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A Call For Your Opinion...

What Direction To Take?

Calling members of SARC and our readers worldwide to participate.  Our hobby has seen changes over the last century, from nothing through significant DIY, to sophisticated computer-radio combinations.   How will our current membership enhance this legacy; how do our current “Elmers” see the future; what changes at the club level will best move this knowledge into the future.

Myself, as with many hams, employment and family building put radio into the background only to come alive as the nest empties.  This 25-year break opened my eyes to the huge differences; when I left transceivers were just coming in and being cautious of interference was between my station and the public.  That has reversed.

Now, about driving that legacy: “What direction should a club take to guide/drive our future?”  Here are a couple of thoughts upon which comments are invited/appreciated.

In BC over half of the population live in Strata aka HOA areas with accompanying by-laws relating to outside structures – Read that as no towers, masts, or dropping wire off your 20th floor balcony.
  • A local, country and world-wide effort to invalidate these big telecom supported by-laws such as FCC 98-273
  • Publicity to educate (propaganda?) that ham radio towers are insurance against natural disasters (e.g. After several disasters Japanese towers are a neighbourhood plus)
  • Ensure remote (internet) operation is part of the planning process and encourage participation
  • “Your suggestions here”
Our executive is heavily HF biased; not by design but that’s the way it worked out.  This means that direction often follows that same bias.
  • Suggestions for direction and legacy building is needed, neigh mandatory, from experienced VHF operators
  • Much public services involve VHF (parades, cycling events, car rallies) yet the local emergency services group has limited involvement.

There is so much more that cannot fit in this column.

We would like to hear from the Amateur community. Comment below, or better yet, PLEASE SEND SUGGESTIONS including what you, or your local club, are or would like to see happen.  Send to and we will publish a summary in an upcoming Communicator.

Have a happy holiday season, 73

Stan Williams VA7NF
SARC President


  1. That's a question for the ages. As an officer in my local club (Bluegrass Amateur Radio Society, Lexington, KY) I've been brainstorming ideas myself. A few of the strategies we've implemented is turning one of our rooms into a workshop...fully equipped with soldering stations, test equipment and practically every type of hand tool one would need to build or repair a piece of radio equipment. I'm building some lockers so that members can store their project securely in between times. The idea is to create a space that members want to use and gives them a "reason" to come to the shack. We have a very nice library that dates back almost 100 years. Some of our members are in the process of digitizing repair manuals, owners manuals sent in by members and farmed from the internet.
    We offer FREE education to anyone interested in the hobby. We've discussed buying a few cheap HT's to give as a reward from passing element 2.
    It's too soon to grade our results but people are showing up and they seem to be excited. In my opinion the hobby is kind of a lone wolf type of hobby so we need to keep the club active and offer services that are interesting to people...they need a reason to get out of the house.
    You may already be done many if these things but our club was stagnant and hadn't changed in 20 years... So these are new to us. At least people are getting excited and the new members are truly impressed with all of the stealth antenna projects they can build in the shop!

  2. Your aging and diminishing population was true in the UK and my club reflected that when I joined back in 1996. They were looking for a chairman in '97 so I volunteered and now it's a significant part of my life. We are very fortunate to have a club house exclusively to ourselves and it grew over the years into a very untidy junk holding centre. It's still a little untidy but the junk has been partitioned off in a separate area and is seen now as a resource to be sold off at our annual rally. This income keeps our fees low.

    Over the last few years our membership has grown slowly and steadily and is getting younger. Advertising such as it is depends solely on our web presence. It needs constant update and it tells of some of the stuff that we do.

    Our largest influx was during the period when the 3-tier examination system was being introduced. I took the last group of 10 through the full licence structure and now we only do the 3-tier system and now our premises and procedures are deemed satisfactory for taking all the examinations. At our peak we had 66 members, 11 of whom were YLs. It fell very quickly after that bulge and has settled down to its former number but with much younger members.

    The key to expansion in my view is to offer as much as possible and expect no return. Often that's the way, but over the years we've collected some very keen people so now we have experts in many fields beyond me and I get them to give briefings on their projects whenever possible and this gives others the opportunity to join in something they might not otherwise.

    Over the years we've done many public events like JOTA and TDOTA and stations at public meetings such as exhibitions but I don't recall any bringing new members. Perhaps we don't promote ourselves properly. All our new members have come to us after trawling the internet and then the struggle to actually find our well-hidden WW2 bunker. So they must be keen!

    Once they come through the door we keep them occupied and help them with their own ideas and they usually stay. We have just started sending short reports to the local paper to see if that catches anyone's eye.

    All the best in your venture
    David, G3UNA,
    Ripon And District Amateur Radio Society

  3. Reaching out to younger members involves identifying overlaps that appeal to their interests. Remember, these are some areas of HAM involvement that have a natural appeal to this group.

    1) Anything involving the outdoors - hiking or on the water
    2) Public Service and SAR
    3) Science - esp Space
    4) Technology involving the interface between radio and video and computers, mobile (phone/tablet) devices. Is there an App for that?
    5) Hyper community connection and volunteerism.

    Of course, the above is already underway but the concentration and perception has not yet caught up. I recently went to a Vancouver area swap meet and had to chuckle as it was the whitest/greyist group of us old duffers in the Lower Mainland. I’m 50 and feel like a kid in this hobby.

    This is a fantastic topic as there is so much potential. My 7 year old son is already asking questions about HAM radio and watching YouTube videos about it.

    I hope to drop by the club and chat more with members, but alas, working/commuting/family are some of my time challenges.

    Bruce Claggett
    Surrey, BC VE7HHI

  4. What a terrific topic to explore. I've found this posting through a mention on social media, a tweet to be precise. Shortwave and ham radio were important to my formation as a physics and computer sciences teacher, but they fell by the wayside as Internet technologies proliferated. Although I'm still teaching 35+ years later, I've been drawn, at least a little, back into the hobby via a $35 Baofeng handheld. The poster ahead of me raises very good suggestions. Besides, his call sign has me thinking back to the fellow who conducted the course (Maple Ridge Amateur Radio Club) that led to my license back in the 70s. His call was VE7HI.

  5. What Direction To Take?

    or if someone can say " to be or not to be ? there is the question now...

    my opinion is that we can not stop progres in any kind of human life, as well in Amateur Radio...
    means: we only must folow very fast growment in communication field and probably will become specialist in some aspect of our hobby ( or make some kind of layer and say Amateur Radio Digital,
    Amateur Radio Constructor , Amateur Radio Satellite Expert, Amateur Radio Contester, Field Amateur Radio Operator, Fox Hunter Amateur Radio, or something else Amateur Radio...

    9a2ki ico



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