Bottom line up front: If you’re on PSK-31 at about 1515 UTC on Saturday 17 July, please keep a lookout for W4BZM.
The whole story: Our local club has decided that offering license classes and testing is not enough to grow new hams. Especially for new General class licensees, we see the need for a structured program AFTER the test to get new Generals on the air. We are working on a guide for our Elmers with a checklist of items to cover that are not emphasized (or in some cases even addressed) in the license manuals or the General exam — things like picking hardware, choosing an antenna appropriate to the new General’s QTH, the sequence for a typical QSO, tuning the antenna without interfering with an ongoing QSO, various methods of confirming a contact (QSL), logging, etc.
One of the subject we cover in the post-test syllabus is a more detailed, hands-on demonstration of various digital modes, including PSK-31. If the Florida thunderstorms allow, we will try to host such a demo on 20 meters, starting about 1515 UTC on Saturday 17 July. We are hoping to see a lot of signals on the waterfall. If your happen to see the call W4BZM, please be willing to make a short QSO with our new Generals, and be patient as we demonstrate straight “type it in” interchanges as well as macros. (There may be a delay between end of your transmissions and start of a reply.) We are trying to develop interest in PSK-31 up front, early in the experiences of the new General licensee.
...and yes, we will later be demonstrating modes of FT8, Winlink, and perhaps JS8. Please don’t bash us for that. As much as we all love our PSK-31 mode, it’ only fair to let the new folks know about the many options available in ham radio.
Hope to see you on the waterfall.
73 Mike W4BZM
Member, Education and Advancement Committee, North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club (NOARC)