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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!

Michael Cozzi (KD8TUT) on February 18, 2014
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Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!

Over the last year, as a new ham, I've had some great times, some really profound experiences, and some really bad experiences.

One of those bad experiences is the topic of this article.

Back in January 2013, I took the tech exam, passed with flying colors, and started looking for a venue to take the general. At that time my only source for finding a test was the ARRL site, so I found a test not too far away and went and upgraded two weeks later. Did the same for my Amateur Extra a few weeks after that- and reveled in my new "hamdom".

It was a wonderful experience, preparing for the exams, testing, being congratulated, and finally, after 30 years, getting on the air.

And then... it got a little ugly. To the point that I almost dropped out of two clubs.

One of the clubs I tested at, had left another club that was a "big gun repeater" organization, and started their own thing. It's a smallish repeater club, the guys seem cool, know their stuff, and were very encouraging to me.

The other club, has a massive repeater system which is kinda of the defacto repeater used in the area. Many of the guys are nice. Many have been helpful.

But what's the problem?

The politics. These clubs seemingly hate each other. And it's more than insane- it's insanely ridiculous.

On one hand, at the smaller club I have to listen to rehashing of the politics all the time at get togethers. on the other hand, at the "big gun club", the president came up to me when I joined and said "Guess you heard all about us". I've even been keyed over and told "Go back to blah blah blah". On the "big gun" repeater.

Frustrating... Especially since I'm not a political person. Nor was I around for the disputes. Nor would I lower myself to getting into petty differences with *anyone*. Life is too short.

However, this particular situation puts me in a situation that I have to deal with things, that "ain't my responsibility".

And quite frankly it stinks. And I'm not about to drop membership in one club, for the other.

But, what the people who are perpetrating this problem seem to miss. Is that you are not hurting yourselves, maybe you hurt your club, but you're really hurting new hams that you are graduating.

That's right... you're harming the hobby with your self importance. You are potentially running off talented and good natured individuals. In fact- you are actually doing it.

Now- I've got a thick skin. And tend to remain silent until I can have my say face to face in a respectful manner. But most (and I know a few) just walk away when confronted with childish behavior.

So having told my story, may I offer some advice to people who run clubs?

You know I'm going to do it anyway :)

Four Things an ARC Should Do:

1. Advance the knowledge of radio (Whatever mode[s] you're into)

2. Provide a social outlet.

3. Provide public service (If that's your thing)

4. Graduate new hams.

That's it. Everything else should be left out. But here's a list of things you definitely should not be doing:

1. Don't involve the club, the hams in the club, or new hams you've graduated in inter-club politics. It's wrong. It damages the hobby.

2. Don't stay silent if your membership is promoting inter-club politics. It damages the hobby.

3. Don't be an egoist! Yea you're club is great. Say it once.

4. Be respectful of hams that join you from other clubs. Even if you had a dispute with the club. And in the big picture.... What kind of dispute could really arise between ARCs? It's a hobby... it's like two quilting clubs going after each other with needles.

In my mind, the above points should not have to be addressed by a baby ham with a year under his belt. But address it I have.

That being said, I've not named these clubs. Shaming them is not going to do anything good. But perhaps, if someone says something. Maybe, if I open my mouth- some new ham who comes after me won't be put in the political "trick bag" as they are entering the hobby.

73

Michael KD8TUT

Member Comments:
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Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KC9YAJ on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Greetings Michael,

It sounds to me like you have experienced what I have, with just about every club or organization I ever joined. At some point after the first meeting, "the club" becomes more important than the reason it was organized in the first place. When you realize this you are best off to walk away and try to put "the club" out of your mind. What I have found with my online "friends" is that I can get as much guidance and help from them as I can from those I meet in person.

Sorry for your experience and congratulations on the AE ticket.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W1JKA on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It has been my experience with the few local ham clubs in my area that the word Amateur in ARC takes on a whole different meaning than anything related to Ham Radio.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby! They don't. You do.  
by AI2IA on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Clubs don't harm the hobby!
How absurd!
Ham radio is what you make it for yourself.
Don't like a club? Quit.
Join another club.
Don't join any club.
Start your own club.
Hams are not thin skinned people.
Hams are resilient. They bounce back always.

Don't be like a cat in the old New England saying:

If a cat sits on a hot stove, it won't sit on a hot stove again,, but it won't sit on a warm one either.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

No ham club will ever put real hams out of amateur radio.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby! They don't. You do.  
by K1CJS on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
No, it isn't clubs that harm the hobby, it's the cliques within the clubs that do. I've come across that same thing in a couple of the clubs I use to belong to. That's right--used to. I've found the same thing that he did--animosity between clubs, and even between the cliques within the clubs. I belong to what amounts to only one now, the one that we all belong to. Sit down at your equipment and attend!

Our hobby does not necessitate membership in a club. Why the average ham took up hamming in the first place is to use their ham radio for the same purpose of belonging to a hobby club--meeting people and talking to them.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K1WCC on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Although I sympathize with Michael's situation, I think I'd vote with my feet and find another club.

Or join a DX or contest group and work with some people who compete with each other in a healthy way.

Sounds like maybe a general interest club would be his best bet, rather than a repeater group.

73,
Henry B. K1WCC
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AC8ND on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I have had the same thing happen to me but it was in an autocross/motorsports club. When the insults and name calling between different clubs started, I said "When you grow up, give me a call but until then I'm out.".

No one ever called me back.

I'm new to amateur radio and the club I joined has been great so far.

Good luck.
Patrick
AC8ND
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K9MHZ on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There is another aspect to this......the nature of hams as a group. Hams are notoriously socially awkward, and many are just plain weird. It goes with anything that's "geeky". In the 80s, computer clubs sprang up with the advent of Commodores and IBM PC clones. Same deal, and some of those clubs were exactly as the OP has described above.

I think the people above who wrote "vote with your feet", "my club's great", etc are worth listening to. IMO, many of the nicest, most engaging and selfless people I've ever met are also ham operators in our group locally....and they are far, far more experienced, educated, and intelligent than the stereotypical dork "geeks" who get a pass because they're supposedly the smart ones.....THEY AREN'T.

Yes.....go somewhere else. There are many very good people out there. You don't have to hang with the awkward ones with no personalities or social skills, just because it's presumed that it goes with the ham radio territory.

Good luck....it's a great hobby with the right people!
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KD6HUC on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well I sure wish I could say that I've never experienced this sort of thing in my Ham career,but... Fortunately in the beginning for me(1991)I joined a club in Central California that was pretty neutral and always welcoming. I joined a club in 2008 after moving to Northwest Oregon that had numerous "cliques" within.This was the beginning of my political journey that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The population of my county is right around 30,000 people and we have no less than 5 different ham clubs,of which all but one is Public Service or emergency communications oriented. Back in California my local area had a population of over a million and only two clubs! I still have a blast on HF,but local VHF/UHF repeater activity is nil due to the stuffy atmosphere created by all the infighting. So terribly sad...
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KE6SLS on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Hams are notoriously socially awkward, . ."

Hahaha. Could not have defined it better than this!

We are very lucky in Humboldt. We have four clubs and ALL THE CLUBS work together. We, as local hams, work so many events and such, we need to have folks from all the clubs helping.

Yes, some of us are very odd ducks. I am often stymied by the thoughtlessness of many of our members who fail to personally meet new hams and non-hams that join us for a meeting. I make it a point to meet EVERY NEW PERSON and shake their hand and encourage them.

Same thing goes for the repeater users. New callsigns are wondering through our beautiful redwoods, ID on one of the linked machines and there is nothing but silence. SHEEESSSH folks, grab the mic and welcome a new brother or sister already!

Having a personality is not an FCC requirement :)

Glad to have ya on the air om. Enjoy, tinker and enjoy some more.

73 om.
j
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K2WH on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Clubs harm hamdom.

I don't know how many times the subject has come up so it surely seems that clubs DO harm hamdom. Clubs are basically collection agencies looking for cash to upgrade equipment or install new stuff.

But, a bigger matter is why do we have hams who feel the need to whine about this issue when we all know about it already.

Seems new hams just don't know how to deal with rejection, confrontation, politics and whatever else rears its ugly head in a so-called club.

K2WH
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by WU9I on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Leadership is very important, and voting in leadership shouldn't be just a choice of someone that will do the bare minimums. Clubs need management, and it takes skills and diplomacy and genuine time.

Achieving a useful consensus among members is important. I've been able to tell when clubs are ineffective because people get bored, and boredom is a fertile agar for all sorts of mischief.

Find an active club, one that's willing to experiment, one that has dedication. A wee bit of inter-club rivalry is ok. When it becomes obsessive, being a member is a waste of your time and theirs.

Another second to: vote with your feet.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K5LXP on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I've found that formal clubs do little to improve the ham radio experience. They serve to sap what little energy and enthusiasm exists among those motivated enough to volunteer their time and talent. Clubs just become a rote, boring and tedious exercise to perpetuate the mechanism of the club with all the formalities of officers, insurance, 503(c) status, a treasury, newsletters, venues and programs. I've been president of a few clubs now and I'm burned out to the point I won't even join a club much less serve in one.

Here in Albuquerque there are a bunch of guys that hang out together. We do hiking and SOTA, take road trips to hamfests, do Field Day and even sponsor one of the tailgate hamfests every year. No club, no dues, no elections, no meetings. It's a perfect system that has worked for the over 20 years I've participated with them.

Forget clubs and their attendant bureaucracy. Let the old duffers that don't know how to do anything else than follow Robert's rules play that game. Find a bunch of guys that do what you like to do and just do it. You don't need a club for that. Keep it simple, keep it fun.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by N8TI on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ham Radio operators are somewhat unique because our hobby often consists of sitting alone in front of a radio communicating with someone far away that you will never meet face to face. Yet, we tend to form clubs in which we do meet people face to face. Some people, unfortunately, simply can't make the adjustment.

My opinion is that life is too short to suffer fools. Keep trying until you find a good group if being in a club is what you want to do.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by F8WBD on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Here in Albuquerque there are a bunch of guys that hang out together. We do hiking and SOTA, take road trips to hamfests, do Field Day and even sponsor one of the tailgate hamfests every year. No club, no dues, no elections, no meetings. It's a perfect system that has worked for the over 20 years I've participated with them.

Forget clubs and their attendant bureaucracy. Let the old duffers that don't know how to do anything else than follow Robert's rules play that game. Find a bunch of guys that do what you like to do and just do it. You don't need a club for that. Keep it simple, keep it fun."

The above is a K5LXP quote and right on target.

 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB2DHG on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think this problem is only related to AMATEUR RADIO CLUBS...
Some if not all clubs have their bad apples. The problem is ego's.

Sometimes you get a few members that need to be the almighty power and control...and this is what can desrtoy a club.

I happen to belong to a really great Amateur Radio club and although I rarely make meetings due to vocational and family obligations, they (clubs) are a great asset to helping out and learning from.

If you cannot enjoy yourself at the club your with seek out another. If there is no other than try to get on the board and change it for the better! BUT LEAVE YOUR EGO AT HOME!

The key is having the membership be included and involved. and to make everyone feel welcome and important.

Just my take on it...

 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KF4HR on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Michael, with very few exceptions above, I'm sure you've noticed everyone pretty much agrees with you here, and have experienced similar situations.

Unfortunately some new hams come into this hobby thinking that thanks to their hard studying (or successful memorization) have allowed them to join the legacy of a beautiful friendly fraternity of hams. Truth is, hams are just another slice of the population, with all the good and bad personalities and traits every slice of the population has.

As for politics, almost anytime a group of people get together, expect politics to ensue, that's just life. But that doesn't mean you have to be part of it, or even listen to it. Don't be afraid to go your own way, or even start your own club - just be ready for all the bad traits to start coming out with some people. It happens.

In past situations I've seen local radio club membership only have a small fraction of the actual population of local hams, and for the same reasons you bring out. This is not uncommon.

Unfortunately I doubt your post will cause anyone to change their ways. Like everyone else, you'll eventually find hams you enjoying conversing with and being around, and you'll steer clear of those you don't.

Congrats on your new license.

KF4HR


 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KE7FD on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think if a club is hurting the hobby then folks could vote with their feet but maybe after seeing if the politics die down or escalate. There are several clubs in this area and as far as I know they all get along just fine. We "cross pollenate" at each others venues and some folks belong to multiple clubs. I do recall hearing about one club years ago that self destructed, which is not around anymore; those folks went to other clubs and things leveled out. Bad vibes don't serve anyone for very long, and almost immediately when someone says something negative about another person or group, red flags go up in the minds of everyone around them. "Open mouth, insert foot, rotate. Repeat."

For the most part I'd have to agree that what we see amongst hams as poor social skills is borne out in various ways and situations. I also think other clubs and groups have similar problems whether it's radio, basket weaving, knitting, even church groups as ironic as that seems, so human nature never sleeps.

Make the best of it and take from all these comments the best advice and do what it takes to keep good radio practice going with yourself and others around you. Always be the one who sets the best example.

imho,
Glen - KE7FD
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W6CAW on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Its the same in San Diego sometimes. I think some people take our hobby to seriously. Should be FUN first. Luckly I live in a remote area so, we started our own club. The MEARC KK6FBC. Rule 1, no politics! So far going well.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AJ4LN on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In the Northern Virginia area, I have only had good experiences among several clubs.

I am a member of 3 local ham clubs and 1 antique radio club and occasionally visit other local ham radio clubs, and I have never seen any fighting or politics between clubs. There are several other people in this area who are also active members of multiple clubs.

Sometimes the clubs even join together for activities, for example, 2 of the clubs I am a member of worked together recently to host a fox hunt event. And the clubs participate in each others activities, for example, one club runs the VA QSO party and other clubs actively participate, and one club even holds their March monthly meeting a week early to not coincide with the VA QSO party. And occasionally members of some clubs will do ham radio related presentations at other clubs' meetings.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W5TTW on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I prefer spending my time enjoying HF, as opposed to wasting it in a "big-gun repeater club." But to each his own.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KE4JOY on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It really is a shame that for most new operators there first exposure to the hobby is the repeaters, the 'society' and cliques sometimes associated with them.

There is so much more to this 'hobby' it boggles the mind.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The problem isn't clubs it's people. The same kind of people who harm clubs harm the threads here. Hell is other people. Why do you think I use a username other than my callsign? Dah!
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KI5WW on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Not to much to fast my friend. You should be all ears at this point. Form opinions with responsibility and respectability. Theres alot of info in all those people in both clubs. Yea, hams are temperamental
And dont try to fix that, pick your battles wisely. Or you could find yerself a babbling idiot with a drinking problem. Kick back, listen listen and listen some more. Theres nothing wrong with a little rivalry
Between clubs. If you take on some one from one club dont be surprised if several others from the other club step up and say, whats that new ass hole think hes doing to ol Uncle Buck over there. Hams not unlike anything else, take the bad for what it is, and savor the good, and learn from both. See the humor in the rivalry. I guarntee you theres plenty there. Glad to have you aboard. Grats on ur new liscence. Enjoy.

Try cw
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K8QV on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In many sad cases, the club becomes the hobby, not the radio.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by LONESTRANGER on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Long ago I took the advice of AI2IA.. if you don't like the club, then quit! So I quit. The local "club" is nothing but 2-meters and D-Star and EMComm wannabees. The last meeting I attended began with a 1-hour debate on what one sentence in the bylaws meant. My guest was insulted to his face, being called a "fool" for enjoying QRP CW and backpacking. Another ham openly bragged how he has worked 200 countries on 11 meters. Now if I had been a new guy interested in ham radio, how long do you think I would have remained interested?
Like someone else suggested, find others in your area that share the same operating style like you. Forget clubs, dues, bylaws, memberships, yada yada. I don't need a radio club for anything.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KT4EP on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I support two local clubs by keeping my membership current. That's it. In the early 90's I tested and got my Tech, General, and Advanced class license between these two clubs. They are the main entry point in this area for new hams. So I support them with my annual membership dues. I get their frequent newsletters by email but I'm not interested in most of the activities the clubs here promote. When I did attend meetings, I noticed the power seekers and cliques and both turned me off. Clubs don't harm the hobby; but some hams do.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K5TED on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You have privileges which give you access to the largest ARC of all.. HF.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by ONAIR on February 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Hams are notoriously socially awkward". Wait, are you saying that many of us Hams are nerds and dweebs? :)
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K5FH on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Sometimes you get a few members that need to be the almighty power and control...and this is what can destroy a club."

I would argue that this is what destroys clubs in the overwhelming majority of cases. It happened to a club I belonged to many years ago and that experience soured me on the idea of AR clubs from then on. Haven't been a member of any AR club for almost thirty years because of that bad experience.

The progression is always the same. One or two members with outsized egos bully their way into positions of authority. The membership soon starts dividing into cliques, then the cliques start fighting with each other. Club meetings become little more than arguments about Robert's Rules of Order and one clique blaming the club's problems on the other clique(s). It doesn't take long for many, and eventually most, members to decide that they have better things to do than attend meetings that sound like a typical day on 14.313 MHz.


 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KD7YVV on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I tend to agree, HF is the place to go.
I've been on repeaters where I've thrown out my call
and got nothing but dead silence. I'd listen, a local
would key up, and another local would pick him right up.
After their conversation is over, I'd throw my call out
again and be greeted by nothing but silence.
I went to one club meeting and ended up sitting by
myself. Oh well, people reap what they sow.
Sadly though, a lot of the older hams are going SK and
switching to receive only. Just recently 2 I know
have passed on, and although the League says that our
numbers are growing, you can't tell by the repeaters
by me. They could be silent (except for ID'ing) for days.
I've heard hams gripe about how it used to be, well
what changed? The lack of code? No, that can't be it.
Eliminating the code requirement has increased our
numbers so says the ARRL. I think maybe those hams who
were licensed in the 30's-70's forget to pay it forward. Even in today's instantaneous access to news,
information, and people, the magic of radio still
holds wonder for me. One explanation of why we are
called hams was given to me when I was a kid.
I asked a ham why they were called hams, and he said,
ham stands for "Helping Amateurs Mature" meaning
to elmer a new ham. Granted, today's youth is more
interested in the latest cellphone or whatever doodad
is the flavor of the day. Sadly very few or none will
ever feel the spark.....

 
Hey, kiddies! It's time for the parade!  
by AI2IA on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well, well, here we are at the long drawn out bottom of this whiner thread. It is now time for the parade! Here they come, the ham side-liners and misfits:
Snob hams, code only hams, the hams of the golden age of radio, whiner hams, gloom and doom hams, self-hating hams, emcomm hating hams, ARRL hating hams, mocking "out of the box" and "newbie" hating hams, "QRO stomps QRP" hams, the good old boy hams, vanity call hating hams, "I've been a ham longer than you" hams, contest hating hams, ragchew hating hams, repeater hating hams, private frequency hams.
Gee! What a parade! All on eHam.net, and ready at a moments notice to drag up all the old arguments and thrash them once again, and again, and again.

Ain't it the truth?
Sure is!
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K1CJS on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>"Sometimes you get a few members that need to be the almighty power and control...and this is what can destroy a club."<<

Bingo! In a club I used to belong to, there is one such ham--he has to be the center of everything, and the club he 'belongs' to is de facto run by him--but he can't be bothered to take any of the officers seats. He demands that the officers listen to him and do as he says, (and sadly, those puppets do) and if anyone comes along that won't go along with his wishes he demands that the outsider comply with his directives--if that outsider won't, he'll do his best to ruin that person's reputation.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB2FCV on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry to hear of the negative experience you had at the two particular clubs. Ham radio is so much more than just repeaters or repeater clubs. I'd keep looking around for other clubs that might be of interest to you. The particular club I belong to does not have a repeater and they have people with all sorts of different interests and have interesting meeting topics. For me politics get old in any type of organization. Keep looking around and don't get discouraged. In the mean time get on the air and have fun!
 
RE: Hey, kiddies! It's time for the parade!  
by K1CJS on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Whiner thread? Maybe in your view, but I don't think so. This discussion has merit, both to show what can and does go on--and to suggest things that may serve to stop these things from happening so often.

I wish that people wouldn't slap labels on things that they simply don't like just for the h*ll of it. This does have to do with ham radio and the purposes of this site--to advance the hobby.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K2JX on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

Mike,

I'm in the hobby over 40 odd years, what you described has been going on since forever in some not all clubs. It's the same with ARES & RACES although not clubs they have their own politics. If you don't like the politics there are several ways to go. As a Ham you really don't need to be a club member to enjoy the hobby. As far as repeater groups go, well again it's not a requirement you use the repeater or join the organization.

The only organization you might want to be a member of is the ARRL if your not already. I don't always agree with ARRL, but they are the loudest voice for Ham radio in this country. Who knows what Ham radio would be without that "voice". So, don't despair, get on HF or find your niche in Ham radio as most of us have and enjoy this great hobby-service.

73/Jack K2JX

 
The real stumbling block--most of the time  
by K1CJS on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The one thing that is the cause of most of the discord and ill will in most clubs are physical possessions. It seems that as long as a club is a loose social organization with no need to charge dues or no 'assets' such as a repeater or club station, the club can exist with all members in harmony.

But just let any sort of club possessions, such as a treasury or physical property come into the mix, and all h*ll breaks loose! Just about everyone has their own ideas of what is to be done or how the assets are to be handled. Even a nebulous possession, such as an affiliation with a local government agency or an outside the club company can cause discord in a club.

Regrettably, there is no simple fix for those things unless everyone agrees to be on the same page, and that rarely happens.

 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB2DHG on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well my friend, you really hit a cord with some of our Freternity...
Bottom line and as you can clearly see from the responces you have gotten so far, CLUBS ALL, do have their problems...

Honestly, just enjoy yourself, that is, this is a hobby, hobbys are supposed to be fun and to me THIS WONDERFUL HOBBY OF AMATER RADIO IS FUN..

Forget clubs for the moment and just get on the air...
Try different modes, contest (if thats your thing) DXing, QSLing, Antenna experamenting, Kit building there is SO MUCH to do with this hobby that is just an endless great experence. A club is just a small part of it and if you cannot find a good club, don't despair! Try to find a good NET. Yes there actually are many good nets on the air you can join which is like having a club in your shack...

I have been involved in this hobby for many years and NEVER got discouraged, in fact I find it just as exciting as I did that first day I made my first contact!
So get on the air OM, it's like fishing you never know what your going to find.
I also agree that The ARRL is the best club to join. They are our only defence in keeping this time honored hobby alive...

NO clubs don't harm the hobby... not getting on the air and making contacts and friends all over the world does! So go pound that brass, grab that mike or tap thoes key boards... 73 I will be listining for you, DE: KB2DHG
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KD8TUT on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@KB2DHG

Boy it seems I sure have hit a cord!! And that's great!!

By nature, I write a lot. So being able to submit articles here to be seen by a wider group is wonderful.

One of my beliefs (ideas... personal tenets?) is that good writing is honest. So what gets written isn't always going to be received well, popular, or perhaps even "good".

At the same time, this is an unusual article for me. Stirring the pot isn't a majority of what I do.

Just wait until the podcast starts!! ;)
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K8QV on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think I just figured out why CW is hated by so many. It requires spelling.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AG6WT on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Michael,

As Chris K1CJS said, the politics is probably all about possessions: whoever owns the repeater(s) is probably also deciding who is welcome on it and what can be said on it.

Look for a club that ISN'T a repeater club. I belong to a very successful and welcoming club that doesn't own a repeater. We use one that is shared with a couple of other clubs but we don't OWN it. Our club's focus is working FM/SSB/CW simplex on 2m and HF, and especially getting techs on 2m and 10m simplex. The only time we really use the repeater is for a short club net, emcom drills, communicating to teams during fox hunts, coordinating HF round-table ragchews, etc.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The Club becomes the addiction just like AA become the new addiction for the drinker.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Thirty percent of people are scumbags, fifty percent are semi dysfunctional but want to be better, and twenty percent are well functioning and reasonable.

That's in 2014 - much different than when I was young. That's the rule of thumb I use when deciding to walk down the street, join a club, go to a movie, or whatever.

I associate with some family but otherwise I go lone wolf. If I go to the grocery store I'm armed to the teeth. No FICO number, no credit ever, no social sites, no posting online to anyone who knows where I live or what my real name is.

aka Ron

 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Don't get me wrong. The percentage rule applies to millionaires, all other levels, minorities, ethnic groups, churches, poiticians, you name it.

In some countries authorities are so scrict that there is no crime but only because penalties are severe. The percentages are the same.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KG0MN on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Let me preface by saying I am a 100% disable veteran. I did belong to a local ham club here in the cities and my wife who happens to be a ham as well would accompany me to the club meeting. We would make an effort to speak to as many people as possible when attending and when seated we would always attempt to start up a conversation. Doing this I have had more people either get up and move to another seat or or plan ignore our comments. I can assure we both bathe and brush our teeth so BO was not the problem.

The final blow came when a roof mounted yagi had two elements twist on the boom due to high winds. For two weeks I asked for assistance from a club member to help straighten them out, but no one came forward to offer help. So I contacted the president of the club and asked if he might but something in the monthly newsletter about my need for assistance. He did as he said and I never got one reply. That was enough for me, I know this is not the way all clubs are, but this one has made me shy away from joining another.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K8TB on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Michael,
Interesting notes and replies.

But for the others who are looking at this thread, do yourself a favor and spend five minutes reading about Michael's Dad on KD8TUT QRZ page.

Worth your time

K8TB
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by WA4ZXV on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It's a tough mix: folks that have been around for years and the newcomer. Hams are notorious for saying things like "we'll do it just like last year". When 30% of the room wasn't there last year. That follows through when explaining modes and methods. A lot of abbreviations and acronyms. Add to that the the number of meetings the old timers have attended and difference in age, and you have a huge wall between new and old. The clubs that grow tend to keep their members. They do that by listening, always being aware of the new hams in the room and sharing fun experiences. I'm in several clubs and attend a lot of meetings. None of them dwell on the politics. They are about good programs, operating activities, public service, field day and of course food. We do from time to time have a little competition on field day or JOTA or membership totals, but those are just to keep us on our toes.

I moved to the Atlanta area back in mid 90's. One of the clubs saw my change of address and gave me a call. A couple months later I attended their field day. Seems everyone had something to do and they didn't really need any help. What was a new guy to do? We'll I carried water, spread out some power cables and next thing you know they were asking me to help in other places.
1. I realized most had done this many time before and really didn't want to take time for a newbee.
2. I realized many had been working for a couple hours if not more before I arrived. They were tired and hot.
3. I wasn't about to give up getting in on the fun.

I've seen new hams at some of our activities looking just a little overwhelmed or maybe put out. It's tough to make everyone comfortable all the time. But some of us try, and I believe we are making some headway.

It's not a bad thing to communicate with club leadership and let them know how you feel about their clubs performance and ability to give you what you want from their club. And if they are not responsive, move on. There are about 2,000 hams in my county. Probably 40% are active and less than 14% belong to any club. I see them at hamfests, see their comments here and other online places, so I know they are out there. But joining a club is not their "thing". It's not for everyone.

Good luck and 73 Norm
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W6SDM on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
When clubs in any hobby politicize their agenda, they harm themselves and the reputation of their organization. People will simply leave an organization if it stops being fun or becomes uncomfortable. If they care about the hobby, they won't leave it, they will either operate on their own or find another club.

I have seen this in ham clubs, off road vehicle clubs, stamp collecting clubs, and the Republican Party. Probably happens with the Democrats too, I just haven't been there to witness it.

Ham clubs serve a valuable purpose. There is VE testing, Field Day and other activity, antenna raising parties, and exam studies just to name a few. If a club is dysfunctional, look to the leadership. If they're unresponsive, look elsewhere.

 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
When you're young it's ok to be cautious and screen people. You don't know enough about life to protect yourself but you have enough time to practice. The young feel invulnerable so they take a lot of chances and often die young.

When you get older there is not enough time left to screen others but you know who you can trust unless there is money or romance involved. If you are wise you have evolved past those.

The world is basically bad and suffering is the path. Everybody. That's why Americans are so miseable. They want to be happy all the time. The truly happy have made peace with suffering. If you are bad you destroy yourself but take others with you. If you are decent the key is to die without hatred in your heart. Don't let the bad take you where they are going.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W0DLR on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Personally I wouldn't give you .10 cents for all the radio clubs in SW Missouri piled up in a pile. I haven't belonged to one since the last 1960's. I'm sure they feel that way about me, I could care less. I just do my own radio thing and avoid certain frequencies. For the most part all nets eventually turn into piss & moan societies.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ham clubs are a microcosm of life, the world, the universe.......
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Cancer is bad cells trying to take over the body by killing healthy cells. The body can be seen as a microcosm of the country. The country is represented by the Body Politic - Individuals with bad ideas that infect a country and seriously threaten the future of the country.

Don't ask which side is the cancer. If anyone has to ask it would be pointless to tell them.

Sorry for the off subject but I'm on a roll.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by RSHIRE22 on February 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The Body Politic bit is a quote by Michael Savage. Far smarter than I.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AE5QB on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Most people approach clubs of any kind like a marriage, they are looking for what's in it for them. They want to learn, leverage the knowledge of others, and just come in for the fun and snacks. And there-in lies the problem. Those who don't participate or give back complain about those who run the place. Those who run the place complain about those who don't participate. Soon the cliques and the "I don't care what you think" groups pop up. "Can you operate as net control on the Tuesday night net?" "Uh well gee, I'd like to but..." "Can you present at the March meeting?" "Uhhh, well, no, I don't do good in front of others." "OK, can you bring cookies or coffee to the meeting?" "Uhhh, well, uhhh, I'll try but if someone else could do it that would be great." "Are you planning to come to the meeting." "Oh sure, as long as there is a great program and lots of cookies."

The best clubs are those not too serious, not too formal, and not too structured. 10 or 15 guys who get together for breakfast to bitch about the current state of affairs and whine about the good ole days will be much more successful than a club with 150 people and formal meetings once a month.

To the OP, if you want to improve the club, become an officer and show them how to do it. But don't be surprised if you find yourself souring a bit as "the club" doesn't fall into lockstep with what you think it should be.

I belong to what I consider to be a pretty good club but I will say that without a doubt the very best club I have ever been affiliated with is one that never has a face to face club meeting. The dues are 0. You never have to bring cookies. You just meet a few times during the month to have fun - SKCC. Try them out if you are looking for an inviting and fun experience.

Tom/AE5QB
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W9HQE on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The local club here is full of stuffed shirts that if you are new to the hobby strike one if you don't fit in strike two and if you are not ex or current university worker or student strike three. In other words its hard to get them to open up to you sad but true. This is the greatest hobby ever and teaching new hams is one of the greatest joys of the hobby. I guess the old timers forget where they came from.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by G3SEA on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

Clubs like any organization are a reflection of society
in general where you will find a wide diversity of people,personalities,opinions and ideas and Politics.

My 'Club' consists simply of the all the neat Hams I encounter in the hobby no matter where or the mode or system used.

KH6/G3SEA
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AI2IA on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Generalizations about clubs are worthless.
If you don't like one, then find another.

These sort of topics just generate opinions that result in no improvements.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KI5WW on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I fail to see what "power trip" there is in a arc club. I dont even mention the fact that i belong to one. I can count on one hand how many people over the years that were impressed by the fact i had a lisc. And i can count how many of my 3 xwives or slew of girl friends that were impressed. Most just look at me and say "why"? So wheres the power trip? The hobby is important to me, so i dont care what others may think, i enjoy it. But ive learned over the many years that its kinda like owning a moped, lot of fun to ride, but i dont want any of my friends see me ridding it. Enjoy your tme in the shack as i do. It beats the hell out of golf!

Oh i just remembered who was impressed i had a ham lisc. My USCG recruiter in 1976. I could have entered basic training as a e3 and radioman school. I went Boatswains mate instead. I kinda wish id went radioman now Oh well.....
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by XE1UFO on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Michael KD8TUT:

Congratulations on your new license, and a well written article on a problem that really does exist in hamdom. I have had some great ham club experiences and some terrible ones. And the bad ones always result in some great people giving up on our great hobby, and reducing our ranks.

Steve, XE1UFO -- KA5SUT
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K6CRC on February 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Not just a Ham problem. I have seen the same in a marquis old car club, audio club, and several professional organizations. A combination of well meaning, but completely ineffective people and overbearing jerks who just want to escape the house. Seems to be the same in all clubs. I think they all watch cable news too much.

I solved the problem. Have friends in different areas of interest, try to make new ones, and avoid clubs.

It is a hobby, enjoy.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K1PJR on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with K6CRC. It's a problem with all non professional organizations. Years ago I was an EMT with a local volunteer EMS
service. Nice people but cliques galore. Of course you also had your wannabes. The ones with every conceivable piece of emergency gear. It was hilarious. Now I volunteer in a hospital ER. The difference is I'm the only one on my shift so it's just me and the medical staff. Zero drama.

Anytime you get involved with any group you are bound to have issues unless everyone is secure in who they are and they leave their egos at home but that's a longshot. It's a hobby. It's supposed to be fun. If a club is frustrating then move on.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K9MHZ on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>by K6CRC on February 20, 2014....Not just a Ham problem. I have seen the same in a marquis old car club, audio club, and several professional organizations. A combination of well meaning, but completely ineffective people and overbearing jerks who just want to escape the house. Seems to be the same in all clubs....<<<<

>>>>by K1PJR on February 21, 2014....It's a problem with all non professional organizations. Years ago I was an EMT with a local volunteer EMS
service. Nice people but cliques galore....Anytime you get involved with any group you are bound to have issues....<<<<


Oh yeah, couldn't agree more with all of the above. Just try and volunteer in a large Boy Scout troop, or in the boosters organization of a large high school band. Even church isn't immune. Oftentimes, it's the LEAST capable people who end up rising in the ranks of these organizations.....those who have no business leading anything, but have only this as their claim to some kind of fame or importance in life. It's really sick.

Coming back from long overseas deployments and then getting reacquainted to civilian "leadership" in various aspects of life was always eye-opening.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by N7WY on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You should attend a few meetings of a club before even thinking about joining it. K6AA = United Radio Amateur Club was a very interesting amalgam of interests, but devoid of cliques. You found guys who liked homebrew, DXers, contesters, Field Day fanatics, and those devoted to EMComm. The club had 160 members allowing for each of these diverse interests to have a substantial following. A club that has a sole focus, and EMcomm is often the glue, can be demanding that newbies toe the line, and accept the doctrine that all members must abide. If this heppens, and is not to your liking, don't apply for membership. A power play in the leadership is often a source for a malignant organization that should be avoided. As others have pointed out, this is not unique to ham radio - I experienced it in youth sports organizations, too.

So, see if you can find some folks who have the same interests that you have. If they belong to a club, maybe it will interest you as well. Heck, you don't even really need a club, perhaps just a lunchtime meeting once a month will allow you to bond with them, and share common interests. You don't need to have IRS Rule 503 adding to the overhead, so maybe you don't want to form a club that collects dues.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W1XWX on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I belong to 4 different radio clubs; they each have unique "personalities".

Some are very SOCIAL some are not. Most all hobby clubs are made up of groups of people with different interests. I tend to think of a ham radio club as a big tent with multiple TRIBES inside. Some are interested in the technical aspects of the hobby, some just to socialize with other hams, and others that just want to learn how to operate in specific modes.

They tend to group around- Social only, digital, CW, Aprs and emergency communications, awards, and traffic management. This is not a bad thing since you can jump from one group to another to learn. You need to find a club with the MOST "tribes".
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W1XWX on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I belong to 4 different radio clubs; they each have unique "personalities".

Some are very SOCIAL some are not. Most all hobby clubs are made up of groups of people with different interests. I tend to think of a ham radio club as a big tent with multiple TRIBES inside. Some are interested in the technical aspects of the hobby, some just to socialize with other hams, and others that just want to learn how to operate in specific modes.

They tend to group around- Social only, digital, CW, Aprs and emergency communications, awards, and traffic management. This is not a bad thing since you can jump from one group to another to learn. You need to find a club with the MOST "tribes".
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W1XWX on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I belong to 4 different radio clubs; they each have unique "personalities".

Some are very SOCIAL some are not. Most all hobby clubs are made up of groups of people with different interests. I tend to think of a ham radio club as a big tent with multiple TRIBES inside. Some are interested in the technical aspects of the hobby, some just to socialize with other hams, and others that just want to learn how to operate in specific modes.

They tend to group around- Social only, digital, CW, Aprs and emergency communications, awards, and traffic management. This is not a bad thing since you can jump from one group to another to learn. You need to find a club with the MOST "tribes".
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W1XWX on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I belong to 4 different radio clubs; they each have unique "personalities".

Some are very SOCIAL some are not. Most all hobby clubs are made up of groups of people with different interests. I tend to think of a ham radio club as a big tent with multiple TRIBES inside. Some are interested in the technical aspects of the hobby, some just to socialize with other hams, and others that just want to learn how to operate in specific modes.

They tend to group around- Social only, digital, CW, Aprs and emergency communications, awards, and traffic management. This is not a bad thing since you can jump from one group to another to learn. You need to find a club with the MOST "tribes".
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K1LLR on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
radio club Portsmouth NH, den of thieves, back stabbers and story tellers. A license can be bought for a price. Stay clear. Most older members no longer there because of corruption.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W5TTW on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
by RSHIRE22 on February 18, 2014 "Why do you think I use a username other than my callsign?"

Since you asked...I think that you (and others) don't post with a callsign because you do not possess one. We identify ourselves on the air. Why would licensed operators be afraid to identify themselves in a fraternal forum? If you fear or have disdain for those that post here, you are clearly in the wrong place.

You asked.


 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KT0F on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!


Excellent comments by all.

I have had the fortune to be a part of many clubs over my 33 year ham hobby and have made some observations about clubs in general. Hopefully, the commentary will aid in solutions for all hams, no matter their level of participation in the hobby.

Especially in larger cities, You will have the opportunity to join many clubs. I have had the fortune to live in the Denver metro area. The selection of clubs is staggering, and many are excellent. For those clubs that are not, simple changes as an outsider can effect almost unbelievable change. Following are tips I believe can assist a club excel:

1) Encourage hams, especially new to your club, to build relationships with other clubs. Those new to the hobby will appreciate the cooperation that your club encourages with other organizations, ending, immediately, a miopic approach that your club is better, or superior and will open paths for other clubs to join yours.

2) Welcoming new hams by waiving initial membership fees as an encouragement to include them and give an extra boost to an initial membership. Cost....$20 or $30?

3) Explain, especially to new hams, the function of the club and the direction of the club and welcome input. Those ignored will likely not return and few clubs can survive that.

4) Failing participation in any club, create your own, as suggested earlier. Augmenting your protestations as means to create a club can foster a relationship with amateurs that otherwise would not join a club and usually gather those with similar interests.

As witness to many new clubs, and I understand it is a Denver only viewpoint, I am always amplified (no pun intended) when I see a new club form. Edge of Space Sciences, The Colorado QRP Club, etc have been formed from and after my initial licensure. ALL of the new clubs offer great opportunity and fresh beginnings.

Your options are endless, much like this wonderful hobby.

73
John
KT0F
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by HAMFESTS on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One thing I didn't notice being said in all the replies is where are the current successful clubs in different areas. That might help someone reading this thread choose a club in an area.

Sometimes I wish I was born in another place and time and was a member of the NORCAL QRP club with Jim Cates, Wayne Burdick, Doug Hendricks, and others when it was kitting radios and had such a great newsletter.

That club had such a golden age. I wish there was a thread about other clubs having a similar time, like a history lesson on successful clubs past and current.

 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KC3JV on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I have been a member of HARC in Philadelphia PA for many years. Our club has people with many different interests. Some love chasing DX, others Public Service, and Ssome like me like the technical aspects of HAM Radio. The only thing we don't do is hold classes and testing. We get along well with a number of other clubs and do joint contests such as Field Day, William Penn Commemoration, 13 colonies.

It works and we have FUN witch is the operative word!

Mark, KC3JV
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KL7AJ on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The emergence of the repeater has probably ruined more radio clubs than any other singular issue. I've experienced exactly what you have, numerous times. This is why we NEED to get new hams into non-repeater activities just as soon as humanly possible.

The pattern is predictable. I have no problem with anyone forming a repeater club. But the way things are normally done...and I've seen this repeated countless times since the 1970s...is a group of very vocal and political repeater folks HIJACK long-standing general interest clubs and force it into their mold. This very effectively drives away any youth. The pattern is so consistent as to make one believe there's a conspiracy to destroy the general interest club.

Most contesters, DXers and others I know avoid clubs altogether....they're too busy doing ham radio to be involved in the politics.

I don't know if there's really a solution to this...other than to go out and form a general interest traditional club whenever the repeater nazis come into control. Maybe that's a good thing...keep things stirred up a bit.

Eric

 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by STRAIGHTKEY on February 21, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"The emergence of the repeater has probably ruined more radio clubs than any other singular issue."

Exactly. And the second biggest thing that has ruined clubs has been emcomm.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB1WCV on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It always props up it's ugly head. Some other insulting criteria that must be met by the "real HAMS." In this case, if a newbie gets discouraged from the attitude of a club and leaves, then he must not be a "real HAM." As stated in an earlier post in this thread. I am sorry I am not a "real HAM" because I don't fit your bill. Implications are woven tightly within the first impression, and an ongoing one. And if the impression is that I must meet some other criteria to be in the club other than an interest in the hobby, then we should be offended because we see the hypocricy of those who say they are there for the interest of the hobby but are actually there to exalt themselves. If they are willing to do that to other established HAM clubs then how much more will they do it to me? In my opinion, it would be time to leave. That's why I like eHam.net. Good posts and we can pick our Sensai/Elmer.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB1WCV on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It always props up it's ugly head. Some other insulting criteria that must be met by the "real HAMS." In this case, if a newbie gets discouraged from the attitude of a club and leaves, then he must not be a "real HAM." As stated in an earlier post in this thread. I am sorry I am not a "real HAM" because I don't fit your bill. Implications are woven tightly within the first impression, and an ongoing one. And if the impression is that I must meet some other criteria to be in the club other than an interest in the hobby, then we should be offended because we see the hypocricy of those who say they are there for the interest of the hobby but are actually there to exalt themselves. If they are willing to do that to other established HAM clubs then how much more will they do it to me? In my opinion, it would be time to leave. That's why I like eHam.net. Good posts and we can pick our Sensai/Elmer.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB1WCV on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It always props up it's ugly head. Some other insulting criteria that must be met by the "real HAMS." In this case, if a newbie gets discouraged from the attitude of a club and leaves, then he must not be a "real HAM." As stated in an earlier post in this thread. I am sorry I am not a "real HAM" because I don't fit your bill. Implications are woven tightly within the first impression, and an ongoing one. And if the impression is that I must meet some other criteria to be in the club other than an interest in the hobby, then we should be offended because we see the hypocricy of those who say they are there for the interest of the hobby but are actually there to exalt themselves. If they are willing to do that to other established HAM clubs then how much more will they do it to me? In my opinion, it would be time to leave. That's why I like eHam.net. Good posts and we can pick our Sensai/Elmer.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K9MHZ on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
What keeps people stoked about the hobby is common interest. Eric stated it well above......have a purpose, a special interest ("SIG" as they were called in the PC clone dial-up
BBS days). Otherwise, people will focus on each other instead, and that's when conflicts begin.

Experimenting, tweaking, building, you name it. To just put up another generic 2 meter FM repeater and expect this grand, enriching ham radio experience for the users is a joke. Even in the repeater world, there are so many other options...bands, digital ops, adapting commercial gear, etc.

A formal club centered around a 2 meter or 70 cm FM machine is about as interesting as the Jerry Springer Show. Quite similar, too.

 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AE5QB on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Oh yeah, couldn't agree more with all of the above. Just try and volunteer in a large Boy Scout troop, or in the boosters organization of a large high school band. Even church isn't immune. Oftentimes, it's the LEAST capable people who end up rising in the ranks of these organizations.....those who have no business leading anything, but have only this as their claim to some kind of fame or importance in life. It's really sick."

Really? Not my experience. The biggest issue is trying to find people willing to serve. There are lots of armchair quarterbacks out there but we struggle to find people willing to hold office positions in our club. Of course they all have legitimate reasons for not serving, but they have plenty of criticism and advice for those in the positions.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AE5QB on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Oh yeah, couldn't agree more with all of the above. Just try and volunteer in a large Boy Scout troop, or in the boosters organization of a large high school band. Even church isn't immune. Oftentimes, it's the LEAST capable people who end up rising in the ranks of these organizations.....those who have no business leading anything, but have only this as their claim to some kind of fame or importance in life. It's really sick."

Really? Not my experience. The biggest issue is trying to find people willing to serve. There are lots of armchair quarterbacks out there but we struggle to find people willing to hold office positions in our club. Of course they all have legitimate reasons for not serving, but they have plenty of criticism and advice for those in the positions.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AE5QB on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Oh yeah, couldn't agree more with all of the above. Just try and volunteer in a large Boy Scout troop, or in the boosters organization of a large high school band. Even church isn't immune. Oftentimes, it's the LEAST capable people who end up rising in the ranks of these organizations.....those who have no business leading anything, but have only this as their claim to some kind of fame or importance in life. It's really sick."

Really? Not my experience. The biggest issue is trying to find people willing to serve. There are lots of armchair quarterbacks out there but we struggle to find people willing to hold office positions in our club. Of course they all have legitimate reasons for not serving, but they have plenty of criticism and advice for those in the positions.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K9MHZ on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
(You only need to post once to make your point)

Yes, that's understandably frustrating, and those "armchair" critics are useless individuals. My point is that many who DO volunteer ruin an otherwise fine organization. Probably a discussion way beyond the scope of eHam banter, but effective leadership is tough, and not merely for those who need some validation in their lives. I get the impression we're actually on the same page here.
 
Great post, clubs  
by W3TTT on February 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Clubs are great if they provide what you are looking for.

Para me, I am looking for social fun with guys and gals that have a similar interest. But underline the words "social" and "fun". I don't really care about the repeater hardware, or the bus loaded with gear for field day. Unless it leads to fun and social interaction.

Otherwise, if the club is not that, then it is not what I am looking for in a club. I then would stay home and call CQ.

Isn't this what most of us are looking for? (Answering my own rhetorical question) Maybe. And perhaps I am a poor judge of character and really most club attendees are looking for power and prestige. But that is not me.

 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by N9AVY on February 23, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Seems to me that you need to find another club that will meet your expectations. There are many fine clubs out there, but you have to find them. Back in 1978 I helped start a club which was primarily a Field Day club and that worked for many years, but eventually people lost interest in Field Day and it changed into a general interest club. Times change and a club has to change with them. A few years ago, the club was down to about 6 members and we had to re-invent the club. So, we got some really dynamic officers with lots of experience, instituted monthly programs on a wide variety of subjects, after meeting meetings at local pizza place, and published a monthly newsletter. In time membership went from 6 to around 80 and meetings are sometimes standing room only. We also allow a half hour or so before meetings for members/visitors to socialize. It's also important to find a meeting location that is easy to find. We had a location that was in the "back woods" and was difficult to find and when local politics got involved we moved. There are also occasional "board meetings" to discuss changes in club policies, etc.. The club is not perfect, but it's something the members can live with.
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AE5QB on February 23, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I did only post once. Look through the thread, there is a technical issue creating multiple posts.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KE5TJT on February 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know if it matters to everyone, but I've long heard that people down here in south Louisiana are the friendliest you'll meet anywhere. Well, my first contact was with someone from a local club. I was brand new, didn't know anything, and when I said my call sign I was immediately greeted by a gruff, yet friendly, voice. I could tell he was a little bit questioning whether I was legit because I had JUST got my radio hooked up in my truck and got my SWR's down and was ready to talk. I still talk to him to this day, and there is one guy from the other club who I talk to all the time. I told him "Oh man, I'm from the Lafayette club, is that ok?" He was almost insulted, he was like "Of course that's ok, we don't care what club or any club you are a member of, we're glad to have you on the air!" They've invited me SEVERAL times to their gatherings and hamfests and I'm always too busy. I know some of these guys are in their 70's and I want to meet them before the Lord pulls them to heaven because they have always greeted me with open arms on the air, even when I was a newbie and was nervous to key up. People like them make Ham radio a true blessing. Thanks Herman and Mel. You know who you are. If you read this, yes, you two helped me a lot when I was new and I WILL make time to meet you guys one day. We will have to go stuff ourselves with pizza!
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KD8TUT on March 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks to everyone for the feedback on the article. I certainly do not think my article will change the world.

However, if it's changed a few minds, then that's a start.

Sometimes I think we, as radio amateurs, blow our egos up a little too big, and sometimes that can harm the hobby or people within the hobby- by ridiculing them or discouraging them. We're supposed to be a fraternity, with long standing traditions- we should act in that manner.

So the bottom line for me, is personal and institutional responsibility. And I hope those that were critical of my views were at least able to see a genuine desire for things to be better.

Until the next article...

73, KD8TUT
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KB6QXM on March 2, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
IN MY OPINION....

I do not believe that the issues seen with people in ham clubs is no the clubs, it is the culture. I had an interesting experience when I left ham radio for a couple of decades. In the past when a ham would announce a tower party, hams would line up to help to get the new club member's tower raised. When I joined my local club after my 2 decade absence from the hobby, I put out a QST to the club that I was considering having a tower party. (Food and beverages paid for by me). I received one response from the QST and the response was "how much are you going to pay me to put your tower up".

HUH? The culture has changed, not just in ham radio, but the entire culture. When asking for assistance from club members for antenna projects or anything else, I have received little to no response. I believe it is a downward spiral in society. Don't believe that joining another club will help. IN MY OPINION, the culture has changed. If you enjoy hanging out with the people at club meetings, great...but do not expect anyone to lift a finger to help you.

73
 
RE: Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by AC7CW on March 4, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I moved to a retirement place, 200 people, all sharing the dining hall. The first thing that happened was that a few people attacked me on one pretense or another. I started reading up on psychology and found that one or two out of every hundred people are psychopathic, they fail the very first stage of childhood development wherein they connect with their heart and learn to recognize facial expressions and what feelings go with what expressions... so I looked around and realized that we had a few of those and they were 95% of all the problems! I started treating them like you have to to keep from being trodden upon by them and life got better. I expanded my research to other failures in childhood development and discovered a whole spectrum of people; autistic, narcissistic, etc. that are not reasonable people. Nowadays I just step over all that s%^t like I was making my way through a cow pasture and I seek the company of the people that did all the necessary work and succeeded in growing into healthy adults. It's universal, it's what you have to do to enjoy anything at all, Ham clubs included.
 
National Politics WORSE Than Local  
by W2NLS on March 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I understand how local politics can kill a member's interest in a club but so can national politics. I really enjoyed one club's ham-related activities but hated the after-activty get-togethers. Apparently the vast majority of the club are of one political party, which is OK. But it got to the point where I just couldn't stand some of the stuff being said -- everything from joking about the best way to shoot the President (and I saw JFK and RFK and King shot so I don't joke about that stuff) to really stupid crap bordering on racism. Look, I don't talk about politics on the air and don't see why a club needs to make people of different political parties uncomfortable to be present at a meeting or a social event. I hated quitting that club. But I often hated being there more.
 
National Politics WORSE Than Local  
by W2NLS on March 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I understand how local politics can kill a member's interest in a club but so can national politics. I really enjoyed one club's ham-related activities but hated the after-activty get-togethers. Apparently the vast majority of the club are of one political party, which is OK. But it got to the point where I just couldn't stand some of the stuff being said -- everything from joking about the best way to shoot the President (and I saw JFK and RFK and King shot so I don't joke about that stuff) to really stupid crap bordering on racism. Look, I don't talk about politics on the air and don't see why a club needs to make people of different political parties uncomfortable to be present at a meeting or a social event. I hated quitting that club. But I often hated being there more.
 
RE: National Politics WORSE Than Local  
by W2NLS on March 5, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry to post twice. Site people: Whne I post it goes to a blank screen. Happens repeatedly. Using a Mac OSX 10.9.2 with Safari.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by KG4CLD on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ham radio has so many outlets that its ludicrous to subject yourself to childish behavior. If there are a few Hams you like talking to, try simplex. I drive long distances and my radio pretty much stays on simplex.
"Remember, ham radio is a fun hobby!"
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W4DLE on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well written article. I hate that you have experienced these kinds of things getting into the hobby.

Just to offer another view point, I have experienced quite the opposite. I got into ham through a communications course at my local community college (back in school at 42 years old). My teacher has been in the hobby for decades. He has been a great help in getting ready for the test (passed Tech and General both on the first time out) and in getting my rig ready to go. He turned me on to the local club. Those guys have done nothing short of fall over backwards to welcome me in. Also, the local 2 meter and 70 cm crowd and the various nets throughout our area rolled out the red carpet for me as well. At present I only have a little hand-held rig. They don't give me any crap about that either. The club recently made me a great deal on a Kenwood 940 that I will be refurbishing this Summer. They have offered up help and advice when I get that project going. That communications teacher will be along for the ride on that one as well.

I'm not denying that some "set in their ways" people can be off-putting. And I am not trying to say that anything that happened to you was your fault or didn't happen. Far from it. I'm just offering up another side of the ham community for everyone to see.

I hope things get better for you in your area. Until then, I think (as many have said) the best place for you to meet good people is on the radio. Best of luck with it.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by K7FD on March 23, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Witnessed at club swapmeet:

Goofball 1: "Look at this keyer I found!"

Goofball 2: "Wow! That's a really nice keyer!"

The two goofballs proceeded to each take turns tapping on their new found tresure with wide grins on their faces.

The 'keyer' was a J-38 straight key.

This is what clubs have evolved into; anyone with a brain is long gone. Sad but true. The old timers can't fight the overwhelming tide of goofballs that make up local clubs nowadays.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by W4HM on March 26, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Back in 2008 I upgraded to Extra Class at a local club here in Lakeland, FL and then became a member but it was all downhill from there.

Unfortunately the club like most was populated with mentally unstable people that lived to argue and demean one another, much like our society as a whole has become.

So sadly my membership in the club was very brief.
 
Clubs: Don't Harm The hobby!  
by NW0LF on March 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Here in Daytona Beach, we have finally got the politics out of the club. Now we just have fun. We have great programs at our meetings (no Robert's Rules), we offer testing every month and we even have a weekly "Elmer's and newbies" net to help new hams get on the air. I am a remote field tech working from home, so if you call on our repeater and I am home, I will holler back. I have been in clubs with problems you have run into. I am happy to be where I am now. We get involved with the community and the local schools. We have a group within the club that loves antenna parties and help anyone, club member or not, who needs help with their station. We helped 1 school make a contact with the ISS 2 years ago and we are getting ready to start a long term sonobuoy project with another school. We work with the local ARES group on special events and we have a tailgate party coming up soon. If you are ever in this area, give a shout on the 147.15 (tone 127.3) K4BV repeater and check out our club, the Daytona Beach Amateur Radio Association. I am not trying to brag on my club (OK, I am ) but we know that this is a hobby and you have a hobby to have fun! As a member of the Board of Directors, I can say that we listen to the club members and we do our best to move the club in a direction that tries to have the most fun for as many members as possible. We don't please them all, but we please most of the members! We must, they keep re-electing us. Good clubs are out there, you just have to look hard enough to find them.

Tom, NW0LF, or call me "Wolfie", everyone else does.
 
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