December 2017 Foundation Fast-track

Essex Ham recently helped out with a rather unusual training request. One of our members, Nick M0NFE, has been so keen to spread the word about amateur radio, that he’s been quietly “selling” the hobby to his personal friends and work colleagues. He was able to interest enough of them, that he looked into the idea of putting together a course to help get them to study towards Foundation.

He formed a small group of people interested in learning more about amateur radio, and approached Essex Ham to set up a dedicated online classroom for the students. With a mix of online course material, videos, and personal coaching from Nick, some were ready to get hands-on with the Foundation Practicals and take their exam.

Essex Ham traditionally doesn’t run exam sessions, but as Nick’s candidates were from outside Essex and couldn’t attend structured classes in Essex, a one-day training event was put together to allow them to complete the various practicals, and then to sit the Foundation exam.

Trainers with some of the candidates - December 2017
Trainers with some of the candidates – December 2017

We’re pleased to report that all three sitting the exam achieved an indicative pass, and at the time of writing are waiting for RSGB confirmation before they can pick up their callsigns.

Two of the candidates, Chris and Alkesh travelled from East London to do the session, but the record goes to Sarah (who opted not to appear in the photos) – she made the trip to Essex from all the way in Brighton on a Sunday. That’s dedication!

The session took place on Sunday the 19th of December 2017, with the help from several Essex Hams who’ve not worked together as a training team before. Thanks to Peter G0DZB for setting up indoor HF antennas and guiding the three through their first HF QSOs, Charlie M0PZT for running through the Morse appreciation practical, and Ed G8FAX for Station Build. Also assisting, Pete M0PSX on the VHF QSO and Majbritt M6YAX on logistics (and cupcakes).

Peter G0DZB, taking candidates through the HF QSO Practical
Peter G0DZB, taking candidates through the HF QSO Practical
Charlie M0PZT on the Morse Appreciation Practical
Charlie M0PZT on the Morse Appreciation Practical
Ed G8FAX running through the Station Build Practical
Ed G8FAX running through the Station Build Practical

Thanks also to Dorothy M0LMR and Richard G7OED for a sterling job invigilating the exam session.

Event organiser Nick M0NFE, about to go /P for a QSO
Event organiser Nick M0NFE, about to go /P for a QSO

Nick M0NFE was very pleased that all three taking the practical and exams did so well:

“It was great to find a way to get my friends into Amateur Radio which fit around our work schedule. The training team came from different clubs and areas of the hobby, united by Essex Ham. We hadn’t worked together like this before and I’m delighted by the result we had. 

The Ham Train material was excellent. Because we did everything in a day, I was worried the candidates wouldn’t stay motivated in the weeks leading up, but the online course kept them engaged and gave them the knowledge to apply in the practicals. 

The team and candidates put in a lot of hard work and it paid off in quality training and passes for all!”

The event made a small profit, and it was decided that all proceeds would be donated to the Essex Air Ambulance collecting tin. Thanks all!

Essex Ham would like to thank Carol at RSGB HQ for arranging approval of the exam venue in Southend, and for issuing papers so close to Christmas, traditionally the busiest time of the year for exams.

Radio-themed cakes, courtesy of Majbritt M6JAX
Radio-themed cakes, courtesy of Majbritt M6JAX

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