Hammies – the brain child of Noel Hammond and his merry men – is a program designed to get kids involved with the hobby.
Having a Scouting background, I decided to put what I know about kids, training kids, and camping into one action packed event. We put together a program covering all the material and included some practical activities like electronics and antenna building, and some fun activities like a trip to the repeaters, the nearby narrow guage railway bridge and the mandatory game of soccer. I got my XYL Bev to make a menu for the camp and we confirmed with “Tannie Muntie” of the Voortrekkers for the venue. It was coming together nicely now.
Dennis Green (ZS4BS) punted the Boot Camp in the Radio ZS magazine, Chris Scarr punted it in the club magazine – QSX. We even had it mentioned on the SARL and PEARS bulletins. This resulted in only one enquiry – from Kwa Zulu Natal!
And so it came to pass that the Hammies EC club went camping. Graydon, Michael, Ashton, and Dakota – and some staff (Dave, Andrew, Bev, Juanita) all attended.
The camp started off on teh Thursday evening with supper and then an introduction to ham radio and how QSOs work. Lights ouot on the first noght in camp is a guideline – everyone knows that!
Friday morning we saw Andrew and Juanita at work and Dave and Bev looking after the things at base camp. We covered more theory and walked to the bridge – a fun outting where we all spoke in “radio ham lingo” – call signs without radios 🙂
Friday evening was quite a hilight for the kids – Andrew Gray (East Cape Hamnet Director) did the electronics base with them. This included starting off with a telephone! A long piece of twinflex between two “telephone speakers”. This beats a string and two tin cans! After that it was onto series and parallel circuits and then onto building an AM receiver!
Saturday was more practical – as much as we could with the rainy weather – but we got through how to setup a station. Andrew showed them how tocheck SWR with a dual needle meter, and the rest they pretty much already knew. In the afternoon they all did their HF assessments – under my eye with Andrew on the other side of the mike. All passed with flying colours!
Saturday evening was “chill time” – well that and two “practice exams” 🙂
Sunday was breakfast, bulletin, soccer,and then the real deal – the ICASA approved exam.
Running through the exam afterwards I feel confident that they all passed. We headed off homeward stopping in at the Falcon Rock for a milkshake.
Now we wait – the ICASA strike started teh following day and is now into its second week. Meantime, the Hammies and I wait and wait.