eHam Forums => Clubs => Topic started by: NO9E on April 05, 2013, 06:43:08 AM

Title: Clubs with physical facilities
Post by: NO9E on April 05, 2013, 06:43:08 AM
Many EU clubs have buildings with stations and facilities. Used everyday like a library/shack/picnic/bar etc. Members must pay something real but they get lots in return.

The club with a physical building is not very popular in the US. Big club-like stations usually involve individuals with a superstation who share their facilities.

There used to be university clubs using university facilities, but these are disappearing.

Are clubs with facilities not needed because equipment/antennas are more affordable? Larger distances? Simpler exams?

Ignacy, NO9E

Title: RE: Clubs with physical facilities
Post by: W8ASA on April 05, 2013, 07:18:03 AM
I'm very lucky to belong to two clubs with significant facilities: The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), and the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club (BARC).

DARA has its own property and recently has been renovating and adding to its building. See or go to their Yahoo group for more details. Better yet -- come to Hamvention and check it all out in person!

BARC's facilities are housed in a large room in the lower level of a former elementary school building (now a community center). We have put together four operating positions, each with two HF and two V/UHF rigs, and have multiple antennas and towers on the roof of the three-story building. Our CommCenter is used for Emergency Communications, Contesting, and routine Operation by individuals just for pleasure.

Both clubs have a core group of people who keep everything going, but also have members who are willing to chip in with needed. That is extremely important.

Title: RE: Clubs with physical facilities
Post by: AA4PB on April 05, 2013, 07:36:28 AM
I noticed back in the mid 1960's that there were some really nice "abandoned" club stations on military installations. One at Quonset Point, RI had a classroom for about 30 students plus a fully operational (but old) station. No one had even signed in to get the key in several years. It was obvious that it was a pretty active club at one point in time. Other "abandoned" club stations that I found were in Jacksonville, Florida and GITMO. I expect that by that time Navy personnel had more disposable income and often lived off base where they could set up their own stations if they were really interested in ham radio. The same may be true of today's college students. It may be possible that with all the HOA restrictions these days the club station will see a little new life. The most active club stations that I ran across were NAS Memphis, TN and Purdue University.

Title: RE: Clubs with physical facilities
Post by: W2RWJ on April 05, 2013, 02:22:39 PM
I'm fortunate that the club I belong to has it's own building at the InfoAge Museum in Wall Township, NJ.   Along with use of the building comes the responsibility for maintenance, heat, internet, phone, and soon, electricity.    We also mow the lawn on the 2.2 acre site, and provide caretaker services for an adjoining building.

It's a huge amount of work, - however, many of our members can't have a station at home (HOA or XYL issues), so the N2MO station works well for them.

As to your question, it's likely combination of perceived liability and other programs contending for space in the building.

73 Martin Flynn

Title: RE: Clubs with physical facilities
Post by: W6RMK on April 13, 2013, 05:28:32 PM
Cal Tech (W6UE) has a shack in Winnett Center on campus.  UCLA (W6YRA) has a shack on the roof of Boelter Hall.  There are a number of clubs being set up (or resurrected)  at Universities to operate cubesats.  Reading over websites and talking with folks, there's typically one or more faculty members who are the driving force behind the club staying in existence.  For most universities, there's some sort of process for resource allocation among clubs in terms of facilities.  As long as you're not consuming too much floor space, once you've got something, they're unlikely to throw you out (and in the case of UCLA's shack on the roof, it's unlikely anyone else wants the space, for instance).  Radio clubs tend to be fairly inexpensive to operate compared to a lot of other activities (e.g. occasional capital expenditures, but not much in the way of supplies).

At JPL, we have had a series of facilities for the club over the years, as have some of the other NASA centers. 

However, the OP was looking at clubs where there was a facility that served as a social gathering place, as opposed to an "operating location" or "shared shack".  For the universities and NASA or "shack at work" type places, I think that other things perform the "gathering place" function. 

It's also true that participation in "work sponsored" clubs and athletic leagues (bowling teams, softball, etc.)  has greatly declined over the last few decades (at least here in Southern California).  It might be that businesses aren't interested in sponsoring them, although I think it's more of a benign neglect, than any sort of "we are paying too much for it".  The change in workplaces and schedules is probably a bigger factor. Flexible working hours are great in general, but it also means that you don't have a "everyone gets off at 430PM and can go to an activity at 5PM" thing.  Some of it could also be that people commute longer distances to work.  There's also other time pressures: gotta pick the kids up from school/day care; cook dinner, do homework, etc.   In white collar type environments, effective working hours have gotten longer; both seat time in your cubicle, and with more "remote tethering" via the omnipresent mobile devices.   Increased telework also means that fewer employees are actually at the work facility.  There's also a trend towards companies not owning their permanent facilities. A significant number of jobs today are in knowledge work and don't require manufacturing equipment or anything else.  Where-ever you can put in network drops, you can do business.