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Amateur Radio Mentoring Project

Amateur Radio Newsline Announces creation of Roy Neal, K6DUE Amateur Radio Mentoring Project January 15, 2004 (Los Angeles, California)  The Amateur Radio Newsline™ Inc., a Federally chartered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation has today announced the creation of the "Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project."  This is a program designed to take newly licensed radio amateurs and place them one-on-one with veteran hams so that they may learn the traditions and operating skills that no classroom or home-study environment can teach.

Roy Neal, K6DUE, was a driving force within the structure of Amateur Radio Newsline.  He passed away on Friday, August 15, 2003 from complications arising from heart valve replacement surgery a few days earlier.

In addition to serving as Amateur Radio Newsline's Vice President, he was also our teacher, advisor and friend.  Those of us who had the honor of knowing Roy were keenly aware of his willingness to help anyone better themselves.  He was always willing to share his lifetime of knowledge in many areas including science, space exploration and Amateur Radio.  With this in mind the Amateur Radio Newsline Board of Directors at its annual meeting on December 13, 2003 voted unanimously to honor Roy's memory by creating a program to carry on his vision.

What we have named "The Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project" is loosely based on a similar program created by Broadway performer Ann Reinking.  Reinking was a student of and performer with the legendary choreographer/director Bob Fosse.  She is now carrying on the "mentoring" tradition in the art of dance through her own educational foundation,  the Broadway Theater Project. This is a Florida based training program connecting students with seasoned theater professionals.  If we may quote Ms. Reinking:

"Its sort of an un-written law or rule in the world of dance that you pass on what you know.  This particular craft is at its best when its passed from one person's hands to the next."

Now, if  you think about it, what Ann Reinking says about "dance" applies equally to our world of Amateur Radio.  Maybe more so, because, for decades the knowledge and tradition of our hobby/service was passed down from seasoned operators to newcomers, one to one. Unfortunately, in the ham radio of today, this art of mentoring that we call "Elmering" seems to be disappearing.  It is being replaced by "weekend cram class training" and/or the more tedious world of "home study."  Both provide lots of technologically trained hams, but they do not turn out skilled operators or hams who really appreciate the art of amateur radio. Only one-on-one "mentoring" or "Elmering" can do that.

"The Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project" is to be a similarly structured program that fosters those one-on-one relationships that go well beyond the knowledge necessary to pass a ham radio exam. It will put an emphasis on our traditional ham radio values by placing new hams into contact with skilled operators who are willing to teach them such radio art-forms as how to work DX, or run a contest, build and operate a repeater, talk by bouncing signals off the moon, kit construction and anything else that makes a ham a ham. In essence, to pass along the living traditions that make ham radio what it is to all of us old timers.

To make this work, two groups of hams are needed.  First we need skilled operators who are willing to donate time to assist those in need of training.  We also need new hams to come forward and say: "I want to learn more."  We will do our part by matching the mentors to those in need of Elmering.

To get the project underway we have asked Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB, to create the necessary databases and begin the process of matching volunteer mentors to those wishing instruction.  We are also asking both groups to send us an e-mail at mentor@arnewsline.org.  In your note please state if you are offering to be a mentor or are in need of training.  Please include your name, call, address, e-mail address with zipcode, phone number, best time of day to call and any other pertinent information.

It is our hope that the nation's Amateur Radio community will join with us to make "The Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project" a part of the traditions of the hobby, and that it will become a lasting memorial to the radio amateur who gave so much of his life to making Amateur Radio the best hobby and service in the universe.

Some Background on the Creation of the
Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project

By Alan Kaul, W6RCL

Amateur Radio Newsline™ is paying tribute its late vice president, Roy Neal, K6DUE, by naming an ongoing post-licensing educational program in his honor.  Roy became a silent key last August after surgery.  He was 82. 

“The Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project”
 is designed to pair new hams (often called “newbies”) with veteran amateurs in hopes that some of the established hams operator skills can be passed down to new generations.  There is a long tradition of mentoring, often called “Elmering”, in amateur radio.  No one knows the origin of the term, but the first teacher might well have been named “Elmer”.

Amateur Radio is a tremendously complex arena”, said Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, the Executive Producer of Amateur Radio Newsline.  "
We have licensed hams who are truly experts in numerous fields ranging from bouncing radio signals off the moon, to writing complicated software which enables new forms of two-way communication.  We want to take advantage of that.”

 

While Amateur Radio includes world-class experts in a number of specialties, there are literally thousands of hams who have operating skills also worthy of passing on. For example, contesting is very popular, said Pasternak.  Yet it is a tough nut to crack for a beginner.  “Contesting is also intimidating.  Good contest operators often are able to contact four stations per minute for hours at a time.  The great ones can do even better. How they are able to do that is a skill that should be passed on through mentoring”, Pasternak said.

Two large pools of Amateurs are needed to make mentoring work.  First, there must be a group of volunteers who have a skill and are willing to share their time.  The second group is made up of the large number of beginners who want to learn. Newsline is seeking applicants for both groups, said Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB, who agreed to help set up databases and to begin the process of matching mentors with beginners.“Send us an e-mail if you’d like to be a member of either group”, said Eisenberg.   “The mentoring address is mentor@arnewsline.org  Tell us your name, call letters, address with zipcode, phone number, when we can call.” 

 We also need to know, said Pasternak, if you need mentoring or if you are able to mentor others.  And if you are, what is your area of expertise.  “If you’ve been a ham for a few years, you can probably be a mentor at something.  We need volunteers in every area ñ from just knowing how to operate a rig and conduct a QSO, to designing and building antennas and equipment, and virtually everything in between”, added Pasternak.

“Mentors might be matched by zipcode and be in the same town”, said Eisenberg.   “Or they might be half-way around the world from each other and communicate by e-mail.  Either way I think we can make it work.”

“The project’s namesake, Roy Neal, K6DUE, was himself a mentor.  He helped strengthen Newsline and mentored me to become a better writer and producer,” said Pasternak.  “The least Newsline and I can do is pay back Roy’s memory with this project.”

Amateur Radio Newsline is a 501 (c)(3) federally-designated charity.  Contributions to Newsline and the Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project are tax deductible.   Details on how to contribute are available by e-mail from newsline@arnewsline.org 


Quarter Century Wireless Association To Join Amateur Radio Newsline™
In Sponsorship Of The
Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Program®

Los Angeles, CA. (May 7, 2007): In a joint statement issued today the leadership of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc. (QCWA) and Amateur Radio Newsline™, Inc. (ARNewsline™) have announced that QCWA has become a co-sponsor of the Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Program®. This is a post-licensing educational service created by ARNewsline™ in January 2004 and designed to pair new hams with veteran amateurs in hopes that some of the established ham operator skills can be passed down to new generations.

 The program is loosely based on a similar program created by Broadway choreographer/performer Ann Reinking through her own educational foundation, the Broadway Theater Project. This is a Florida based training program connecting students with seasoned theater professionals.  If we may quote Ms. Reinking:

"Its sort of an un-written law or rule in the world of dance that you pass on what you know.  This particular craft is at its best when its passed from one person's hands to the next."

According to ARNewsline™ Executive Producer Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, what Ann Reinking says about "dance" applies equally to our world of Amateur Radio.  Maybe more so, because, for decades the knowledge and tradition of our hobby/service was passed down from seasoned operators to newcomers, one on one.

"Amateur Radio is a tremendously complex arena", says Pasternak. "We have licensed hams who are truly experts in numerous fields ranging from bouncing radio signals off the moon, to writing complicated software which enables new forms of two-way communication.  We want to take advantage of that talent pool to help educate the next generation of operators, and generations to follow."

The success of the program has been such that the number of people seeking post licensing assistance has risen far faster than the number of available mentors. This has meant long delays for some who have placed requests. The addition of the member base of the QCWA makes available close to 10,000 highly skilled radio amateurs as potential mentors, each with a minimum of twenty-five years of experience in the hobby.

 "This is a good deal for all of Amateur Radio," says QCWA President John B. Johnston, W3BE.

Johnston, a retired career FCC employee and Dayton Radio Amateur of the Year award winner believes that it is important to keep ham radio traditions alive:

"We in the QCWA are the elder statesmen and stateswomen of Amateur Radio. We are the people who have spent a sizeable chunk of our lives learning the artistry that goes with being a radio amateur. We know how a radio works. We know how an antenna works. Most of all we know that Amateur Radio can only survive if it passes its combined knowledge on to the next generation of radio amateurs. By becoming a co-sponsor of the Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Program® we place the QCWA in the enviable position of being the vehicle to hand off the combined knowledge and traditions of our members to those new hams who will carry this knowledge on."

Under the agreement, ARNewsline™ will continue to solicit those looking for assistance and maintain the database that matches those desiring assistance with a mentor willing to assist. Willing members of the QCWA will be asked to register by e-mail to mentor@arnewsline.org stating their name, call, location, contact information and area of expertise. As requests for assistance are received the person asking will be referred to the person closest to him/her who holds the qualifications and knowledge to assist. John Johnston believes this to be a program that all in QCWA should be a part of:

"This is a chance for each of us to leave our own personal legacy within ham radio. If we do so, we assure the service of another generation of skilled and caring operators who will be a true asset to the service. I urge all of you to sign on."

His words are echoed by ARNewsline’s™ Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF. He says that while Amateur Radio includes world-class experts in a number of specialties, there are literally thousands of hams who have operating skills also worthy of passing on. For example, contesting is very popular, said Pasternak.  Yet it is a tough nut to crack for a beginner.

"Contesting is also intimidating.  Good contest operators often are able to contact four stations per minute for hours at a time.  The great ones can do even better. How they are able to do that is a skill that should be passed on through mentoring", Pasternak said.

Two large pools of Amateurs are needed to make mentoring work.  First, there must be a group of volunteers who have a skill and are willing to share their time.  The second group is made up of the large number of beginners who want to learn.

Newsline and QCWA are now seeking applicants for both groups, said Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB, who oversees the databases: "Send us an e-mail if you’d like to be a member of either group", said Eisenberg. m"The mentoring address is mentor@arnewsline.org  Tell us your name, call letters, address with zipcode, phone number, when we can call."

"The project’s namesake, Roy Neal, K6DUE, was himself a mentor.  He helped strengthen ARNewsline™ and mentored me to become a better writer and producer," said Pasternak.  "The program is a lasting tribute to Roy’s efforts on behalf of all radio amateurs."

Amateur Radio Newsline Inc. and the Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc. are both 501 (c)(3) federally-designated not-for profit corporations.  Contributions to the QCWA, and/or ARnewsline™ are tax deductible.