Saturday, June 3, 2017

"Summits on the Air, in Hiking Boots or Bathrobe" - Not a total failure, anyway.

Today was my presentation at SEAPAC, the Northwestern Division hamfest of the American Radio Relay League.

I don't mind tellin' ya, I was nervous; first that I might screw up and second, that no one would show up to hear it.

As it happened, things worked out pretty well. The 50-seat room was SRO, and no one threw vegetables, which I count as a success.

I'd been assigned a less-than-desirable time, 10 AM on Saturday.  Usually, people look over the flea market and exhibitor booths, then seek out a seminar to sit down and rest.  Still, even 20 minutes before the scheduled start, the turnout was looking at least a bit hopeful.

The room I'd been assigned seated 50, and I was concerned that I wouldn't fill it.  No need, though, as by 10 AM it was SRO!

I asked an attendee to take a picture of my terrified self:

Since the seminar title included hiking boots and bathrobe, I figured I'd wear both.  It's not common that presenters at ham radio conventions wear costume, but it's fun!

Beyond the terror that I'd screw up or that no one would show up, the next terror was that the technology would let me down.  It did, in a small way: It turned out that there was no input to the room PA, so I had to play the "Gathering Music" for the talk on my tablet, which wasn't very loud.  
The music was "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive With a Thousand Voices," one of the few songs celebrating radio telegraphy. It's from 1997's "Titanic - A New Musical," and half of the duet is Martin Moran, playing Titanic wireless operator Harold Bride. It's a sweet love song to Morse code.

When one does a presentation based on Microsoft PowerPoint (or, as in this case, it's open-source equivalent, Apache Open Office Presentation), the worries are that the "Presenter," a little remote mouse thingy or the projector won't work. They both did.

I had rehearsed the talk lotsa times, and it was fortunate: There was no podium, so I couldn't refer to my notes easily.  That meant I had to stroll around and speak extempore, which turned out to be better than sticking to the copy anyway.

There were quite a few questions, intelligent ones that showed people were actually listening.  No vegetables were thrown, so that makes the seminar a complete success.

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