ARRL President Attends Ham Holiday

In its’ 39th year, Ham Holiday is the premier amateur radio gathering in Oklahoma.  Held annually in late July, Ham Holiday draws over 800-1000 amateur radio operators from across Oklahoma, as well as Texas, Kansas and Arkansas.  Ham Holiday is held in late July at the Biltmore Conference Center in Oklahoma City.

This year, Ham Holiday scored several ‘firsts’…

…First visit to Ham Holiday by a current American Radio Relay League president, Kay Craigie, N3KN (it was also her first visit to Oklahoma);

…First years to use online pre-registration for admission, tables, and Friday evening banquet;

…and, first year to offer the Radio and Robotics Merit Badge training for Boy Scouts in the Oklahoma City area.

President Craigie’s visit was orchestrated Director Woolweaver, K5RAV.  David is a frequent visitor to Oklahoma amateur radio events and made it a priority to arrange the visit.

After Kay’s arrival on Thursday, July 26th, she had dinner with several leading members of the Oklahoma City amateur radio community hosted by Tim Duffy, K3LR.

On Friday, July 27th, Kay and David were treated to a ‘whirl-wind’ tour of Oklahoma City escorted by Thomas Webb, WA9AFM, Oklahoma Assistant Section Manager. The first stop was the Oklahoma City National Memorial.    Stacey Weddington, Director of Development for the National Memorial, took the group on a guided tour of the Memorial grounds.  Kay was introduced to the various areas and displays at the Memorial which recall the events of the Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995.

From the Memorial, Kay joined members of the Oklahoma City amateur radio community for lunch and discussion.  Lunch was followed by a tour of International Crystal conducted by Darrell Brehm, WA3OPY, who is IC’s Engineering Manager.

On Friday evening, Kay was guest of honor at the second Annual Ham Holliday Banquet hosted by David Duskin, NE5S.  Kay was the featured speaker and made remarks on how the hobby of amateur had impacted her life and the lives of others.

Over 90 members of the Oklahoma amateur radio community were present at the banquet. Bill Wilburn, N5NUK, President of the Central Oklahoma Radio Amateurs, presented Kay with copies of “In Their Name” and “Oklahoma City, Land Run To Statehood” to commemorate her visit.

On Saturday, Kay was present at the ARRL booth in the vendor/flea market area meeting and speaking with Ham Holiday attendees.  The “President’s Forum” saw a large gathering of over 80 radio operators.  After brief remarks, Kay opened the floor to a productive question/answer session.

At the same time Kay was meeting with the amateur radio community, another ‘first for Ham Holiday’ was unfolding, the Radio and Robotics Merit Badge training sessions.

This was the first year for Boy Scout merit badge training.  The instructors were Bill Underwood, KE5FRH and Joe Sieber, KE5MGP for Robotics; Gary Way, AE5OF, Brad Snider, AF5BL, David Snider, KF5GKG, and James Lytle, K5NIC for Radio.

Original estimates had around 20-30 Scouts attending; the total number was 117 with 42 pursuing the Radio Merit Badge and 75 for Robotics!  This required some last minute revisions to our seminar room assignments; what a pleasant problem! Several of the Scouts in the Radio Merit Badge group expressed interest in continuing on for their amateur radio license.

(Contributed by Thomas Webb, WA9AFM/5)

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