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Author Topic: Share your stories of clubs that "do it right".  (Read 20520 times)

Posts: 6

« on: November 25, 2014, 10:07:44 PM »

I've read a number of threads in this forum either from folks who aren't happy with their club, or from folks who, because of a bad club experience, refuse to join another radio club.  For a counterpoint, I am interested in hearing from people who have had or are currently having good experiences with their radio club.  What did/does the club do right?


Posts: 89

« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 04:05:32 AM »

Good Morning Jody. You have posted a very good point. As past President of the Garden State A.R.A, and the current President of the Ocean - Monmouth A.R.C. I made it a point to first welcome all new and potential Members. Having a membership that also supports this is one of the main resions that both of these clubs are growing. The clubs them self's also do more then just hold meetings. Work shops, DX groups, training classes and the like go along with great clubs. I am proud that I am a member of each club and do my best to support and help them grow.

Posts: 5

« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2014, 05:31:10 PM »

I got licensed (all three) this past year, got a Baofeng and started working the repeaters here in suburban Detroit. I started talking with a guy on the USECA club repeater in May and he invited me to their Field Day. Great group, I've learned a ton! One of the guys (AC8XI) helped me hook up my laptop to my rig via an XLP Data Pro 3 (recommended by another member N8ZA) and will be helping me put a ZS6BKW up next weekend. If you just mention needing help on our Facebook page or in a meeting, etc., you get it. I couldn't have found a better group.

Posts: 748

« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 06:44:07 PM »

W0ERH, Johnson County (KS) Radio Amateurs Club.  Since 1948.  Has grown about 50% in last ten years, largest club in Kansas City area.  Financially strong.  Meetings twice a month, always with an interesting program.  Some programs technical, some about how to operate, how to solder PL259's, set up handhelds, general interest, etc, etc.   

Big Field Day, annual hamfest/auction, special events such as WW1USA in Sept, Skywarn, numerous public service events.  2m and 440 repeaters.  Four weekly nets.  Monthly newsletter.  Good website (, check it out.

Maybe 15% or so are YL's, another 15% or so under 18.  Past VP was 13, current VP is about 17.  Numerous ham classes each year, mostly Tech, some General.  Over 700 hams licensed as result during last 8 years.   Various members have received national recognition for youth training, tech support, numerous articles in QST and QEX.

I was a member as a teenager back in the fifties, rejoined some 10 yrs ago.   Great club.

Posts: 484


« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2014, 06:41:10 AM »

The consensus seems to be that the best clubs have diverse offerings with presentations and/or classes for all aspects of the hobby are the best.

The only exception might be the emcomm repeater clubs which focus on public service, ARES/RACES activity. The folks in those clubs seem to keep busy with drills, updates and repeater upgrades. It's not for everyone though...



Posts: 91

« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 04:49:11 AM »

I think my club is one of The Good Ones

I found it and joined simply because as a Tech, I wanted to use the repeaters guilt-free when I moved to this area.

The more time I spend with club members, the more I like it, and for more than just use of the repeaters.

Most club members I talk to are genuinely helpful, whenever I've needed it. For example, shortly after I joined the club, I was having some issues with my outdoor VHF/UHF antenna. It didn't work as well as the rubber duck on my HT. One member KC9UJY, volunteered to come by the next day with his antenna analyzer equipment to help figure it out. We learned a lot and solved the problem*.

The club has a Yahoo Group, which is fairly active too. One can't always hold questions until a certain person is encountered on the repeater or until the next club meeting, so that is a valuable thing too.

I like the diversity too. I think the average age of club members is probably about 55, but there are plenty of older guys and younger guys too. There are guys who want to mess around with the high-tech, computer-linked stuff, guys who only ever are on the repeaters while mobile (due to a busy family life) and guys who only are ever on analog HF.

All along, I've been talking about 'guys', but there are a few women club members too. (I WISH it was 15%, as the other poster said!)

Anyone in the Chicago area should consider joining. The 70cm repeater actually reaches up into Southern Wisconsin, as it is on top of a 500' tall building. (we don't have mountains here)

* The antenna was a ladder line J-pole. I was going for a stealth installation, and stapled it to the wooden upright of the balcony above my apartment. The antenna analyzer showed us this type of antenna (ANY type?) doesn't work worth a damn when they're up against something, even something non-metallic. Got it free-hanging and it worked several hundred percent better.

Jeremy (KC9ZHE)
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
-Abraham Lincoln

Posts: 165


« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2014, 08:46:31 PM »

My dearest friend Adam Farson VA7OJ/AB4OJ of North Vancouver B.C. Canada. Has told me about, and shown me lectures and presentation, demonstrations given during his club meetings, of the North Shore Amateur Radio Club. They sound great! I only wish my local club would have such activities as his club. Real radio engineers giving talks on how radio works, how to fix the radio, and tons of other highly technical information is presented weekly in Adam's club. I would go to every weeks meetings if we had such great info exchanges in my local club.
I think the North Shore Amateur Radio Club of North Vancouver, B.C. Canada has it right. They know how to keep club activities interesting and informative. This is due in part to Adam's input and service to the club.

Matt KK5DR

Posts: 147

« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 08:39:44 AM »

All the clubs in my area are helpful, but they each have their points.
- The club my small town, K4DTV, the usual meeting is 5 or 6 geriatric guys who meet every few months just to meet in person and spend 10-15 minutes going over the "official business". They are friendly but it is more of a retirement social club, which is fine for them, but me in my mid 30s a bit out of my age range.
- The one south of me W4ZBB is a mixed age group that tends to be more friendly and average age is younger than the others but they do not do much around the community (or do not talk about it much if they do). They tend to be more ham oriented, they have 2 meetings every month, one is a tech night where someone goes over technology related things and how it can be used for ham radio. I believe they do have a few members that take part in the county-wide emergency training sessions.
- The one north of me W4AAZ, helps with the local CERT, ARES and RACES groups, helps the local police with parades, and does something every few months with/for the city or county. They also have tech nights but as it is typically an older group (close to or at retirement age), they go over "introduction to linux" or other "easier" non-ham related topics. They participate in local emergency drills, usually one in the spring for hurricane preparedness for the year, and one in the fall for general emergency training. They were interested in my 8W Baofeng BF-F8HP, with 3800mAh battery and Nagoya NA-701 antenna, and how it all cost less than $80 for the options it has. Their 2m single band Yaesu HT that cost $150 and only has 4W and no replaceable antenna can only get a few miles, yet I can stand right next to the club building and reach the 2m and 70cm repeaters 15-20 miles away (through thick pine forest).
- There is a another northwest of me WF4X but that is a bit longer drive for me, I have met a few but have not really been to any meetings yet. Their website tends to be geared more for ARES and emergency related communications.

Posts: 278

« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 08:31:06 AM »

As an Asst Director fir the ARRL Delta Division, I've been doing club development work with the Scott County (MS) Amateur Radio Club for a couple of years, almost since their beginning. This club in a small town east of Jackson is the epitome of a successful ham radio club. They have programming at every monthly meeting which is held in an upstairs room of a local restaurant in the middle of town. Plenty of parking and a "can't miss it location". They begin at 6pm with food (great bbq ribs!) and fellowship. Newcomers are overtly acknowledged and welcomed during this period. No cold shoulders here! A program begins at 7pm, followed by a short business session and VEC testing. The club has changed officers and Board members without issue, another sign of organizational effectiveness. Club members residing outside of Scott County are not required to pay annual dues, although many wish to make contributions in that amount. As a result, they get a number of members from the Jackson or Meridian area in attendance.

This club has led the state in developing Broadband HamNet for their town, Morton. By providing communication support at local events (races, municipal day in the park, etc.), SCARC has developed a strong and continuing relationship with the town's Mayor and State Representative. Thus, they're viewed as an important asset to Morton. The club has an active, if small, ARES and Skywarn team. One member developed a statewide digital net which gets checkins from bordering states as well. Thanks to support from the new Magnolia Intertie, SCARC is installing two repeaters in the area to provide both local coverage and critical backbone links in a hilly terrain between Jackson and Meridian.

SCARC works well with a neighboring club in Brandon, the Central MS Amateur Radio Association, which is much older and more established. A town midway between Morton and Brandon, Pelahatchie, invited SCARC to hold the 2015 Field Day activities in the town park, located in the middle of the small town. With a huge pavilion surrounded by tall oak trees and a free wifi hot zone, it's a great site for a portable tower or two, dipoles, and perhaps a beverage for 160M. The Jackson Amateur Radio Club, who sponsors the state's only hamfest, requested to join SCARC and CMARA in the 2015 Field Day event in Pelahatchie.

In conclusion, SCARC is only a few years old but they are doing thing right for their small town location in the shadow of the state's largest metro area. Being located on I-20 really helps draw people from surrounding counties (I live an hour's drive, for instance). They keep the focus on ham radio, not power and control, doing things that are fun, while simultaneously helping others using what the hobby has to offer. The innovative BBHN helped capture the support of the Mayor and State Representative, for instance. The development of the HF digital net has reached the entire state as well as surrounding ones. All this by a relatively small group who just agree to reach agreement: the most critical element for a club's success!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 08:36:22 AM by K4FMH » Logged

Posts: 167


« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2015, 09:16:11 AM »

As president of the Houston ECHO Society for several years now, my goal has always been to make newcomers feel welcome. Some of the things we do as a club are to have a pre-meeting dinner get together before our club meetings. Fellowship and food seems to go a long way in ham radio. We also try to have a radio related presentation at every club meeting. We focus also on public service events and our club is the key group for 1 or 2 Houston area events. We pair up new hams with the "elmers" on public service activities. We let our members and guests suggest presentations for meetings. Hopefully this will offer a few things that keeps us going and keeps people coming. Marty, AG5T

Posts: 167


« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 09:17:50 AM »

One other thing - we have shirts with our club logo and the name and call sign of the individual on the front of the shirt. Seems to be very popular among clubs.
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