Amateur Radio: Foundation+

Essex Ham Media LogoFoundation+ is a concept under development by Essex Ham.

Once amateurs have achieved their Foundation licence, it’s difficult to know what to do next. Common questions include:

  • What rig & aerial do I get?
  • Who do I talk to?
  • What do I do now?

Other issues include mic-shyness, fear of making mistakes, and the complexities of getting set up on-air and online. It is felt that to support new amateurs and to reduce the M6 drop-off rate, additional help and support needs to be given to the Foundation community, starting shortly after their have obtained their licence.

Foundation+ Aims:

The aim of Foundation+ is to be a modular and interactive course designed to help new radio amateurs progress after achieving their Foundation licence in the UK.

Foundation+ Structure:

Essex Ham’s proposal is that this is achieved by a mix of methods, initially weighted as follows:

  • Practical activities: 25%
  • Presentations & Demonstrations: 20%
  • Show and Tell: 15%
  • Online component: 10%
  • Questions & Answers: 10%
  • Mentoring: 10%
  • Handouts & Material: 10%

Foundation+ Material:

A mix of handouts, short presentations, guides and videos will be used to support Foundation+.

See: Getting Started Guides and Training Videos for some initial material. Further resources to me made available as the course takes shape.

Essex Ham Foundation+ Training Material
Essex Ham Foundation+ Training Material
Essex Ham Multimedia Package
Essex Ham Training Material – Added extras?
Essex Ham's Getting Started in Amateur Radio Guides
Essex Ham’s Getting Started in Amateur Radio Guides

 

Foundation+ Delivery:

This will be dependent on a number of factors, depending on how and where Foundation+ will be delivered. From the initial Foundation+ review:

  • An intense one or two day course is not likely to succeed, due to information overload. Better to drip-feed knowledge over a six to twelve month period
  • A modular approach as outlined in the Scheme Of Work should be followed, to ensure that learning is delivered in the right order (e.g Getting a Rig first – Data modes last)
  • Sessions should be informal, short and paced slowly
  • Presentations should be kept short and not structured as formal learning
  • Sessions to be delivered by enthusiastic people in their own style, not using prescribed material. Support material to be made available for use only if the tutor wishes to use it
  • Models bets likely to succeed are practical demonstrations, hands-on learning and show-and-tell
  • If a packaged version is to be delivered by a club, it should be run largely with the support of the training team to ensure continuity of learning
  • Continuous feedback from learners needs to drive the programme. Consider a feedback form for the end of each session – are learners ready to progress, and in which direction?
  • Monitoring and assessment criteria to be defined early on
Essex Ham Foundation+ Course Structure Overview
Essex Ham Foundation+ Course Structure Overview

 

Foundation+ Current Status:

The idea is currently ‘parked’ due to apparent lack of interest from amateurs in Essex, and to allow other projects to be pursued. Please contact Pete M0PSX if you’d be interested in helping to kick-start Foundation+, or are a member of a local club keen to offer a post-Foundation training and mentoring course.

 

Foundation+ History:

  • Early 2012: Foundation+ was conceived in early 2012 by members of the Essex Ham team
  • Mid 2012: The initial concept was suggested to the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society
  • Early 2013: Course plans and material was created to support the Essex Ham Foundation Training material
  • Mid 2013: The idea was pitched to a second club in Essex, the Thames Amateur Radio Group
  • Late 2013: TARG announced an alternative “Foundation Plus” (“Plus” not “+”), based on the original concept, but using a different delivery format. This was to be TARG-branded and they opted to go ahead without help, support or promotion from Essex Ham. At the time of writing, TARG has yet to deliver this. As a result of TARG’s decision to “adopt” the name ‘Foundation Plus’, there was some discussion of a namechange of the Essex Ham concept to “Foundation Extra”. Update: Thames ARG subsequently delivered a Foundation Follow-up day in early 2014
  • Dec 2013: At the request of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society, a pitch to deliver a variant of the original concept, more suited to the CARS demographic, was made
  • Jan 2014: CARS launches a CARS-branded “Skills Workshop” aimed at helping those new to the hobby, as well as more seasoned operators. The event was organised by members of Essex Ham, and promoted by Essex Ham. The first event was attended by 45 people and subsequently was approved for the rest of 2014 by CARS

 

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