An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members


Dave AA6YQ
 

It's been proposed that the ARRL create and maintain a Knowledge Base that would contain 
  • quality answers to questions posted in its Online ARRL Groups like this one
  • relevant articles and videos submitted by ARRL members
  • hyperlinks to relevant online articles and videos hosted elsewhere
  • relevant content extracted from the archives of ARRL publications
Information in the Knowledge Base would be organized by subject matter, exploiting well-known online knowledge management techniques that optimize for ease of access. The Knowledge Base would likely be hosted in a Wiki or Content Management System. Ideally, readers could optionally subscribe to specific topics, receiving notifications when new articles relevant to those topics were added to the Knowledge Base.
 
It has further been proposed that every new US Ham be formally considered a prospective member for one or two years after submitting his or her email address to the ARRL. ARRL members and prospective members would have access to the Knowledge Base.
 
The combination of access to the ARRL's Online Groups and access to its Knowledge Base would for prospective members demonstrate much of the value the ARRL provides to its members, contributing to the ARRL's ability to achieve measurable objectives like these:
  • 80% of new US hams become prospective members
  • 80% of prospective members become full ARRL members for more than one year
A well-organized mentorship program targeting new US hams would also be required to achieve these objectives.
 
Comments? Better ideas?
 
        73,

               Dave, AA6YQ
 


K8TS
 

Dave;

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

73,

Dale H. Cole K8TS

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:47 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

It's been proposed that the ARRL create and maintain a Knowledge Base that would contain 

  • quality answers to questions posted in its Online ARRL Groups like this one
  • relevant articles and videos submitted by ARRL members
  • hyperlinks to relevant online articles and videos hosted elsewhere
  • relevant content extracted from the archives of ARRL publications

Information in the Knowledge Base would be organized by subject matter, exploiting well-known online knowledge management techniques that optimize for ease of access. The Knowledge Base would likely be hosted in a Wiki or Content Management System. Ideally, readers could optionally subscribe to specific topics, receiving notifications when new articles relevant to those topics were added to the Knowledge Base.

 

It has further been proposed that every new US Ham be formally considered a prospective member for one or two years after submitting his or her email address to the ARRL. ARRL members and prospective members would have access to the Knowledge Base.

 

The combination of access to the ARRL's Online Groups and access to its Knowledge Base would for prospective members demonstrate much of the value the ARRL provides to its members, contributing to the ARRL's ability to achieve measurable objectives like these:

  • 80% of new US hams become prospective members
  • 80% of prospective members become full ARRL members for more than one year

A well-organized mentorship program targeting new US hams would also be required to achieve these objectives.

 

Comments? Better ideas?

 

        73,

               Dave, AA6YQ

 

 


 

I agree and think this is long overdue


Steve
KG5VK
Tele 318-470-9806
ARRL NTX Section Manager 
Please note: My Out Going Email address is LottsPhoto@...
KG5VK@... is forwarded to my Gmail address



On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 3:05 PM K8TS <dalecole3502@...> wrote:

Dave;

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

73,

Dale H. Cole K8TS

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:47 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

It's been proposed that the ARRL create and maintain a Knowledge Base that would contain 

  • quality answers to questions posted in its Online ARRL Groups like this one
  • relevant articles and videos submitted by ARRL members
  • hyperlinks to relevant online articles and videos hosted elsewhere
  • relevant content extracted from the archives of ARRL publications

Information in the Knowledge Base would be organized by subject matter, exploiting well-known online knowledge management techniques that optimize for ease of access. The Knowledge Base would likely be hosted in a Wiki or Content Management System. Ideally, readers could optionally subscribe to specific topics, receiving notifications when new articles relevant to those topics were added to the Knowledge Base.

 

It has further been proposed that every new US Ham be formally considered a prospective member for one or two years after submitting his or her email address to the ARRL. ARRL members and prospective members would have access to the Knowledge Base.

 

The combination of access to the ARRL's Online Groups and access to its Knowledge Base would for prospective members demonstrate much of the value the ARRL provides to its members, contributing to the ARRL's ability to achieve measurable objectives like these:

  • 80% of new US hams become prospective members
  • 80% of prospective members become full ARRL members for more than one year

A well-organized mentorship program targeting new US hams would also be required to achieve these objectives.

 

Comments? Better ideas?

 

        73,

               Dave, AA6YQ

 

 


Bernd - KB7AK
 

I agree as well.

 

(My local club does something much smaller but similar, when you test with our VE group, you can enroll with the Club with no cost for the first 12 to 18 months, you have access to all Club resources, you just cannot vote)

 

73,

Bernd – KB7AK

 

From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Steven Lott Smith
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:37 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

I agree and think this is long overdue

 

 

Steve

KG5VK

Tele 318-470-9806
ARRL NTX Section Manager 

Please note: My Out Going Email address is LottsPhoto@...

KG5VK@... is forwarded to my Gmail address

 

 

 

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 3:05 PM K8TS <dalecole3502@...> wrote:

Dave;

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

73,

Dale H. Cole K8TS

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:47 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

It's been proposed that the ARRL create and maintain a Knowledge Base that would contain 

  • quality answers to questions posted in its Online ARRL Groups like this one
  • relevant articles and videos submitted by ARRL members
  • hyperlinks to relevant online articles and videos hosted elsewhere
  • relevant content extracted from the archives of ARRL publications

Information in the Knowledge Base would be organized by subject matter, exploiting well-known online knowledge management techniques that optimize for ease of access. The Knowledge Base would likely be hosted in a Wiki or Content Management System. Ideally, readers could optionally subscribe to specific topics, receiving notifications when new articles relevant to those topics were added to the Knowledge Base.

 

It has further been proposed that every new US Ham be formally considered a prospective member for one or two years after submitting his or her email address to the ARRL. ARRL members and prospective members would have access to the Knowledge Base.

 

The combination of access to the ARRL's Online Groups and access to its Knowledge Base would for prospective members demonstrate much of the value the ARRL provides to its members, contributing to the ARRL's ability to achieve measurable objectives like these:

  • 80% of new US hams become prospective members
  • 80% of prospective members become full ARRL members for more than one year

A well-organized mentorship program targeting new US hams would also be required to achieve these objectives.

 

Comments? Better ideas?

 

        73,

               Dave, AA6YQ

 

 


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:05 PM, K8TS wrote:

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

+ Obtaining contact information from new prospective members

+ The name and postal address of each newly-licensed US ham is available from a database provided by the FCC. Because this database does not contain an email address, the ARRL snail-mails a packet to each newly-licensed US ham that (if I recall correctly), advertises the ARRL, offers a full-price ARRL membership, and offers a modest discount on ARRL merchandise. In my opinion, the contents of this packet are obnoxious, indistinguishable from the junk mail I receive. Far better (and less expensive) would be to send a simple postcard with an intriguing radio-oriented background image that says

"Congratulations on earning your amateur radio license! The ARRL offers you a free one-year membership with online access to ARRL experts and expertise that can help you get on the air. Visit www.arrl.org/register to sign up!"

+ The registration page would require the prospective member to specify an email address; the registration mechanism would then send a "completion URL" to the specified mail address so the prospect can complete the registration process; this approach validates the email address.

+ Establishing a mentor program

+ Some suggestions:

  • The ARRL should develop a Mentor training program, if it doesn't have one already.
  • In person Mentoring is certainly preferable, but since that won't always be possible, the ARRL should acquire off-the-shelf online tools that enable Mentors to remotely interact with prospects and new members using the internet.
  • All Mentors should be trained and certified; certification gets you a cool patch or hat, and access to the ARRL's online mentorship tools.
  • An ARRL-Mentors group should be deployed to enable Mentors to collaborate, share useful Knowledge Base content and techniques, seek guidance in difficult or unusual situations, request additional support tools, and suggest updates to the Mentor training program.
  • Every prospective member is assigned a Mentor; local if possible, remote if not.  Members can also ask to be assigned a Mentor.

             73,

                     Dave, AA6YQ


Bernd - KB7AK
 

I thought the FCC captures an email address, because this is typically how you get notified when they issue your license, at least that is what I remember.

 

73,

Bernd – KB7AK

 

From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 2:02 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

+ AA6YQ comments below

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:05 PM, K8TS wrote:

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

+ Obtaining contact information from new prospective members

+ The name and postal address of each newly-licensed US ham is available from a database provided by the FCC. Because this database does not contain an email address, the ARRL snail-mails a packet to each newly-licensed US ham that (if I recall correctly), advertises the ARRL, offers a full-price ARRL membership, and offers a modest discount on ARRL merchandise. In my opinion, the contents of this packet are obnoxious, indistinguishable from the junk mail I receive. Far better (and less expensive) would be to send a simple postcard with an intriguing radio-oriented background image that says

"Congratulations on earning your amateur radio license! The ARRL offers you a free one-year membership with online access to ARRL experts and expertise that can help you get on the air. Visit www.arrl.org/register to sign up!"

+ The registration page would require the prospective member to specify an email address; the registration mechanism would then send a "completion URL" to the specified mail address so the prospect can complete the registration process; this approach validates the email address.

+ Establishing a mentor program

+ Some suggestions:

  • The ARRL should develop a Mentor training program, if it doesn't have one already.
  • In person Mentoring is certainly preferable, but since that won't always be possible, the ARRL should acquire off-the-shelf online tools that enable Mentors to remotely interact with prospects and new members using the internet.
  • All Mentors should be trained and certified; certification gets you a cool patch or hat, and access to the ARRL's online mentorship tools.
  • An ARRL-Mentors group should be deployed to enable Mentors to collaborate, share useful Knowledge Base content and techniques, seek guidance in difficult or unusual situations, request additional support tools, and suggest updates to the Mentor training program.
  • Every prospective member is assigned a Mentor; local if possible, remote if not.  Members can also ask to be assigned a Mentor.

             73,

                     Dave, AA6YQ


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

I thought the FCC captures an email address, because this is typically how you get notified when they issue your license, at least that is what I remember.

+ If you know of an FCC database that includes an email address for each callsign, please post its location here.

+ The FCC may collect email addresses and employ them internally, but not make them publicly available to avoid enabling spammers.

73,

Dave. AA6YQ


My Cellphone
 

Establishing a mentoring/coaching program is really difficult to do.  In terms of organizing, the purpose, matching mentors and mentees, etc.  the concept of transferring institutional knowledge is really the easy part.  The difficult part is development if the process and the logistics of starting and concluding the mentoring and ready for mire matches. 


On Feb 12, 2020, at 1:05 PM, K8TS <dalecole3502@...> wrote:



Dave;

I am completely in favor of such a proposal, but have two questions:

  1. How do we identify, and obtain contact information for the new “prospective members”? 
  2. How do we establish the mentor program?  I am willing to become a part of that program and share my knowledge, but obviously this must be place beforehand.

73,

Dale H. Cole K8TS

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:47 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

It's been proposed that the ARRL create and maintain a Knowledge Base that would contain 

  • quality answers to questions posted in its Online ARRL Groups like this one
  • relevant articles and videos submitted by ARRL members
  • hyperlinks to relevant online articles and videos hosted elsewhere
  • relevant content extracted from the archives of ARRL publications

Information in the Knowledge Base would be organized by subject matter, exploiting well-known online knowledge management techniques that optimize for ease of access. The Knowledge Base would likely be hosted in a Wiki or Content Management System. Ideally, readers could optionally subscribe to specific topics, receiving notifications when new articles relevant to those topics were added to the Knowledge Base.

 

It has further been proposed that every new US Ham be formally considered a prospective member for one or two years after submitting his or her email address to the ARRL. ARRL members and prospective members would have access to the Knowledge Base.

 

The combination of access to the ARRL's Online Groups and access to its Knowledge Base would for prospective members demonstrate much of the value the ARRL provides to its members, contributing to the ARRL's ability to achieve measurable objectives like these:

  • 80% of new US hams become prospective members
  • 80% of prospective members become full ARRL members for more than one year

A well-organized mentorship program targeting new US hams would also be required to achieve these objectives.

 

Comments? Better ideas?

 

        73,

               Dave, AA6YQ

 

 

<0F9D36456F784226BA8A103030B648ED.png>


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

Establishing a mentoring/coaching program is really difficult to do. In terms of organizing, the purpose, matching mentors and mentees, etc. the concept of transferring institutional knowledge is really the easy part. The difficult part is development if the process and the logistics of starting and concluding the mentoring and ready for mire matches.

+ The continuing loss of members constitutes an existential threat to the ARRL. To turn this around, the ARRL must encourage more new hams to become members and stay members. That requires the ARRL to provide new hams with demonstrable, sustainable value. What do new hams need most? Mentoring, and equipment. A mentorship program addresses the first need, and also provides fulfilling opportunities for experienced members to make a contribution by becoming mentors. I agree that this won't be easy, but what's the alternative? Watch the ARRL bleed out?

+ The ARRL may also be able to help with the need for equipment.

73,

Dave AA6YQ


My Cellphone
 

I want apologize for my thumb typing, below.  I have developed several Mentoring and Coaching programs in my employment.  I'm happy to help with looking at the process.  Once key aspect is the Mentee being able to clearly identify specific knowledge based goals and a method for identifying the progress and completion of the milestones for completion.  The matching can be done through posting and then the Mentor's selecting the Mentee and the body of knowledge they can help the person obtain.   This can be done through a simple application. 

There some risk areas that should be considered in how the process flow itself will work and hopefully gaining some assistance of Elmers from local or nearby clubs when needed. 

Just tossing out a few thoughts,


Rob Abbott   KJ7MAY

robabbott2002@...



On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 3:05:52 PM PST, Dave AA6YQ <aa6yq@...> wrote:


+ AA6YQ comments below

Establishing a mentoring/coaching program is really difficult to do.  In terms of organizing, the purpose, matching mentors and mentees, etc.  the concept of transferring institutional knowledge is really the easy part.  The difficult part is development if the process and the logistics of starting and concluding the mentoring and ready for mire matches.

+ The continuing loss of members constitutes an existential threat to the ARRL. To turn this around, the ARRL must encourage more new hams to become members and stay members. That requires the ARRL to provide new hams with demonstrable, sustainable value. What do new hams need most? Mentoring, and equipment. A mentorship program addresses the first need, and also provides fulfilling opportunities for experienced members to make a contribution by becoming mentors. I agree that this won't be easy, but what's the alternative? Watch the ARRL bleed out?

+ The ARRL may also be able to help with the need for equipment.

        73,

              Dave AA6YQ




Jess Hunter
 

In a previous life, I have developed similar over-the-web type solutions and to a lesser degree still work on a few projects here and there to keep the OTW database programming skills sharp.

So a centralized knowledge base is a great idea.


As for getting the new ham to sign up/register for a system like this. Snail mail is an option, but going off of direct-mail marketing statistics, an organization is lucky to get a 10% follow through rate. Granted this number relates to Non-Profit direct mailings where donations are being requested so this number may be higher if all we are wanting is people to register so they can retrieve information. One thing I would steer clear of is trying to make this system a means to directly solicit people to become ARRL members (a 6 month or annual survey could be utilized to ask new hams what new/enhanced services could be implemented to persuade them into joining the organization) . One thing that could turn new Hams off would be a constant barrage of "Join the ARRL" e-mails. If a quality product is developed and value is seen in the product, New Hams will see that value and join the organization. 

As for promoting the system,  a better approach may be to create a simple one-page flyer that the local clubs and VE teams could print up and hand out at the end of an exam session this flyer could have the information included. This would also add a personal touch to the program and help with establishing a local mentoring program. Also have a database of local Hams designated as mentors (Elmers). So when a new ham does sign up for the system, an e-mail is sent to the local Elmer(s) who can then reach out to the new ham to see what they may need assistance with. This feature could be implemented as an internal system so if a local Mentor does not make initial contact with the new ham within "X" amount of days, Then an e-mail could be sent to the Section Level leadership, and if the Section Level Leadership fails to reach out to the new ham within "X" amount of days, then an e-mail could be sent to ARRL-HQ. Here again, adding a personal touch.

Going back to the knowledge database system. If pursued, I am sure some sort of committee would be created for this as in most larger organizations everything is done by committee. I would hope the members selected would have more than just "Ham" skills. In this day and age where the Internet is the go-to place for information. Having committee members who have intermediate to advanced knowledge and skill in regards to Internet utilization and social media techniques and patterns is paramount. Having a knowledge base system is only the first step. Maintaining, supporting and promoting the system would be an on-going effort and that is where many of the larger non-profit organizations miss the mark and projects like this see little results or even ultimately fail.

 

Just my $0.02 here. Your mileage may vary.

 

73
Jess - W9ABS


Rob Okray KB9OAK
 

I think a central repository for the collective knowledge of HAM Radio is a great idea. Assembling and curating that much information is bound to be a monumental task, but the potential benefit to the pursuit as a whole may even more monumental.


Jim Idelson
 

Jess,

What guidelines can you suggest regarding the number of people, required skills and time commitment to successfully launch this kind of effort and keep it current and valuable over the long term? I'm looking for an estimate that makes it a best-in-class implementation that sets a high standard; a system that truly delights it's users.

73 Jim K1IR


On Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:38 PM Jess Hunter <w9abs@...> wrote:

In a previous life, I have developed similar over-the-web type solutions and to a lesser degree still work on a few projects here and there to keep the OTW database programming skills sharp.

So a centralized knowledge base is a great idea.


As for getting the new ham to sign up/register for a system like this. Snail mail is an option, but going off of direct-mail marketing statistics, an organization is lucky to get a 10% follow through rate. Granted this number relates to Non-Profit direct mailings where donations are being requested so this number may be higher if all we are wanting is people to register so they can retrieve information. One thing I would steer clear of is trying to make this system a means to directly solicit people to become ARRL members (a 6 month or annual survey could be utilized to ask new hams what new/enhanced services could be implemented to persuade them into joining the organization) . One thing that could turn new Hams off would be a constant barrage of "Join the ARRL" e-mails. If a quality product is developed and value is seen in the product, New Hams will see that value and join the organization. 

As for promoting the system,  a better approach may be to create a simple one-page flyer that the local clubs and VE teams could print up and hand out at the end of an exam session this flyer could have the information included. This would also add a personal touch to the program and help with establishing a local mentoring program. Also have a database of local Hams designated as mentors (Elmers). So when a new ham does sign up for the system, an e-mail is sent to the local Elmer(s) who can then reach out to the new ham to see what they may need assistance with. This feature could be implemented as an internal system so if a local Mentor does not make initial contact with the new ham within "X" amount of days, Then an e-mail could be sent to the Section Level leadership, and if the Section Level Leadership fails to reach out to the new ham within "X" amount of days, then an e-mail could be sent to ARRL-HQ. Here again, adding a personal touch.

Going back to the knowledge database system. If pursued, I am sure some sort of committee would be created for this as in most larger organizations everything is done by committee. I would hope the members selected would have more than just "Ham" skills. In this day and age where the Internet is the go-to place for information. Having committee members who have intermediate to advanced knowledge and skill in regards to Internet utilization and social media techniques and patterns is paramount. Having a knowledge base system is only the first step. Maintaining, supporting and promoting the system would be an on-going effort and that is where many of the larger non-profit organizations miss the mark and projects like this see little results or even ultimately fail.

 

Just my $0.02 here. Your mileage may vary.

 

73
Jess - W9ABS


My Cellphone
 

Hi Jim,

Let me send something in the morning.  I think time commitment and the best way to manage it may have to do with the kind of mentoring it becomes.  Tomorrow my friend. 

Rob. Kj7may



On Feb 13, 2020, at 6:31 PM, Jim Idelson <k1ir@...> wrote:


Jess,

What guidelines can you suggest regarding the number of people, required skills and time commitment to successfully launch this kind of effort and keep it current and valuable over the long term? I'm looking for an estimate that makes it a best-in-class implementation that sets a high standard; a system that truly delights it's users.

73 Jim K1IR

On Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:38 PM Jess Hunter <w9abs@...> wrote:

In a previous life, I have developed similar over-the-web type solutions and to a lesser degree still work on a few projects here and there to keep the OTW database programming skills sharp.

So a centralized knowledge base is a great idea.


As for getting the new ham to sign up/register for a system like this. Snail mail is an option, but going off of direct-mail marketing statistics, an organization is lucky to get a 10% follow through rate. Granted this number relates to Non-Profit direct mailings where donations are being requested so this number may be higher if all we are wanting is people to register so they can retrieve information. One thing I would steer clear of is trying to make this system a means to directly solicit people to become ARRL members (a 6 month or annual survey could be utilized to ask new hams what new/enhanced services could be implemented to persuade them into joining the organization) . One thing that could turn new Hams off would be a constant barrage of "Join the ARRL" e-mails. If a quality product is developed and value is seen in the product, New Hams will see that value and join the organization. 

As for promoting the system,  a better approach may be to create a simple one-page flyer that the local clubs and VE teams could print up and hand out at the end of an exam session this flyer could have the information included. This would also add a personal touch to the program and help with establishing a local mentoring program. Also have a database of local Hams designated as mentors (Elmers). So when a new ham does sign up for the system, an e-mail is sent to the local Elmer(s) who can then reach out to the new ham to see what they may need assistance with. This feature could be implemented as an internal system so if a local Mentor does not make initial contact with the new ham within "X" amount of days, Then an e-mail could be sent to the Section Level leadership, and if the Section Level Leadership fails to reach out to the new ham within "X" amount of days, then an e-mail could be sent to ARRL-HQ. Here again, adding a personal touch.

Going back to the knowledge database system. If pursued, I am sure some sort of committee would be created for this as in most larger organizations everything is done by committee. I would hope the members selected would have more than just "Ham" skills. In this day and age where the Internet is the go-to place for information. Having committee members who have intermediate to advanced knowledge and skill in regards to Internet utilization and social media techniques and patterns is paramount. Having a knowledge base system is only the first step. Maintaining, supporting and promoting the system would be an on-going effort and that is where many of the larger non-profit organizations miss the mark and projects like this see little results or even ultimately fail.

 

Just my $0.02 here. Your mileage may vary.

 

73
Jess - W9ABS


Devin Ganger WA7DLG <devin@...>
 

If we’re doing a knowledge base, I would really like to see it be something that is available to all hams, not just ARRL members. Many of the hams I have talked to who are not members of ARRL cite this kind of thinking as one of the motivating reasons.

 

However, the work involved in maintaining a useful knowledge base like this can be a lot – something that can’t be done without volunteer effort. And *that’s* where I would suggest drawing the membership line. If you’re an active ARRL member, you can submit content (new articles or updates to existing articles), or you can go through training and become an editor/maintainer (assuming there’s a workflow to approve changes and not just Wild West like Wikipedia) over a given section.

 

 

--

Devin L. Ganger (WA7DLG)

email: devin@...

web: Devin on Earth

cell: +1 425.239.2575

 

From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Jim Idelson via Groups.Arrl.Org
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:31 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

Jess,

 

What guidelines can you suggest regarding the number of people, required skills and time commitment to successfully launch this kind of effort and keep it current and valuable over the long term? I'm looking for an estimate that makes it a best-in-class implementation that sets a high standard; a system that truly delights it's users.

73 Jim K1IR

 

On Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:38 PM Jess Hunter <w9abs@...> wrote:

In a previous life, I have developed similar over-the-web type solutions and to a lesser degree still work on a few projects here and there to keep the OTW database programming skills sharp.

So a centralized knowledge base is a great idea.

As for getting the new ham to sign up/register for a system like this. Snail mail is an option, but going off of direct-mail marketing statistics, an organization is lucky to get a 10% follow through rate. Granted this number relates to Non-Profit direct mailings where donations are being requested so this number may be higher if all we are wanting is people to register so they can retrieve information. One thing I would steer clear of is trying to make this system a means to directly solicit people to become ARRL members (a 6 month or annual survey could be utilized to ask new hams what new/enhanced services could be implemented to persuade them into joining the organization) . One thing that could turn new Hams off would be a constant barrage of "Join the ARRL" e-mails. If a quality product is developed and value is seen in the product, New Hams will see that value and join the organization. 

As for promoting the system,  a better approach may be to create a simple one-page flyer that the local clubs and VE teams could print up and hand out at the end of an exam session this flyer could have the information included. This would also add a personal touch to the program and help with establishing a local mentoring program. Also have a database of local Hams designated as mentors (Elmers). So when a new ham does sign up for the system, an e-mail is sent to the local Elmer(s) who can then reach out to the new ham to see what they may need assistance with. This feature could be implemented as an internal system so if a local Mentor does not make initial contact with the new ham within "X" amount of days, Then an e-mail could be sent to the Section Level leadership, and if the Section Level Leadership fails to reach out to the new ham within "X" amount of days, then an e-mail could be sent to ARRL-HQ. Here again, adding a personal touch.

Going back to the knowledge database system. If pursued, I am sure some sort of committee would be created for this as in most larger organizations everything is done by committee. I would hope the members selected would have more than just "Ham" skills. In this day and age where the Internet is the go-to place for information. Having committee members who have intermediate to advanced knowledge and skill in regards to Internet utilization and social media techniques and patterns is paramount. Having a knowledge base system is only the first step. Maintaining, supporting and promoting the system would be an on-going effort and that is where many of the larger non-profit organizations miss the mark and projects like this see little results or even ultimately fail.

 

Just my $0.02 here. Your mileage may vary.

 

73
Jess - W9ABS


Jess Hunter
 

Devin,

I agree with part of your response and yet disagree with another.

I agree that this would need to be open to ALL hams. After all the ARRL is " the national association for amateur radio".

I also agree that there needs to be a work flow process where submitted content is reviewed and edited if need be prior to being presented in the KB.

As for members of the Development, Maintenance and Review teams being required to be ARRL members, I disagree. I know from first-hand experience of some Hams who are not members of the ARRL who possess a considerable amount of knowledge, skill and experience that could be beneficial to a project such as this.  I also know of some ARRL members who can't even program their radio without the use of a computer.

If setting a criteria for KB team administrators, it should be based on skill, knowledge and ability.


I am in the process of doing a total revamp of a semi-local amateur radio related website. One feature that will be included would be the ability for users to create their own tutorials, white-papers, etc. Any content submitted would require a review by an "Administrator" who would then either approve the content or send it back to the author for editing. To a lesser degree, this feature is very much like the KB system that is being proposed here.

 

73,
Jess - W9ABS


Jess Hunter
 

Jim,

You're kind of putting me on the spot here. Right now this idea has been some random thoughts being bounced around by only a handful of people.
More thought would need to be given as to the entire scope of a project such as this.

However, from the 35,000 foot viewpoint here is what would be needed to get the projected started (my personal opinion only).

  1. A place to host the Knowledge base.
    1. This server would need to have the ability of MySQL as a back-end database (there are other platforms, I use MySQL as an example as this is what I am familiar with).
    2. Would need PHP GUI ability (here again, there are others, but this is what I am familiar with).
  2. Core group/team of people to develop the scope and vision of the system. This number should remain rather small as too many people can slow a project down
  3. The actual development team. I use the word team but this may be a misnomer as a project such as this really does not need a group of programmers since it is a fairly simple and straightforward project to develop and implement.
  4. A testing team - I would break this down into two sub teams
    a. Alpha-Testers, this could be a handful of people who have intermediate to advanced skills in internet usage. These people would be the ones capable of describing glitches within the system. A programmers nightmare is when someone submits a trouble ticket for a system and all they receive is "Page won't work". Alpha testers must have the ability to say what section is not working, any error messages presented, etc. This team would need to have a better understanding of the back-end process.
    b. Beta-Testers - This would be a larger cross section of users. The objective for this team would be to to provide feedback on the user interface. Is the system user-friendly for the average user? Is the system easy to navigate? What enhancements could be made to improve the user experience?


From this point on it gets a little fuzzy since there has not been a lot of discussion or thought given on how the content will be added to the system, What the final project looks like in regards to scope, what additional features or enhancements are added during the development process, etc. But here are my thoughts....

 

Tier 1 support: 1 or 2 System Admins, These people would be responsible for maintaining the system once completed. Strong OTW database and applications skills are a must.(If you do not know how to write an SQL query, or hard code a PHP page, you would not be on this team).

Tier 2 support: This group would be responsible for reviewing and approving submitted content. The would also act as the initial tech support for the system. Handling log-in issues, troubleshooting end-user experience issues, etc.

Using the ARRL organizational breakdown I would say 1 person per division (just a thought, no real reason for this number).

Now we drill it down to a more localized level. Here again, no real thought given to these numbers or positions, just throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.

Section Level:
Each section would have a mentoring program with a Senior Mentor (Elmer) position assigned. They would be responsible for adding content, developing tutorials, finding external articles of interest, etc. Some of these tasks could be delegated to others within the section, but the Sr. Elmer would be ultimately responsible. I would make it a requirement that a person in this position would need to submit at least one article or tutorial a month to retain this position. Once the system has been populated, this number could be revisited to quarterly or semi-annually.

Local Level:
These would be the front-line Elmers, They would be responsible for reaching out to new hams in their communities, seeing if the new ham needs any assistance, possibly developing local programs of interest outside of normal club activities such as building go-kits, making a field expedient roll-up antenna, etc. This group of people could also receive an e-mail notification when a new ham in their area signs up in the KB system so they could reach out and get them active and on the air.

Like I said, it is hard to nail down exactly what would be required and the aforementioned items are just random thoughts and ramblings.  I hope this kind of answers your question Jim. If anything it may be the catalyst for more thoughts or ideas. At this point this is all academic as we really do not know what ARRL corporate thinks about developing a KB system or what their perceived vision of the project would be.

As I mentioned in another thread in this forum, I am currently performing a major revamp of a semi-local amateur radio website that has plans to integrate a system much like what is being proposed here. That feature is quite a ways down on the priority list but it is on the list non-the-less. Priority now is to finish an on-the-air activity system where hams at the local levels can generate their own localized contests/QSO parties. Rolled out a similar program back in January (WinterHeat 2020) that culminated in 139 registered participants making 6500 logged contacts using VHF/UHF simplex frequencies. Received a lot of feedback from new and old licensees alike so developing the system to allow others to manage their own events.

73
Jess - W9ABS
w9abs@...


Devin Ganger WA7DLG <devin@...>
 

Jess,

 

My personal stance is in line with yours. However, I have seen what seems be a sizeable contingent that will push back on the ARRL doing anything that non-members might benefit from, so I was attempting to describe one potential path to balance the two imperatives.

 

--

Devin L. Ganger (WA7DLG)

email: devin@...

web: Devin on Earth

cell: +1 425.239.2575

 

From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Jess Hunter via Groups.Arrl.Org
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2020 5:27 AM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] An ARRL Knowledge Base, and its value to prospective ARRL members

 

Devin,

I agree with part of your response and yet disagree with another.

I agree that this would need to be open to ALL hams. After all the ARRL is " the national association for amateur radio".

I also agree that there needs to be a work flow process where submitted content is reviewed and edited if need be prior to being presented in the KB.

As for members of the Development, Maintenance and Review teams being required to be ARRL members, I disagree. I know from first-hand experience of some Hams who are not members of the ARRL who possess a considerable amount of knowledge, skill and experience that could be beneficial to a project such as this.  I also know of some ARRL members who can't even program their radio without the use of a computer.

If setting a criteria for KB team administrators, it should be based on skill, knowledge and ability.


I am in the process of doing a total revamp of a semi-local amateur radio related website. One feature that will be included would be the ability for users to create their own tutorials, white-papers, etc. Any content submitted would require a review by an "Administrator" who would then either approve the content or send it back to the author for editing. To a lesser degree, this feature is very much like the KB system that is being proposed here.

 

73,
Jess - W9ABS


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

As for members of the Development, Maintenance and Review teams being required to be ARRL members, I disagree. I know from first-hand experience of some Hams who are not members of the ARRL who possess a considerable amount of knowledge, skill and experience that could be beneficial to a project such as this.

+ So long as the submitted content is curated, that should be fine. It might even motivate some of those non-members to become members!

If setting a criteria for KB team administrators, it should be based on skill, knowledge and ability.

+ Agreed.

I am in the process of doing a total revamp of a semi-local amateur radio related website. One feature that will be included would be the ability for users to create their own tutorials, white-papers, etc. Any content submitted would require a review by an "Administrator" who would then either approve the content or send it back to the author for editing. To a lesser degree, this feature is very much like the KB system that is being proposed here.

+ Agreed.

73,

Dave, AA6YQ


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

My personal stance is in line with yours. However, I have seen what seems be a sizeable contingent that will push back on the ARRL doing anything that non-members might benefit from, so I was attempting to describe one potential path to balance the two imperatives.

+ The ARRL is coming to realize that every US ham who isn't a member of the ARRL is a prospective member for whom it should aspire to provide compelling value sufficient to motivate a membership. If someone expended the energy to obtain a ham license, they are a candidate. We should shoot for an 80% membership rate, and an 80% new ham retention rate.

73,

Dave, AA6YQ