrication, then… well you get the idea, that CE can be a process with a long timeframe.

Biggest things are setting goals, using initiative to get the CE opportunity underway and carying through.  Gee, that makes it sound simple, doesn’t it?

Continuing Education in setting personal education goals, starting that training, and seeing that training through until one’s personal goals are met, is core to a life-long progression in personal skills & enjoyment.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part X

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Write About It – Pass it on Vicariously.

There are lots of chances to “Elmer across time & distance” by recording what you have learned, been taught, discovered through experimentation, or simple stumbled upon.  Whether a technique was a rousing success or falls into a “don’t try this yourself” unsuccessful technique, you can help your fellow ham by writing about it.

What I am hoping is the net effect of this blog is the sharing of what others were kind enough to help me learn.  It is “giving back” to the ham community what has been given to me.

So take pictures and write up your ham projects & adventures.  Share those summaries with the radio amateurs who could benefit with your experience and wisdom.

Put your Radio Amateur Experience into words to give it a legacy of Elmering future generations of hams.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part IX

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Lessons – Just Like Tennis or the Violin?

While there are few “naturals” among us, most of us can greatly “improve our game” with a lessons.

I knew that to take my participation in amateur radio to the level that was interesting me, that I would need some lessons.

Besides the ARRL CCE On-Line courses (which I took almost every one of the original offerings) I signed up for lessons sessions like “Contest University” attending several years of that program the day before the Dayton Hamvention.  Awesome jump start on things about contesting I really hadn’t considered.

Attending various Dayton lectures/workshops, W9DXCC sessions and other one off programs were also lessons of a sort.

Then asking skilled hams to spend some time with me working on a specific focus – running a contest from W9EVT’s shack with him coaching how to log, listen and call at the same time – spending time with a club in England on how they operate there – short sessions with friends on how to set up digital macros to be more effective.  It all helps.

I’ve noticed over the years that outstanding professional musicians give each other lessons.  They quietly work with each other on improvement goals.  The first time two pros set up lessons left me puzzled.  I thought they each were awesome players, and kindly one of them explained that he valued these “peer lessons” more than anything.

There is the other side of lessons, nothing sharply focuses your skills and knowledge more than giving lessons.  When I had more time I would take a few youngsters for 4 to 10 session music lessons to work on something specific in their playing.  Nothing made sure my playing was up to scratch as knowing I would be teaching and likely demonstrating techniques.

Whether giving or taking instruction, on going amateur radio lessons will keep us improving and learning.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Solutions Offered Part VIII

Following on the questions posed “Where are the Positive Hams? And How to Tell? – Part I” here are my thoughts:

Publicly Praise and Acknowledge the “Right Stuff”

This is really basic.  Tell the amateur radio Elmer and the community about the “Right Stuff” with public recognition of things well done.

A few hours away a Michigan club has an outstanding – actual OUTSTANDING – youth radio program. “Delta County Amateur Radio Society” (DCARS K8PL), M & M Amateur Radio Club W8PIF, DAR K8DAR Club, and YACHT (Young Amateur Contest Ham Team) (I get confused who is who with all the great things they all have going) has more going for its youngest and newest hams than most club ever have going if you count everything they do for decades! Their youth YACHT radio club has over 100 members alone!

How do they keep this going?  – They make sure the young amateurs involved are recognized in the community, in the ham community and in ham publications.  They lavish praise where praise is due in a public way.

There is a lot that comes together with their success, but topping it is not letting things well done get hidden.

Very simple, hold up and publicly praise the Right Stuff in Amateur Radio.

….

So these are a few of my observations and thoughts – what are yours?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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