The only thing that I can say is WOW! The presentations were terrific. Our team did not have time to pre-screen the presentations. Just to check that they were presentable before loading them onto the Expo platform. I admit that there were some technical and production glitches, but all of this virtual stuff is new to all of us, including many of the presenters to the Expo. As I have said in the past, we learned a lot, and from that knowledge we will help our next round of presenters to make excellent contributions to the next Expo.
We conducted two surveys from the lists of registrations and attendees. I am grateful that over 10,000 survey responses were returned to us to help us to understand who came to the the Expo and what we could do to make it better the next time. What was an interesting result is that over 60% of the amateurs that registered to come to the Expo do not and have not attended in-person live amateur radio conventions, hamfests, and conferences for a host of reasons. And, these same individuals happen to reflect the QSO Today listener demographic of older, tens of years of experience in amateur radio, and the highest license classes in their respective countries. This is very exciting news, because it means that even if we were not locked down in a pandemic, that our Expo is a valuable asset to the amateur radio community.
I have since attended a number of on-line expos just to understand the user experience and their effectiveness at sharing and getting the word out. I am convinced now that when everyone is back to hopping on airplanes to attend conventions, that there will also be a virtual component to all future conventions. This is good news to videographers and Internet infrastructure providers. But it is also good news to amateurs. Imagine being able to see the presentations that you missed at a convention that you attended because you spent your time in the exhibit hall or flea market. Maybe even being able to ask your questions later of the host.
The pandemic has caused a lot of misery. It has also changed us in many ways. It has subjected us to self examination and caused us to assess our skills as well as dig into our imaginations to make our lives work around it. My XYL, the high school teacher, and her colleagues, have re-invented the delivery of education to their students over Zoom, with Google Classroom, in an effort to keep their students from falling behind. While getting back to the classroom is the goal, a hybrid of live and virtual may end up being the long term benefit. Tough times test our resolve and make us better.
I have delivered a number of great QSO Today episodes over the last few weeks without writing this message. My apologies if you are a reader of these messages. Even if I don't write a message there is still a new episode of QSO Today every week, each one with a unique story to tell.
I caught up with Keith Schlottman, KR7RK, who was a speaker in the Expo in August. KR7RK lives in the Tucson, Arizona area and is now a SOTA Mountain Goat and Super Sloth. Keith happens to own his own business and when the spirit moves him, he heads for the hills, even during business hours, in pursuit of another SOTA activation. Keith will tell you that even during the pandemic, SOTA is great amateur radio fun, good exercise, and all while social distancing. Of course he goes into more detail about his SOTA successes.
73 - Eric, 4Z1UG