THE SPARK GAP
A monthly publication of the Meridian
Amateur Radio Club December 2015
Next MARC Business Meeting
There will be NO business meeting on the 1st Saturday this month. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship. The business meeting will be held on December 12th immediately following dinner. See details below.
Isaiah 7:14 / Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, And shall call His name Immanuel (NKJV)
Devotional by John Blow (Decemvber 2014)
This season has been rightfully referred to as the Holiest Season. We sometimes get caught up in the decorations, parties, and social activities that we do not realize the value of the season. This is not a new season, or a new reason for socializing. When we think of how Christmas, the birth of Christ, was described to us in the Bible, we usually think of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and justly so.
Jesus’ birth was foretold before the New Testament. Notice our Text is from the Old Testament. Years in advance the prophet told of Jesus’ birth. I am sure all who heard this prophesy were stunned, some maybe doubtful that it would come to pass. Foretelling of the birth of a Savior so far in advance should tell us that God does nothing by chance. He wanted His people to know.
As Ahaz is given the instructions and information pertaining to the future, he was obviously concerned and in doubt. God sent Isaiah to meet Ahaz and tell him, “Take heed, and be quiet: fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.” Yes, Ahaz had plenty to be concerned about. In verse 11 the Lord spoke to Ahaz saying, “Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; Ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”
Ahaz must have trusted the message that God had sent him because he said in verse 12, “I will not ask, neither will I temp the Lord.” Then in verse 13, he cautions the House of David by saying, “Hear ye now, O house of David; It is a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?”
Ahaz surely found comfort in the prophesy contained in our text. This chapter contains several prophesies, but this is the most important one. God may have chosen Isaiah to deliver the message to Ahaz because Ahaz would accept Isaiah and trust him to be the true deliverer of such a comforting message.
Keep in mind the exact sign the Lord will give, “Behold (see) the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Now check out the Gospels as God tells Mary she is chosen to give birth to the Savior. She and Joseph are also told the child is to be named Immanuel. God is consistant. God does not change. God knew Jesus was going to suffer for all the sins this world can come up with, but His blood which was shed would pay the penalty for all these sins. The exact preparations for the birth of our Savior left nothing to chance. God made sure, through His angels, that Mary and Joseph were ready for the most important birth in the history of mankind. He provided the courage and strength to face the world and be the selected parents of our Savior, THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER. And, it’s free to us.
Have a great month and may God continue to richly bless us all.
Come join us at 4 p.m. on December 12th at 4 p.m. at Queen City Truck Stop for our annual Christmas dinner.
Kids are Not the Future of Ham Radio
By Bob Witte, K0NR
You’ve heard it a million times: our kids are the future. That statement gets applied to almost everything, including amateur radio. How can you argue with an obvious fact like that?
But I am starting to think it is incorrect.
We’ve had really good success on creating new hams of all ages in our Technician License Class (at the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association). We’ve been doing this for a while now and I think I am seeing a pattern emerge. We’ve been able to attract middle schoolers to the class and help them get their ham radio license. I’ve talked to many of them on the air. They’ve helped out with public service events. They seem to have fun playing with radios.
Then this thing called high school happens. The high school phase in the US is filled with tons of stuff to do: studying, homework, AP classes, science competitions, sports, dating, movies, driving and after school jobs. Way too much stuff. Ham radio starts to take a backseat to these normal high school activities. Then we don’t see the kids at the radio club meetings or chatting on the local repeater because they are busy doing other things. Have we lost them forever? Not sure.
High school is often followed by college which has its own set of challenges: a totally new environment, away from home, a new set of people, new studies, etc. There might be a ham radio club on campus but maybe not. If a kid is not off to college they are (hopefully) out doing something to establish themselves in this world. Eventually they emerge on the other side, get a job, get themselves established, sometimes with a spouse and maybe a kid or two. By this time they are 25 to 30 years old, depending on the individual.
I recently posted about the demographics of our students in the Tech License Class (http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/2015/10/where-are-the- new-technicians-coming-from/). The chart below shows the age distribution of our students from our most recent class. Hmmm, clearly most of our students are 30 or older. (Sorry, we have not collected age data with finer resolution.) This particular class is light on the under 18 crowd… sometimes we have a clump of kids in the mix.
For whatever reason, it seems that most people find themselves in a situation as an adult that causes them to say “I want to get my ham radio license.” When asked why they want to get their ham license, the top response is always emergency/disaster communications, followed by backcountry communications, pursuing electronics as a hobby and learning about radio communications. I suspect that starting to be established in a community and having some disposable income also play a role.
My hypothesis is that the most effective way of growing a vibrant ham radio community is to target adults ages 25 to 40.
This age range is more equipped and ready to be ham radio operators and are still young enough that they will be around for a while. Of course, we still want to work with all age groups, including kids and retirees. We’ve all seen very young hams get the bug for ham radio early and carry it throughout their life. And we also see plenty of older folks get interested in the hobby as they approach or enter retirement. We don’t want to miss out on either of those groups.
So that’s my read on the situation. I’ve got some data to support my theory but I can’t really prove it. What do you think? What are you seeing in your ham radio community?
Bob Witte, K0NR, blogs about amateur radio at K0NR.Com. You can find this post at http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/2015/11/kids-not-the- future/. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Twitter: @K0NR.
Quote of the Day
Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference. - Nolan Bushnell