In recent weeks, I noticed that the glory and majesty of the Colorado evenings have started to come a bit earlier in the day. The temperatures in the morning and the evening have started to show crispness and it is easy to tell that there is change in the air. As we close out the month of September and enter October, we are 75% through the year 2022 already. With Summer giving way to Fall and Fall will quickly give way to Winter, this is the time of year that I get more attentive to outdoor coax and antenna condition and upkeep. At the same time, too, being 75% of the way through the year is not just an indication of another year closing, but optimism can reign supreme with the relief that we still have 25% more to go!

As I reflect back on the activities and accomplishments of the PRA in 2022, I am amazed at not only our membership growth (now over 255 members), but the shear variety of events that allowed each member an opportunity to be ambassadors to the amateur radio service. From several Portable Ops Group “deployments,” to Wings-Over-the-Rockies special events, to Elmer Nights, and Field Day, these are just a few of the more public and on-display activities. Equally important is the work that goes on behind the curtain in our various committee work. Whether we’re welcoming new hams or new members, Elmering and encouraging a strong learning environment, launching a remote station, or working on the continuous improvement of our repeater infrastructures and website…the list is impressive. Most impressive is the amount of time, talent, and treasures that individual and collective members give to pull this off every week, every month and every year. There is no way that any of this would be possible without those elements of time, talent and treasures given towards the greater common good of the amateur radio service. For those that give some and for those that give a lot, THANK YOU for the amazing work you do routinely.

As we continue with momentum in the last quarter of 2022, your PRA is active, participatory, and strong. If you have not had a chance to get involved in some way, we encourage you to take that leap of faith and trust your own talent and treasures. You never know how your insight can be changing to the organization. With 25% more time to go in 2022, you have ample time to showcase your talent and treasures as an ambassador to the amateur radio service and the PRA.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

noun: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior; also : exchange of information.

In the amateur radio service, communication is what we do. Whether it is by handheld radio or an HF radio or anything in between, we are in the business of communication. Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s definition of communication above, it is important to grasp that communication involves both a process and an exchange. If we call CQ on HF or announce our callsign on a local repeater and we do not get a response, we are not communicating. All parties involved in communication require an agreed process and a common language (symbols/signs/behavior) in order for the exchange to be successful. Take out any element of process, exchange, or the system of language and we are left with no communication.

The PRA, as a membership driven organization, is not exempt from ensuring that communication happens with a regular cadence. What if we simply did not announce our special events or monthly meetings? What if committees did not regularly meet or have an agreed process to exchange information on their activities or progress on projects? Frankly, confusion and frustration sets in because assumptions and guessing-games of intent would dominate. Just like getting on the air, communication requires the process to which the exchange between individual(s) are actually executed in order to be successful.

One of the beautiful characteristics of the PRA membership is that we are diverse group from a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and professional experiences. Some members are in college, some members are retired; some are executives, some are programmers, while others are doctors and lawyers. Some are young and others are young at heart. What is at the core of this wide range of backgrounds and experiences is the common desire for consistent communication from the PRA as a organization, and from our fellow members and hams when we are on the air or meeting in committees, or planning special events. At the same time, too, as a member-driven organization, when we feel there is a lack of understanding or a of feeling “out of the loop,” may we have the bravery to step up, speak up, and ask for that clarity so that the communication process ensures that a 5NN or 59+20db exchange report happens.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

To those not familiar with Amateur radio, the service can be a complicated mix of technology and jargon. Too often, when people ask ham radio operators what that (or these) radios are all about, we provide an information dump and try to share every tidbit of information we can in that short window of opportunity to engage our audience. There is a beauty in the way people can make the complex simple. I had many of educators that were masters at that skill. All too often, they would remind me to not try and make the simple complicated, but make the complicated simple. As skilled ambassadors to the amateur radio service, it is important for us to not only share out time, talent, and treasures, but we should also share our knowledge of amateur radio in a way that brings simplicity to our very technical arena.

Professionally, one of my favorite exercises is the practice of an elevator speech. At its core, an elevator speech is typically used in career development where you provide a very brief (typically 30-seconds) way to introduce yourself, give insight (not an overview) of your career and what you are looking for that is in common with your audience. For those not familiar with elevator speeches, think of having a conversation in a typical elevator ride…you typically have less than 30-seconds. The intent is to stimulate interest, transition that interest, and share a vision. Recently, I had the opportunity to practice an elevator speech through a Workforce Commission Board of Directors event where I had 30-seconds to explain what the Workforce Commission was, who was involved, and what we do as a group of professional volunteers. After a few minutes of coaching, this room full of Executives were able to showcase and roleplay their talents in adlibbing their elevator speech.

At the conclusion of the event, as I was beginning my drive home, I powered on my mobile radio for a typical drivetime QSO. As I powered the radio, it dawned on me; do amateur radio operators have an elevator speech to briefly describe amateur radio that is stimulating, interesting, and casts a vision? What about when people see you with your Parker Radio Association shirt and ask, “what is the PRA?” Are our answers long, drawn out, and full of technological jargon? Or, is our response short, yet stimulating, that provides interest and a vision?

As my wonderful teachers of years gone by guided me in not making the simple complicated, so too do we as amateur radio operators need to embrace simplicity in our explanations. As technology advances, amateur radio will become increasingly more technical, which is exciting. Ambassadors to amateur radio will not only embrace these technological advancements, but will be able to provide basic and simple responses, to those unfamiliar with the service, that remains stimulating, interesting and casts a vision.

As I practiced my concept of an amateur radio elevator speech with Mrs. SRK, she told me, “honey, that sounds amazing and very, very interesting, but you’re still a nerd.” The good news is that I was able to stimulate some interest, transition that interest, but I did not quite share a common vision. That is OK, because it gives me something to work towards improving.

What is your amateur radio elevator speech? What does your PRA elevator speech sound like?

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

In 1928, Paul M. Segal, W9EEA wrote The Amateur’s Code. Through the test of time, Segal’s six elements of what the Radio Amateur is remains a great reminder to what each ham needs to be. Whether you are new to amateur radio or you have been licensed for a few decades, this nearly 100 year old piece is not only a classic piece of amateur radio insight, but its principles resonate today. When we look around at the membership of the PRA, it is obvious that not only do we play radio, have fun and keep the squelch loose, but we live out Segal’s six elements daily.

From Segal’s The Amateur Code, we learn that “The Radio Amateur is:

CONSIDERATE…never knowingly operating in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL…offering loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE…with knowledge abreast of science, a well built and efficient station, and operation beyond reproach.

FRIENDLY…with slow and patient operation when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, co-operation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED…Radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC…with station and skill always ready for service to country and community.”

As I have reread Segal’s passage many times over the last 30-years of my amateur radio journey, at least one of these elements becomes a good reminder, from time to time, what amateur radio is all about. I know that when I am frustrated in learning a new mode, or my SWR readings are not cooperating, or the RF noise is blanketing a DX pileup, or I am struggling programming a new radio; Segal’s basics bring me back to center. What is most inspiring to me is watching these words become action with the PRA. Simply watch (or better yet, participate!) in the various monthly activities we have going. Member or non-member, we want you to not only be a part of our organization, but we are ready to meet you where you are in your amateur radio journey.

As we embark on the second half of 2022, we look forward to continuing to give of our time, talent, and treasures as individual radio amateurs and as a collective group of passionate radio hams that are considerate, loyal, progressive, friendly, balanced and patriotic.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

As we hit the month of June, it is hard to fathom that we are already in the sixth month of 2022 and the halfway point of the year. For amateur radio operators, this month is typically filled with anticipation of one of the most fun operating events, ARRL Field Day. For those familiar with Field Day with the PRA, you know the event is filled with lots of learning, fun activities, and lots of laughs. What many do not know is the amount of planning that goes into such an event. Field Day simply doesn’t just happen where the radios arrive and antennas are set. Coordination and teamwork, like any organization, remains paramount to a successful event and the way things are coming together for our 2022 Field Day, those familiar and unfamiliar with Field Day are in for a treat.

Often, we talk about the giving of our time, talent and treasures within the PRA. This year, like every previous Field Day, we have an amazing Field Day Chair, Dana-NN0G. Dana has been working tirelessly behind the scenes for the last several months in coordinating everything from radios and antennas to coax and cooking…parking spots and tent locations, computer logging, operating schedules, batteries, solar…almost an endless list of checks and ‘must-dos’ that equate to an amazing Field Day. Dana has shown that to pull off a great event not only takes careful coordination, but a collective effort of those that pitch in to help where they can. Amazing things happen when a collective group offers their time, talent and treasures towards a common goal. We are fortunate to have great members like Dana-NN0G that not only coordinate great events, but are true ambassadors to the amateur radio service. Thank you, Dana and here’s to a great Field Day!

Speaking of ambassadorship, Field Day typically has an equal amount of draw from family members and guests and may not be totally familiar with what is happening. All of us have a duty and obligation to the amateur radio service and the PRA to be stewards and ambassadors. First impressions last forever and can make or break someone’s curiosity into amateur radio. For me, if my first experience in amateur radio was not positive, I would have avoided it and moved on to something else. That holds true as amateur radio operators and acting as ambassadors. To promote the growth and appeal to amateur radio, particularly in our youth, our words and actions go a long way to developing and building our next generation of amateur radio operators. Field Day provides such a unique opportunity to not only demonstrate our technology, but gives our guests an opportunity to operate and make their first contact. Remember the first contact you made and how getting on-the-air may have given you some butterflies in your stomach? You can be the catalyst to launch a passion in our next amateur radio operator simply by being a solid ambassador and overall decent human being.

If this is your first Field Day, or maybe it’s your 8th with the PRA, may it be filled with “Having Fun, Playing Radio, and Keeping the Squelch Loose.”

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

Over the last decade, I have been amazed at the number of new licensees to amateur radio. To date, there are over 776,000 licensed ham radio operators in the United States and approximately 3,000,000 worldwide. No doubt, by the numbers, the amateur radio service is strong. In Colorado, we are just shy of 20,000 licensed amateur radio operators. What is equally exciting behind the numbers is that with over 250 members, the PRA has roughly 1.25% of Colorado hams as members; not too shabby for an 8-year old group. What is also noticeable is that with 250 members, we get roughly 10% participating in nets and being active on our repeaters. Although not discouraged or disappointed in the numbers, I reflect back on when I was first licensed and what it took for me to break the threshold of feeling comfortable being on the local repeater routinely. Breaking that barrier took time, talent and treasures from a lot of fellow ham radio operators.

The buffet of options for newly licensed hams is something that I do not envy. When I was licensed in 1992, handheld digital modes like DMR, DStar, and Fusion were non-existent options. If you wanted a handheld radio, you operated analog. At that time, handhelds were mostly single band, but the emergence of dual band radio was slowly becoming more popular. Even with a dual band radio, analog was the only option. The great pains of programming radios without software was relatively simple with offsets and CTCSS codes being the only true elements needed to program your radio successfully. I lived for getting the hand-me-down of the ARRL repeater book from my Elmers to make sure I had my radio programmed with as much up-to-date information as possible. Yes, this was before the internet and readily available repeater directories online.

Fast forward to today and the plethora of handheld radio options are enough to make your head spin. Dual band, Tri-band, dual mode, analog/digital, DMR, Fusion, P25, D-Star. Now, add the programming logics of each that are independent by each mode and I can begin to see where today’s newest hams face a much steeper learning curve than what I faced 30-years ago. This, too, may also represent a barrier of getting on the air for the newest hams. With that, I am proud of the PRA membership that have stepped up to help new hams as an Elmer (a term used for those that help teach amateur radio). The monthly PRA Elmer Nights are a great venue for the newly licensed or returning ham to get up-to-speed and get questions answered on how to do certain things such as which radio is a good starter handheld, what programming software to use, what is a repeater, to name a few. This is also a great venue on how to make your first contact and how to check-in on a net. For many, checking in on a net is as simple as tying your shoes, but remember learning to tie your shoes? I remember the patience that both my parents provided during that learning curve. They guided me with patience, practice and mentoring to help me master the art of a sustainable shoelace tied well. The same premise and opportunity exists in amateur radio.

As outside activities are picking up and we are on the month-eve of our capstone event for the year, ARRL Field Day, may we have the courage to ask for help and guidance and may we also have the courage to share our time, talent, and treasures with our fellow amateur radio operators. Breaking those barriers generate benefits far beyond what we can see at that moment.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

Coming up on my 30th ham radio licensing anniversary, I remain amazed at how dramatically technology has changed in some aspects, and remains the same in others. There is equal fascination in the technological advancement of computer interfacing, digital modes, internet linking and software defined radios (SDR) with one of the first of communication methods in morse code (which is gaining additional popularity year after year). Having an appreciation of the basics of radio operating with the pursuit of technological advancement is what make amateur radio great. No doubt, for the new amateur radio operator, there are a plethora of options.

Having such a wide range of options can be overwhelming, even for the 30-year ham veteran. As amateur radio is both a service and a hobby, the hobbyist side of me wants to try it all and try it all right away. However, I quickly realize that I spin my wheels, both from an appreciation standpoint and a financial standpoint. Taking my time in wanting to try something new has helped me gain not only a better appreciation for the technology, but has allowed me to truly understand and master how it all works. No matter if you are programming your first analog radio, learning (or continually re-learning) morse code, or tinkering with a Raspberry Pi SDR receiver, trying to do it all at once can get frustrating quickly. A colleague of mine that was in the military taught me some sage advice, “sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.” How true those words are when we look at all that is available within amateur radio.

One key aspect behind all this learning is having the bravery of asking for help. At our fingertips, we have wonderful resources like YouTube that provide instructional videos. However, learning in-person and having that one/one contact takes learning to another level, both for the instructor, and the learner. No matter if you are licensed for 3-months or 30-years, asking for help should be an easy and non-embarrassing process. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing, “you know, that was on the Technician exam,” when someone asks for help. As our fellow sisters and brothers in amateur radio ask for our insight and guidance, it is a special opportunity to exhaust and showcase our unique time, talent, and treasures. That simple ask of assistance may make or break someone’s future in amateur radio. I know that I never want to be the curmudgeon that destroys someone’s interest because I did not help them when asked.

As our activities pick up with our upcoming Field Day, portable operation outings, and Wings-Over-The-Rockies, may we continue to be aware of our influence. May we error on the side of slowing down to speed up someone’s learning and appreciation of amateur radio. Being cognitively aware that we have the ability to wonderfully share our time, talent and treasures will only continue to promote the amateur radio service in such a way that people say, “I want to do that.”

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

One of the great aspects of amateur radio is the outreach. Like any mission, creating and executing to an outreach takes individual and collective time, talent and treasures. When you ask longtime amateur radio operators about outreach, many will mention missions like ARES (and all it encompasses), Volunteer Examiner Testing, or community events like parades, bicycle events or Scouting showcases. Each of these are excellent examples of the amateur radio service in action and are absolutely valuable to our communities and outreach. As we continually face opportunities to introduce amateur radio, having a couple amateur radio ‘elevator speeches’ is important to capture interest because one message does not fit all.

Professionally, I am fortunate enough to oversee four manufacturing teams in three states with approximately 150 direct and indirect reports in total. In my walks and interactions with individual employees, if I delivered the same exact wording in every interaction, my message would be stale. I have to treat each individual as such and gain a sense of what excites them about their role and what interests they have outside of our company. Getting that insight, for each individual, gives opportunity to interlace aspects of the company needs and mission with their talents. Individualizing and recognizing talents with our manufacturing vision allows people to use their creativity. When creativity is unlocked in a safe environment where people are given ‘permission to play,’ and permission to fail, curiosity and enthusiasm builds.

If you have attended any PRA presentation at a monthly meeting or Elmer Night, nearly every presenter will happily admit their project shortcomings, failures, and lessons learned. I am also blown away at how our presenters capture the entire audience, not just the 30+ year enthusiast that can solder in the dark and in their sleep. Our presenters capture the attention of not only the 30+ year enthusiast down to those that never touched a radio, but are curious about this amateur radio thing.

Knowing our future audience is important. Many new licensees dive into amateur radio for emergency communication opportunities. That serves a valuable service in all of our communities. Grade school youth dive into amateur radio typically through encouragement from a family member or teacher that got them hooked. However, there is another key young adult target age range (say 18-30) that may be seeking more from their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs in high school and college. As my children are in this age range, they come at this world completely differently than I did. They know raspberry pi’s, 3D Printers and robotics (Google Search the Makers Movement), where I knew 5.25″ boot discs. They are very hands on with technology, programming and coding. Ever see a 18 year old without a cell phone?

Speaking of coding, my oldest daughter, a Clinical Psychology major, sent me a text screenshot of a coding assignment that she was working on for one of her electives. When I asked her to describe it to me and how she liked it, she said walked me through her assignment and said it was “cool and very systematic.” It looked like a foreign language to me, but it dawned on me…this is how the amateur radio service can interlace interests in these young adults. When I told her about how amateur radio pulls similar type coding data into raspberry pi builds for worldwide communications, my daughter said, “next time I’m home, please show me.” Now, Dad the ham radio nerd may actually become ‘cool’ again.

Amateur radio will never be a one-size fits all service/hobby. If it ever was, I would not any part of it. However, as we learn what people like about amateur radio or what their initial interests of amateur radio may be, we can cater our message to our next individual licensed operator.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

As virtually all athletes or sports fans will tell you, getting an early lead is important. Going into 2022, we welcomed several newly elected Board members and appointed a Board Chair. Usually, with a new group, it takes some time for things to get into motion and the team to synchronize. If there is any one early observation, the leadership of the PRA has hit the ground running and has our team out to an early lead in 2022. Like any goal, getting off to a good start is important; getting off to a great start sets the stage for some amazing accomplishments along this year’s journey.

In reflecting on the PRA’s growth in membership during the pandemic, we attempted to pinpoint what made the most impact to drive our membership growth. Very quickly, it became abundantly clear that by having virtual meetings that were directly tied to YouTube Live gave us an edge. What was also evident was that we realized the right people were in the right positions to be bold enough share a vision of bringing our meetings online easily, while looking like we had our act together. When vision is combined with passion and a little bit of research great things happen. Our CTO, Jeff-AB0L shared his vision of bringing our meetings onto YouTube easily, professionally, and at minimal cost. Through his research and consultation with other members that had some familiarity with the equipment he researched, the decision was easy and the execution looked flawless. Although, if you ask Jeff, he will say it was far from flawless, but in my opinion, he made it look not only effortless behind the camera and at the controls, but the finished product was pure quality.

What is also important is the impact and ask for participation in the PRA’s activities. At the forefront, the PRA belongs to its members and it is the members that drive decisions in the organization. Even though we have a Board and Officers, their respective positions are to serve the members while guiding and guarding the organization. Last month, we actively pursued Committee Chairs to lead smaller groups to drive impact in areas of importance; New Members & Elmering, Repeaters, Website, Special Events, and Field Day. Members that are passionate about these particular areas were quick to jump at the opportunity to lead these initiatives. It goes without saying that by giving back, we receive so much in return. Thank you to those that took the chance at leading a committee – you are an tremendous asset to the PRA.

Last, but most importantly, a healthy percentage of our members are getting plugged into one or more committees. If you are passionate about one of these aspects of amateur radio, we need your time, talent and treasures. Maybe you want to learn more about what these committees focus upon…there is no better way to learn and get plugged in than participating in something new. A collection of small efforts quickly add up to great momentum and amazing outcomes. Thank you to those members that have joined a committee early in the year. By the way, it is never too early to join a committee.

Giving our our time, talent and treasures brings us so much in return. As a group that is passionate about amateur radio, any amount given of your time and talent typically leads to treasure for others. If you want to see this first hand, check out the amazing presentations given by Brad-AB4BA. If you want to see time and talent become treasures, come to an Elmer Night. If you want to see more of this first hand, come and participate in one of our committee events. You never know the impact you can have on yourself and new or future amateur radio operators by the simple acts of sharing our own time, talent and treasures. We are off to a great start and early lead in 2022…amazing accomplishments are happening.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association

As we embark on a New Year, we often find ourselves setting many goals. Some of these goals are financially focused, others are focused on personal health, while other goals revolve around how we interact and treat other people in our thoughts, words and deeds. For me, there are countless resolutions that fit many of these categories as it is important that we take the time to do some self inventory and pinpoint what aspect(s) of our lives we want to improve. For most of us, we are given about 30,000 days on this earth and it is important to realize that your gift of time is unique because you are the only one who can give it.

From an amateur radio standpoint, I find myself consistently wanting to improve my CW copy speed. Now, this has been a resolution of mine for a few years now. As I look back at my attempts to improve, one thing is common; I was not consistent in the Time that I spent learning, studying and practicing. The element of Time…how precious it is, even when we want to give more towards our own improvement. I look at amateur radio as a type of pilgrimage; each day, each week, each month and each year, I need to be progressive on our pilgrimage and we cannot do this unless we give some time. Not only for ourselves, but assisting individuals and organizations is another way to share our gift of Time. If you have never attended a PRA meeting or Elmer Night, this is the quickest way to see your fellow ham radio operators sharing their Time to assist others and build upon our wonderful organization.

All of us have special Talents or gifts. These Talents and gifts are not given to us just for our own use, but are given to us for the enrichment of the lives of others. If you have a Talent for soldering, have you ever shown someone how to solder and watch them as they successfully solder a resistor, J-Pole, or PL-259? The magic of learning begins with the magic of teaching and teaching comes from a mastery of unique gifts that we are given. Sharing your Talents builds common good and through this opportunity of common good, friendships develop. Putting ourselves at the service of others makes us good stewards to the amateur radio service.

Sharing our gifts of Treasure, we do make the most of our material possessions. As an example, take a look at the PRA repeaters that have gone up in the last year. Our repeater system is an example of material possessions (like equipment and money) being put to use. Now, it takes more than just Treasure to get repeaters on the air. Yes, it takes time and talent to bring all three elements together. The PRA also shares its Treasures of three loaner HF rigs for our members. These HF rigs are some of the latest in the market and give our members the opportunity to not only get on the air, but to put our Treasures to use. Your gift of treasure is a direct gift that only you can give. I can attest that when I give to the PRA, I get so much more in return.

Time, talent and treasures are what make the PRA special. The collective efforts of individuals that are fanatical about amateur radio showcase our abilities and demonstrate the potential that others may not necessarily see in themselves. What time, talent and treasures do you plan to share with your fellow amateur radio community? Maybe a presentation or giving a new member a simple welcome and note of encouragement…it does not take something radical or revolutionary to have an impact, particularly when we freely share our Time, Talent, and Treasures to make amateur radio better today than it was yesterday.

73,
Dan – N2SRK
President
Parker Radio Association