Archive for the 'P.R. Info' Category

If you had a magic wand

What would you like to see in your national amateur radio organization?

That’s a question being kicked around the RAC executive thanks to an initiative by John, HK3OZ, a former RAC director and VP of PR currently living in Colombia (thanks John for the correction). So how would you improve (notice I didn’t say fix!) your national organization? How would your RAC look in let’s say 2015?

Here’s a few of my thoughts to get the conversation started:

  • There have been some complaints about RAC being an “old boys” club. That impression isn’t incorrect. RAC is run by seven regional directors who are the only people who can vote on issues that come up at the board level. When I look at the photos of the board that appear in The Canadian Amateur on page 4 they all look like elder statesmen to me….okay so some of them are younger than I am but you get my point. The other 11 folks on page 4 are on the RAC executive and cast no vote. Only one is a woman and there are no visible minorities. Surely there are some licensed amateurs who don’t fit the profile? So would I change this? You bet. How should it change? I don’t know! So let’s move on to point two;
  • Anytime there’s a perception of an “old boys”club part of that perception has to come from fact that some people are in the club and most are outside of it. So how can we bring everybody to the table? I believe that it’s blogs like this one and others written by RAC members that can be part of the solution. There is no great mystery here nor an conspiracy. RAC is a national organization run by volunteers from across Canada. It’s a miracle that we exist at all :) let alone work so well together;
  • Now one of the other complaints I’ve heard is RAC is too secretive.  I don’t disagree however it’s not secrecy that’s the issue but our collective inability to find a means to create a national discussion. Heck we have problems getting everyone connected on a national teleconference (last night was nightmare. Thank goodness for cellphones and Skype.) once a month. But how about this: We create a national President’s Council that meets by teleconference or email reflector directly with RAC’s president every 90 or 180 days. Maybe the discussion takes place on a Saturday morning and goes for a couple of hours? It’s a thought. Anybody interested?
  • What else can we do? We can easily grow our membership. It might even be possible that someday every Canadian ham was automatically enrolled as a member of RAC. This idea is going to take some work. To that end, I’d suggest we should have a vice-president of membership. We don’t have one and I can’t for the life of me think of why not!
  • Speaking of membership we need to work with Industry Canada to clean up the list of licensed amateur radio operators. Estimates suggest the current list has 60,000 names on it but we know that some hams hold two or more licenses. My guess is the actual number is much,much lower and that RAC with 5,000 current members is capturing at least half of the active amateur radio community;
  • RAC has some administrative issues to address but these are small potato issues and just require some time and effort to fix and I’m not going to worry about them here;
  • What’s of greater need is more volunteer assistant directors in every province. I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of assistant directors and in places like southern Ontario and all of Quebec we need many more assistant directors to help grow our national organization. Contact your regional director to volunteer.

There’s a ton of other wonderful stuff we should be talking about. The Youth Educational Program comes to mind. All of us need to be involved in encouraging young people to get their amateur radio tickets. The experience of the ARRL shows it can be done and just wait until Amateur Radio is actively promoted in China when the world amateur radio population will take a great leap forward. ARES and the NTS are legacy programs of great value that don’t get enough attention. We (and I’m talking about you and me here) could do more to promote DXing and contesting and satellite operation and the list goes on. What’s need most to make this dream come true is people just like you to come forward and volunteer some your time, talent and maybe even your treasure (there are ways to financially support RAC and our national programs).

RAC would certainly benefit from a national public relations initiative headed locally (all news is local) by the assistant directors. To that end I’ve added a new page that includes a complete public information officers’ kit. If you’d like a pretty version I can send you a PDF. Just email me at

Continue reading ‘If you had a magic wand’

Banner year for Amateur Radio in USA

According to the American Radio Relay League there were more than 18,000 new Amateur Radio licenses issued in the first half of 2010 which outpaces the 2009 numbers by over eight per cent. Last year our American cousins saw a total of 30,144 new licenses issued an increase of 7.5 per cent over 2008. As of June 30, 2010 there are 694,346 Amateur Radio operators in the US which amounts to almost a one per cent rise in over all of 2009. According to the ARRL there has been a spike of applications coming from General and Extra class radio amateurs who want to give back to their community by serving as ARRL examiners and instructors.

How to lobby the government

One of our members who lives in Ontario noticed that his local MPP was hosting a Saturday afternoon “get-together” for constituents at a local Second Cup coffee shop.

Taking some initiative, Joe, VE3OV, who is the ARES EC for Toronto North York, dropped by and talked to MPP Kathleen Wynne. Joe explained to Ms Wynne how amateur radio operators in Ontario were being negatively affected by Bill 118 and how the time-limited exemption from hands-free legislation should be made permanent. Joe said he got a fair hearing and Ms Wynne said she’d like to learn more about amateur radio and Bill 118.

This is how amateur radio operators in Ontario will get a permanent exemption to Bill 118. It’s called talking to your MPP. Do it respectfully. Use simple language to explain what’s at stake for the people of Ontario. But, most importantly, JUST DO IT!

NPR says Ham Radio OK

This just in thanks to our friends at the ARRL.

American National Public Radio has just put a very complimentary piece up about the growth and vitality of ham radio in the USA>

Worth a moment to read here.

Ham Radio Keeps Growing

According to U.S. numbers more than 30,000 people entered the American amateur radio service in 2009. This is nearly double the number who got their tickets in 2005 when only 16,000 newcomers joined. Overall, more than 122,000 Americans became hams in the last five years. As reported in CQ Magazine: “Not bad for a hobby that some of us continue to insist is dying.”

What can we do here  in Canada to grow amateur radio? Any thoughts please add them to the comment window.

Sarnia hams hit the headllines

Great story about amateur radio in Sarnia, Ontario as published in The Observer newspaper. Congrats to the Lambton County Radio Club and good luck in attracting new hams to your training course starting on Feb. 27.

Thunder Bay Ham Club Gets Great Ink

The members of the Northwestern Ontario Senior Citizens Amateur Radio Club were featured in a terrific article in The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal newspaper. The December 3 article talks about the rejuvenation of the club and fun being had by the ham radio operators. Three of the members Ken Rusnak, Robert Hansen and Doug McCormack were featured in accompanying photographs. Well done guys.

More US hams in 2009

That’s right! According to the ARRL, 2009 was “a banner year” for new Amateur Radio licensees. Seems the FCC issued more than 30,000 new ham radio licenses last year. The high demand for licenses in 2010 is expected to continue into 2010.

Ham Radio Headlines

Thanks to an email from ARRL media and public relations manager Allenn Pitts, W1AGP and ARRL news editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA comes a list of ham radio news highlights from the last couple of months.

Topping the list is this issue of the LINUX Journal which has devoted its entire issue to ham radio calling it the original “open-source” project.

BTW just in case someone says that amateur radio isn’t relevant to people’s lives these days direct them to this link celebrating George Smith, AA2EJ who won the Nobel Prize in physics for 2009. Shows you what tinkering with a radio can do for your career.

Langley BC ARC making history

Yes it’s history. Today’s attempt by the Langley ARC to live-stream their contact with the International Space Station shows the power of the Internet and the flexibility of amateur radio in a way that mere words can’t express. Sure there are some kinks to iron out (we lost the feed after about 20 minutes and then it came back) but over all this is terrific stuff.

Here’s how to maximize the positive publicity for amateur radio. If it were me I would have sent a media release out to every major newspaper and TV station in the country.