[amsat-bb] Effective Presentations

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Thu Mar 18 12:41:06 PDT 2010

CAUTION: I get REALLY WORDY in this post. If you reply, PLEASE edit/trim so that my ears won't turn red from people being mad at me for re-re-re-reading such a long post. Thank you. -Clint Bradford

You run into the most pleasant people here and in the field speadin' the AMSAT gospel. I have had three fellow AMSATters contact me in the past week, asking for a copy of the presentation I give on working the sats with handheld radios.

My immediate response is that I am humbled that someone would want a copy. But I drafted what follows and passes it along as a reply. And it has opened up great private conversations with fellow educators.

>>  If you were and wouldn't mind, I'd be interested in having it available for my presentation as good ones are hard to find.

And mine is an excellent presentation (grin) ... Never have I given the exact same slideshow to a club ... I am honored that you would want a copy.

I was where you are now about five years ago - looking for someone else's presentation. But I found it much more effective to make my own, personalized-to-the-club-I'm-speaking-to presentation for each club. Let me explain.

I open up with a title page, then a screenshot of their local newspaper. I have "edited" the newspaper to announce, "Amateur Radio satellite demonstration at XYZ Club tomorrow night!" - with a photo ... it gets the audience IMMEDIATELY drawn to what is going to occur next ...

THEN I show THEIR LOGO (from their Web site), and announce on a slide, "It's XYZ Club Trivia Time!" And I have two or three trivia questions regarding THEIR club's history ... How many Google hits for your club name? (That show how effective they are using the Internet). And, "When did you become an ARRL affiliate member club?" That gives me an opportunity to plug the ARRL and benefits of ARRL membership ...

OK - that's the first ten slides.

Then I briefly remind them of the SuitSat project - and what a marvelous public relations project that was for amateur radio. I ask them to keep that project in mind, as we now watch a video of the United States launching a cruiser-based missle and successfully destroying that U.S. satellite last year whose orbit was decaying. Why do i show that? Because I tell the audience: "When then-vice-president Dick Cheney heard about how expensive it was going to be to blow up that satellite, he came up with his own plan ... "

And the next slide has a magazine-cover-quality photo of Cheney firing a shotgun - with the title, "Shoot Sat." NEVER FAILS to get the audience warmed up and laughing! (Totally "apolitical." You don't have to belong to any political party to be amused by Cheney's firearms antics.) 

I then give my brief bio info ... show a couple magazine articles that covered me ... my AMSAT display booth all set up and pretty ...

And that takes us to slide 25 ...

Do you see where this is going? The more your presentation reflects YOU - and involves THEM - the more effective it will be.

The next slides demolish the common "preconceptions" regarding working the sats (You need a minimum of 100W, expensive rotator, multiple Yagis ... NOPE!!! Expensive radios ... NOPE!!! Tell 'em that most hams already own the necessary equipment ... )

Then I  show the AMSAT logo. And amsat.org as our Web site. A slide shows very brief history of AMSAT. Another bullets the five major benefits of AMSAT membership. Advise 'em that you can painlessly contribute to AMSAT by including them in your estate - a painless way to support!

NEVER does a slide contain more than just a couple words. Put complete sentences on a slide, and you have lost your audience: They will be reading when you want them to listen. Slides are NOT a speaker's script! For example, my first AMSAT slide looks like this:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
AMSAT logo
- 1969, nonprofit
- Mission
- International
- Contributions
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Those five words evoke their own statements ...

"We were founded back East in 1969 as a nonprofit educational organization ... "

"Our mission is to disseminate information about - and build - amateur radio satellites ... "

"AMSAT is international in scope with darned near fifty affiliates and clubs across the planet ... "

"Contributions have their tax advantages for you - and AMSAT can be placed in your will - ask your CPA for details ... " 

Before they get bored, the next slide - my Number 37 - is another trivia question: just the word, "OSCAR" is on the screen. "OSCAR is an acronym - who knows what it stands for?"

And I give out PRIZES, too! Trivia question answerers get a local repeater guide ... or a Firestone tire pressure gauge ... or a keychain flashlight - stuff that your local merchants give away as freebies. AUDIENCES LOVE THIS STUFF - and it gets them involved in what you are talking about!

A very brief history of amateur satellites is Slide 43.

The GLOSSARY is next. Just briefly define the few terms that they'll come across in the sat worls (orbit, Doppler, LEO, HEO, GEO, Uplink, Downlink, Footprint).

Then I do an homage to George Carlin bit. Remember Carlin's comparison of "the wonderful, pastoral game of baseball VERSUS the militaristic, aggressive game of football?" Well, I show a slide, "Why use amateur satellites?"

Then, "Traditional HF versus Ham Satellites." And I go through these comparisons, a la George Carlin ...

Then comes Slide 72, a photo of AO-51. And the Chuck Greene photo in the clean room with AO-51. And photos showing our position on the launch vehicle. And discussion of AO-51's capabilities. Show the other easily-worked FM birds. Show a data screen from a control op for the geeky folks in the crowd.

Slide 86 starts showing the "Minimum Requirements" equipment-wise: an HT that can do split freqs - my favorite intro HT is the Yaesu FT-60R ...

"Receives 108-to-a-gig, bulletproof case design, strongest belt clip of ANY amateur radio chassis on the market, large display, easy to program, and a GREAT battery situation - when using the optional FBA-25 AA alkaline/NMH case, you have FULL TX POWER available to you! Try that on, say, a Kenwood TH-F6a, and you only hand one-half of a Watt TX power ... all this for about $200 bucks ... "

Back to basics - an HT that can do split freqs, a "better" antenna, and either Internet printout of a pass, or a Palm PDA with PocketSat+.

Slide 92 shows three antenna improvements for HTs ...

-the $50 Diamond SRH-320A
-the performance-equal-to-the-SHR-320A Smiley 270A - at a measley $19.95
-the BNC-only AL-800 massive beast

One slide compares the should-be-taken-off-the-market Yaesu CN-3 BNC-to-SMA adapter with the adapters made by Stephen Gulyas. One of them protects your radio's SMA connector center pin from being stresses on its circuit board - the other is a $100 repair job waiting to happen ...

One slide shows the concept of "getting perpendicular" to the sats ... I throw in a couple graphs showing that - for HT antennas and what we are doing - that longer is better ...

I then tell/show what commercial sat tracking programs are available ... PocketSat+ for Palm / iPhone / iPod touch. I even have a screenshot of PocketSat on my new Apple iPad (g). Nova for Windows, MacDopplerPRO for Mac). Briefly explain Keplerian elements. 
There are others for the different platforms - look for ones that are currently supported ...

Explain heavens-above.com and AMSAT.org's tracking systems. 

If we worked a pass - or will be after the presentation, I take screen shots of the AMSAT tracking data, reminding them to ADJUST FOR GMT !!! Make sure they know there's both COMMERCIAL sat trackers, but also COMPLETELY FREE pass info on the 'Net! Audiences are shown how to "decode" that screenful of numbers that the AMSAT sat tracking page spits out.

Then tell 'em the general procedures for working the sats. Yes, it is preferable to work TRUE FULL-DUPLEX, but not absolutely mandatory.

Another trivia question: What grid square are we in??? Hand out another prize.

I show my programming matrix for AO-51 (in my .pdf handout on my Web site!) Explain Doppler again. Make sure that if they see a programming guide WITH a CTCSS for AO-51, that its old info.

Then I show 'em the programming guide for SO-50, and point out the 74.4 there in the middle ... YOU get to be CONTROL OPERATOR if the bird's not up when you KNOW if should be there ...

Then Q&A time - which is usually the best time of all.

SO ... I am looking at last night's presentation and its 150+ slides ... many are that-club-specific, and I change those for each presentation. But the most important thing you can do is to make the group know you enjoy this aspect of ham radio, and maintain great eye contact throughout the presentation. Let 'em interrupt with a question. If you see anyone writing down any notes, stop yourself and state, "Wow - I am glad you're taking notes. But I have a handout for all of you at the end of the presentation with ALL this information for you! So just sit back and relax!" And I offer 'em my 4-page handout (also on my Web site) that I just had Staples make 50 copies of before the meeting ...  You are welcome to use it as a handout ... I use to print it out so that it made a single sheet of paper 4-page booklet. But the type gets too small for my older eyes - so I just print it up two pages, back-to-back.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

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