Why join an amateur radio club, part two
The original question posted was: what do members get from being part of an amateur radio club? Part one was posted here. This is part two.
Find the right club
- Try before you buy pertains to the clubs themselves and not just gear.
- Two of the four clubs in my area within reasonable driving range I won’t have anything to do with. They are saddled with the old timer – leaders who like everything just the way it is, like it was 40 years ago, and won’t consider changing anything. So if interested, check out the clubs available to you and visit as a quest for a good six months or so before you hand over de money.
- It might be worth pointing out the differences between a local amateur radio club, and (say) the ARRL…I’d recommend both. I would probably start with the local club first, as this gives you the invaluable face-to-face contact with other hams (both experienced and learning like you are), which could be essential for getting yourself actually going and feeling like you belong in this ham community.
- Be aware that clubs vary widely. Some concentrate on contesting, others on Elmering new hams, others on socializing. If you are lucky enough to be in an area with more than one, find one that suits your individual needs. Some clubs teach Technician license courses, so you don’t need to be a ham before joining.
Access to radio help
- Our club has over 200 members (http://www.dlarc.org). Combined we probably have 2,500 years of radio experience in our club. I have allot to learn and I usually find the help I need.
- Most of your problems and dilemmas have happened to someone else. Don’t learn the hard way. Ask someone who did.
Access to equipment
- Borrow don’t buy. I bet our club has 50 members who own an MFJ-259 antenna analyzer. I loan mine frequently. Think of all the other test equipment you would like to have but can’t afford. Someone probably will loan it to you.
- Equipment can be offered for sale to others.
Licensing, teaching, learning
- Clubs often sponsor license exam classes
- Presentations at meetings often introduce new ideas
- Help individuals reach goals such as WAS, DXCC, etc.
- Learning – more than radio, because hams are more than radio mavens, they are people with diverse backgrounds and can be interesting in their own right.
Support the club and community, helping others
- The amateur radio hobby is given visibility in the community.
- Clubs help by organizing activities: hamfest, community and emergency preparation, facilitating scout radio merit badge sessions, hosting scout JOTA, coordinating ARRL Field Day, helping each other, and antenna parties.
- It´s not enough to just join, show up at meetings. Become a part of the club, be an officer or committee member. Way to often it´s the same people running things.
- Paying civic rent when participating in public service events
Access/use of repeaters
- Correct me if wrong but would we have the repeaters too talk on if not for the clubs. I dob’t think there would be that many people who could or would put in the time and effort not including the monies spent on them.The clubs do this as a unified effort from what I understand. (Contrary opinion: I know of 2 repeaters in my area that are privately owned. The owners pay all the expenses.)
- Comradely with others with the same interest
- Repeaters just don´t run, they need maintenance and parts.
- Hams are people and even when they are well meaning they don’t always get along. Riley Holingsworth once said if there were a town with three
hams in it there would probably be two clubs. If an individual is financially able to operate one or more repeaters on his/her own it can eliminate a lot of problems that crop up with ‘management by committee.’ This is not to say that there is anything wrong with a club or ARES group operating a repeater. It’s just not always as simple.
Having fun, making friends, socializing
- Having fun – and doing stuff beyond the radio aspect.
- Making friends – beyond the radio aspect.
- Clubs provide a way to introduce yourself to other hams.
- Gets you out of the house and compels you to be social in ways sitting on the computer cannot.
- Networking… for some it can be a way to get known as a good guy in the community – much like joining the Jaycees or Rotary or AMBUCS or other community service clubs – and sometimes that exposure leads to business dealings.
We’re still taking comments, so if you have feedback about why people should join an amateur radio club, please add a comment below!