Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, 2012 — Days 8 and 9
I don’t think words can accurately express how incredible this weekend was. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Saturday morning started with a quick breakfast at Waffle House with Eugene before heading over to the Atlanta Hamfest. Our plans included browsing the vendors, presenting my forum, and the ham radio exam session.
I was greeting by a sign at the ticket booth announcing my 10am forum: “On Air, Online, and Eyeballs: The Social Side of Ham Radio.” My name in
lights duct tape!
We checked out the site, browsed the vendors, and then I started doing some final prep for the forum. 10am came around pretty quickly, and happily for most of that time I stayed pretty calm. I generally don’t have a problem getting up in front of an audience if I know my material, and since a lot of what I was presenting was my personal experience with ham radio, I knew it pretty well. :-)
The forum was attended by about a dozen people, which was perfect because it was just the right size group for the forum to become comfortably conversational. When you’re talking about being social, it helps if you can be social. I enjoyed everybody’s participation, and I’m happy they signed my Eyeball QSO t-shirt. Jim and Eugene tweeted during my discussion of Twitter, which felt like it made everything right with the world. Thanks, guys. I’m so grateful to Jim and Bert for inviting me to speak. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I hope the forum participants enjoyed it as much as I did.
After the forum, more browsing of vendor tables, and many instances of losing the raffle drawings, it was time for the ham radio exam session. Jim offered to let me take his place on the VE (Volunteer Examiner) team, and Dave, the VEC, kindly agreed to allow me to serve on his team. I’ve not served as a VE at such a large event before, and I must say how impressed I am at how organized everything was. Dave’s got the process down to an art, and it was a pleasure being part of it.
I was particularly excited to meet this young man, Jordan, who was there to take his Element 2. He passed the exam and is now a licensed technician class amateur radio operator with call sign KK4JRQ. Jordan is 12 years old, and one of the things he is most excited about in ham radio is being able to get his 9 year old little sister involved. He wasn’t even licensed for 60 seconds before he started talking about being an Elmer. What a fine young man and a great example for all of us. I’m proud to have his signature on my t-shirt. Jordan, thank you for giving me permission to share your story with the people who read my blog. We all wish you the best in your future. Remember that you are now part of a close-knit group of people who are here to help you along your way. Please always feel free to reach out to us. Congratulations on earning your ticket. 73 de NR4CB.
The single best moment I’ve experience as a VE to date is when I got to sign off on Eugene’s CSCE, which is the paper that officially makes him a ham. Eugene is the first friend who has been at one of the testing sessions where I’ve served as a VE. He passed Elements 2 and 3 and is licensed as a general class amateur radio operator with call sign is KK4JRP. These two pictures say it all, I think.
Jim gets all the credit for the idea to have me present a forum at the Atlanta Hamfest. Jim, thanks so much. It was a pleasure to meet you, and honor to work with you, and a blast hanging out with you. I look forward to our first QSO on the air and our next Eyeball QSO, whenever those may be.
Saturday afternoon, Eugene and I played tourist. The Georgia Aquarium was the perfect place to relax watching the fish, be entertained watching the people, and just enjoy a change of pace after such a busy morning and afternoon at the hamfest. I think we both enjoyed it there.
Dinner was at Dave and Buster’s in Marietta, where we discovered that yes, we both really are geeks. For those of you who have never been to Dave and Buster’s, they have ceiling fans connected through a circuit of pulleys. Separately we were both trying to see where the terminal points were, and there was a bit of laughter when we realized we were doing the same thing. There’s a joke in there somewhere about what happens when a mathematician and a physicist go out to dinner, but I’ll let you find that on your own and post it in the comments. :-)
Sunday we headed home to Tennessee and South Carolina. I realized after we left that we didn’t get a picture of us together, but we’ll remedy that when I’m in Charleston later in my road trip. I’m glad to have met so many great people over the weekend. Everything about the Atlanta part of my trip was absolutely perfect.
Next on the agenda: a week at Dad’s house.
Trip totals as of Day 9:
- Miles driven: 1876
- States: 10
- Logged QSOs: 47
- Ounces of good decaf: 140
- Ounces of bad decaf: 16
- Tow trucks required: 1
- Big metal chickens: 5
- Terra cotta pigs: 0
- Number of times I’ve heard “Somebodeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee That I Used To Know” by Gotye: 13
73 de NR4CB, Connie