Location, Location, Location! In the middle of Honolulu, with the yacht club, harbor, the ocean, and the beach, Amateur Radio was there on July 2 for the 10th annual “Geek Meet,” at Magic Island. Hawaii’s Geek Meet is a fun, casual, family-friendly, grassroots gathering for people who are curious and have a passion they want to share, including Amateur Radio. Members of the Emergency Amateur Radio Club of Honolulu and Pacific Section PIO Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL, staffed a booth the 2017 Geek Meet.
“We had over 200 visitors to our booth and signed several up for possible attendance at classes,” Holbrook said. “Some people just stopped to see what we were about and some got into an in depth discussion on what we can do and how we do it.” He said other local and visiting radio amateurs stopped by throughout the day-long event to show their support, and some even stayed to handle booth duty.
One of the Geek Meet’s founders, Ryan Ozawa, KH6WEB, said ham radio has been a part of the event every year, from the very beginning.
Holbrook said youngsters visiting the booth enjoying tinkering with the Morse code demonstration and spelling out their names in code. “They seemed to like the old fashion key better and played with it more,” Holbrook said.
“This was a great event and helped showcase what Amateur Radio is all about,” Holbrook said. “It is a hobby, not just emergency communications, but that is a big part, and we discussed that with others too.”
Holbrook said some booth visitors had never heard of Amateur Radio and confused it with CB radio. He said the booth team was nonetheless happy to discuss the differences between CB and Amateur Radio. Other questions ranged from the typical “How far can you talk?” and “Why not just use your cell phone?” to “Why do you need Amateur Radio? We will never lose our cell phones or power for an extended period,” and “What is the difference in your radio and the one in my car?”
“I hope we were able to calmly and politely discuss and answer all the questions and made everyone feel welcome,” Holbrook said afterward. “It was fun and great interaction with the community.” The booth included a ham radio station, but Holbrook said the booth team never made any contacts, “and, honestly, did not try as it was just a show and tell. It was about making contact with the community, not contacts on the air.” — Thanks to Pacific Section PIO Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL