A great idea to engage new hams

Every once in a while, you hear an idea, slap yourself on the forehead, and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” This morning, I came across one of those ideas. Dave, W8RIT, is a friend of mine here in SE Michigan. He volunteered to review the new edition of my Tech study guide, and when he replied, he snuck this in:

On another note, I have an idea for getting new hams involved in the hobby. I think clubs should regularly hold simple VHF contests that make new hams the “stars of the show.” For example, those who have been licensed under 1-3 months (or even more recent) are worth X amount of points, and those 3 months to a year are worth a somewhat lesser amount of points, and those 6 mos. to a year are worth just a little bit less. Make it a simplex VHF contest, maybe run periodically, with the intent of making new hams feel welcome and maybe learn more about how far their signal may travel, (maybe improving it also). Keep the rules simple, simplex only, name and callsign, maybe a serial number. Just specify the date and time to run the ‘test’.

I like this idea a lot, but it needs some fleshing out. Have any of you run or participated in a contest like this? If so, how did it turn out? What rules did you use? Do any of you have other kinds of activities to engage new members and encourage them to get on the air more?

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