John F Kennedy got it right when on May 25, 1961, he set out a national goal:
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space.”
Now I’m no Kennedy and I certainly don’t have an additional 9 billion dollars of funding, but I do know the value of a goal – what has since become known in common language as a “Moon Shot” - to unite a group. I believe we need our own Moon shot here in Ontario to:
Moonshot I: Build an Education Engine
To support Growing the Hobby I propose that Ontario leads in the construction and delivery of a centralized education engine, built on popular “cloud" systems to deliver the Basic Qualification including:
- A live, online webinar engine (Like Citrix GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining)
- A supporting website build on a content management system that be easily edited by mortals (Like Squarespace.com)
- A simple registration and notification system to get the word out and organize the courses (Like Mailchimp.com)
- A feedback system to ensure quality and capture student (and instructor) needs (LikeSurveyMonkey.com )
- A Student / Elmer management system to pair new Hams with existing clubs / Elmers
The infrastructure could be built out with corporate initial sponsorships from radio suppliers, manufacturers and other sources. While initial investments would be required, it should be self funding. Financial risk is minimized as all resources are rented by the month. We would need to attract and maintain the BEST instructors and curriculum. Curriculum and infrastructure could be developed in parallel.
This will provide a sustainable infrastructure that could easily be extended to provide additional courses (Like the Advanced Certificate, ARES courseware or Specialized topics like D-STAR or Contesting), giving the engine a better return on investment.
Moon Shot II: Support the PanAm Games Bicycle events with APRS technology
To support Serve the Community I propose we build and deliver and APRS infrastructure that will support Bicycle events in Southern Ontario
(George Duffield SM for GTA deserves the credit for this idea)
APRS Devices built by individual Amateurs, in small club builds
Serves a need (as cell based tracking systems have failed at other events – there simply too many smart phones)
A Common “Kit”?
Press / event / awareness created
This ties in nicely with the “Maker” community and has multiple cross promotion options
These may or may not be appropriate “Moonshots” for our community. The point is that we need to unite folks with a common purpose. I think these are good options, but I would love to hear your thoughts
(UPDATE May2014: after chatting with Ontario South Amateurs, I decided to focus on just the Education Moonshot. I would love to pursue the APRS capability, but ya gotta focus!)