North Texas Section - American Radio Relay League

ARRL North Texas Section News

The Rocky Revival: After Action Review of Mentorfest 2017

Dec 14, 2017

The much-anticipated Mentorfest 2017 has come and gone.  As planning is underway for Mentorfest 2018, we look at the successes and failures for Mentorfest 2017.

Over all, Mentorfest 2017 was a success, but there are several areas that have been identified as needing improvement.

Needs Improvement

Timing:  It was quite unfortunate the event was planned on the same weekend as the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air.  In addition, it was high school football season and other school-related activities.  The next tentative date is planned in April.

Promotion:  The event was promoted in several club newsletters and on social media, but more buzz could have been generated at club meetings and radio nets.  The event is also geared towards new hams, so we need to send notices and flyers to all VEs in the section.  It may help to distribute flyers at retail locations like Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) and Main Trading Company (MTC).  Finally, some videos and past coverage from KC5HWB (Ham Radio 2.0) may help in promoting the event.

Need for Committee:  There were several people who helped with various aspects of the event, but all of the responsibility ultimately fell on Bill Caldwell AC5BC.  

Evaluations:  There was no standardized format for attendees to give evaluations on presentations.  Some of the deficiencies noted were given "unofficially" and "offline," so we need to create a better method of collecting information on what needs to be improved and what needs to be continued.

Projectors:  This one is simple enough to fix.  We need more projectors for presentations.  

Venue:  While there was plenty of space for the presentations, a bingo hall is smokey and dirty.  There were too many comments on this by attendees to ignore.  

All of the problems identified will be addressed by the new committee to make the next Mentorfest even better!


Here's what we did right:

Layout:  The round-robin format worked out great!  The turnout allowed some presenters to attend other presentations when they didn't have any attendees at theirs.  While the presenters enjoyed this, the goal was to have enough new attendees to keep every session filled.  

Presentations:  The presentations given were outstanding!  All of the presenters said they would gladly attend another event like this.  Several attendees remarked how much they enjoyed the presentations, and how much they learned by their attendance.  The time slot of 45 minutes for each presentation with a 15 minute break in between was right on the mark.  Presenters weren't over-burdened, and enough time was provided for the presentation and hands-on activities.

Email Reflector:  We received a lot of support and inquiries through the centralized email address  While all the planning parties may not have been directly involved with the questions and responses of the reflector, all parties concerned were certainly aware of what was going on.

Emergency Communications Trailers:  The trailer owners or custodians had a blast, and the attendees enjoyed checking them out.  Simply put, an event wouldn't work without them.

Club Tables:  The presence of clubs is a "win-win" for all.... the attendees, the clubs, and the event.


Over all, the event was a success.  The first event happened in 2004 with the idea of becoming an annual event.  While it was forgotten for the better part of 13 years, we are pleased to bring it back as an annual event as originally intended.  We thank all of the organizers, participants, supporters and clubs, and attendees.

This event wasn't organized by professionals... it was put together by amateurs and first-timers.  We look forward to seeing you at the next one!

To view the submitted photos from Mentorfest 2017, please visit the Mentorfest 2017 Photo Gallery