Monthly Archive for June, 2010

New RAC Director for Quebec

RAC Bulletin 2010-13E – New RAC Director – Quebec

2010-06-29

Congratulations are extended to Mr. James Keep, VE2KHC who was recently appointed as the RAC Director for Quebec for the remainder of a two year term which started June 24, 2010 ending December 31, 2012. Mr. Keep is a Certified Emergency Coordinator (CEC), has trained with the Sécurité Civil Quebec and is also a registered Radio Amateurs of Quebec Inc. member. Mr. Keep’s home QTH is in located Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC.

Paul Burggraaf – VO1PRB

RAC Corporate Secretary

Bulletin RAC 2010-013F – Nouveau directeur de RAC – Québec

2010-06-29

Nous transmettons nos félicitations à M. James Keep, VE2KHC, qui a été récemment nommé directeur de RAC au Québec pour le reste d’un terme de deux ans ayant débuté le 24 juin 2010 et se terminant le 31 décembre 2012. M. Keep est un coordonnateur d’urgence certifié (CUC), il s’est entraîné avec la Sécurité Civile du Québec et est aussi un membre accrédité de Radio Amateurs du Québec Inc.. Le QTH de M. Keep est situé à Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC.

Paul Burggraaf – VO1PRB

Secrétaire corporatif à RAC

Ont. Ham gets OPP Bill 118 Ticket

An email from an Ontario RAC member claiming he’d received a ticket from the OPP  for using his amateur radio VHF radio while driving on Highway 407 last Thursday got our immediate attention.

Our RAC member said that officer who issued the ticket was apparently unaware of the three-year time limited exemption that amateur radio operation was granted in Ontario’s distracted driving legislation Bill 118. It was the same story when our member called the unit sergeant. The sergeant asked about the nature of the conversation prompting thoughts that perhaps the sergeant was referring to the fact that a cellphone can be used by a motorist in a moving vehicle when making a 911 call.

An email from RAC to the duty sergeant at the General Headquarters for the Ontario Provincial Police that pointed out the exemption in Bill 118 was forwarded to the highway unit sergeant.

Over the weekend our member received a telephone call from the OPP sergeant and it seems the situation has been resolved to our member’s satisfaction (no ticket).

Folks: This is what you get for your membership dollars when you join RAC. I’m not promising we can intervene so quickly in every situation (or that every situation will be so clearly easy to resolve) but this is a prime reason why you should join or renew your RAC membership today.

And BTW for all mobile amateur radio operators in Ontario it might save some time and confusion if you carry a copy of your license and a copy of Bill 118 in your vehicle just in case you too get stopped.

Going for 100%

Here’s an email that just came in from Warren, VE3FYN, the president of the Atikokan ARC where Warren speaks about membership in RAC:

“ARES EC, Atikokan & area…Our club is small, ten licensed members (representing every active amateur in Atikokan). Three members are high school students and all but two have earned their license within the past 18 months. Currently, I believe six are RAC members.

It is my personal goal to have every member join RAC by the end of the year, and to continue 100% RAC membership in our club as we gain new licensed members.

I’ll let you know how it goes.”

Any other clubs at or aiming for 100 per cent RAC membership? Let me know and congratulations Warren on your hard work for the betterment of amateur radio across Canada.

Any other clubs at or aiming for 100 per cent RAC membership? Let me know and congratulations Warren on your hard work for the betterment of amateur radio across Canada.

Field Day & RAC Campaign

Field Day is by far the largest ham radio activity of the year with an estimated 35,000 hams in Canada and the U.S. participating in this exercise to test our emergency preparedness. Here in southern Ontario we’re looking a rain, thunderstorms and windy. Oh goodie. It’s going to be one of those years. :)

If you are participating in Field Day, please take some RAC membership forms with you and hand them out. The RAC Membership Campaign is asking every RAC member to ask 20 other hams to join our national organization during the year-long campaign that starts this weekend (rain or shine).

Here’s the link to the RAC membership forms and one to a RAC Benefits information.

Tornadoes and Earthquakes

I was sitting in a meeting yesterday when the person I was with asked if I thought the room was moving. I normally don’t have that effect on people so you can imagine my disappointment when I learned I had nothing to do with the experience. but we were experience an earthquake.

A magnitude 5 earthquake radiated from Quebec and was felt here in Oakville a community about 30 km west of Toronto. Then, overnight, the picturesque community of Midland, Ontario was struck by a tornado that reportedly did millions of dollars worth of damage and injured a score of folks. Reports are still coming in.

And, of course, all of southern Ontario from Huntsville to Lake Ontario is under the influence of the G8 and G20 meetings. Airports, including Pearson, are temporary closed to allow for VIP flights and major highways across the Greater Toronto Region are subject to closures to allow for 30-vehicle motorcades to move VIPS to and fro. Now I hear there’s a hotel workers’s strike underway.

What next? I’m waiting for rivers of blood and an infestation of frogs then boils.

But all kidding aside, with this weekend being Field Day Weekend in North America these natural disasters in Ontario should remind all of us of the importance of preparation. Amateur radio’s ability to field trained and equipment volunteers into affected communities with virtually no notice or expense is unique. In some disasters here in North America and around the world amateur radio has saved lives and lessened suffering.

Thousands of North American hams will participate in Field Day this weekend and you’re invited (especially if you’re willing to do the midnight shift). You would be welcomed at any of the club efforts I’ve been involved with and I don’t doubt that the same holds true with any club in your area. The ARRL has an excellent Field Day site including a North America wide Field Day locator here.

Whose job is it?

I got an email this afternoon from one of the hardest working volunteers in RAC. In it he said he didn’t think it was his job to look for new members. I told him I absolutely disagreed.

I made my case that it was everybody’s job to help grow our national organization and we can’t afford to leave it up to the regional managers, the RAC board, the executive or even the president. It’s up to us ordinary RAC members like you and me. This is way too important a job to leave to anybody else but us.

Why us? Because we’re the folks that go to the meetings (I’m going to a Field Day meeting tomorrow night and I’m bring RAC membership forms with me). We’re the guys that go the Hamfests and fleamarkets. We’re the hams that run our clubs and other radio associations. We’re the folks who are going to benefit from growing a strong national voice for ham radio.

Building a strong national organization to help us grow and protect amateur radio in Canada isn’t the job of a handful of volunteers. It’s the job of the 5,000 of us who are currently members.

The national membership drive has a goal of reaching 6,000 memberships (new and renewals count) by Field Day of 2011. We can do this! We can accomplish this goal. But we can’t do it if some of the members leave it to others to get involved in the campaign.

Here’s the link to all the details about our RAC Membership Campaign.

Let me know your thoughts and don’t hesitate to email me directly at ve3hg@rac.ca

We get mail – the RAC membership campaign

One thing RAC doesn’t have is a good up-to-date list of Canadian amateur radio clubs. Either that or I can’t type.

I’ve been spending hours typing up lists of email contacts for every club in Canada and (a) there’s a lot of them and (b) so far I’ve had about a 50 per cent failure rate. That’s a little disheartening. I’m about half way through so I’ll keep typing and posting as this is a key part of getting the information out about our year-long RAC Membership Drive.

I did get one response and that was from a guy who claims RAC has “disruptive effective Canadian Amateur Radio for too many years to count” and that he works “diligently to convince Amateur Radio folks regarding the inept activities of RAC”. Oh dear, I guess everyone needs a hobby but strangely my friend raises a good point.

RAC isn’t perfect because the folks who volunteer their time and talents aren’t perfect either. I’m not perfect and there’s a lineup at my door who will attest to that fact but I’m showing up and I’m doing my best. And part of that showing up is learning how to play fair with the other kids in the national sandbox we call RAC.

Amateur radio in Canada needs a national organization. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s called RAC or ruin :) but it does matter to me that we try to form a coalition of hams from coast to coast to coast.

Why? Because we have national-level issues that require national-level thinking and if you want to be part of that national-level thinking then you need to join the only national organization we’ve got and that is Radio Amateurs of Canada. And if you’re really steamed about the organization or the state of amateur radio in Canada then come join the working group at RAC. Trust me, I can find something for you to do. Anybody know how to type? :)

Or you could sit at home trying to convince others that the efforts of others is “inept”.

Get it…Use it…Keep it

This is the slogan I’ve suggested for our year-long RAC membership campaign. “Get it. Use it. Keep it.”

When I decided to get my ham license I turned to our national organization for some help in getting my ham ticket. Once I had my ticket I needed help (lots of help – still do) to get on the air and have fun. Now that I’ve been a member of RAC for a number of years I realize how vulnerable we are to misguided government regulations (I’m thinking of Bill 118, the distracted driving legislation in Ontario as well as the impact that local governmental “policies” have on our ability to erect towers on our private property among other issues) and to desires by the communication industry to get some of our frequency space for the development of broadband cellular telephone system.

Getting our amateur radio licenses has always taken some effort and so it should.

Getting on the air should require more knowledge than operating a CB set or cellphone and I’ve found building an operating an HF station required help from other hams as well as the purchase of more than one “how to” book like the RAC Operating Manual.

So I want to keep enjoying these privileges and ensure I can pass them onto a new generation of amateur radio operators. The best way to do that IMHO is to join our national organization and renew my membership every year (or sign up for three years) and to encourage other hams to do the same. So that’s what I’m doing this week. All of you who are listed on the RAC website or in TCA are going to get an email from me asking you to join me in promoting our national membership campaign.

Help RAC Help YOU!

So here we go: 1,000 new memberships in the next 12 months!

Can we do it? Sure we can. It comes down to this: 10 new memberships (renewals count too) in each province  and territory per month for 12 months equals (10 X 13 X 12) 1560!

So how do we reach this goal? It’s easy if you’ll take a little time to help grow your national amateur radio association.

Here’s what I’m asking every RAC member to do over the next 12 months.

Please go to your next club meeting, ARES event, contesting dinner, Field Day or ham fest and personally ask 20 other amateurs to join or renew their memberships in Radio Amateurs of Canada. Here’s a link to a membership form you can print out and hand them.

For those of you who are club executives or Field Day organizers I’ve created instructions (with prices and hyperlinks to materials) on how you too can build your own inexpensive, highly effective and extremely visible RAC membership campaign display (which your club can use for their own purposes after the campaign). Here’s the link to the instructions.

So why do we need a stronger national voice?

Go ask any amateur radio operator in Canada who has tried to put up an antenna tower.

Go ask the hams in Ontario about Bill 118 and how we need to create a provincial lobby group to get the time-limited exemption made permanent.

Go ask the hams in British Columbia about the new BPL threat that just hit Vancouver.

And for all of us we need a strong national voice with Industry Canada and the ITU and other national and international governing groups.

This may come as a shock to some but amateur radio operators in Canada (and around the world) are going to see some of their frequency spectrum taken from them and given to the broadband communications industry. Why do I say that? Because the spectrum space the industry wants is worth an estimated $16-billion revenue and next to the military guess who currently uses most of this coveted space? Yup it’s amateur radio. We need to create a strong, active and engaged national organization and this membership campaign is just the first step.

Can Canada count on you? Will you do your part to help preserve amateur radio as we know it in Canada?

This is it! The RAC Membership Campaign

As of ten minutes ago the board members of Radio Amateurs of Canada have approved a year-long membership campaign that official starts on Field Day 2010 and ends Field Day 2011.

As we speak, we are making arrangements to have the campaign translated into French (I apologize for the delay which was my fault) which I will send to all the French-speaking clubs that we have registered with RAC.

This is a do-it-yourself membership campaign that has a role for every member, every club, every director, regional director, assistant director, executive member, section manager and everybody else who volunteers on a RAC committee or participates in any other way.

This campaign is designed to be extremely low-cost so individuals or clubs can purchase the materials locally and use them over and over again. The campaign has lofty but achievable goals if we all work together for the betterment of ham radio in Canada.

Please let everyone in your club, community, association or group know about this campaign and feel free to copy this blog address and share it with your friends and fellow amateurs.

Why a national year-long membership campaign?

It’s because Radio Amateurs of Canada is our national organization and as such has an important role to play on the national and international stage when it comes to promoting and growing amateur radio both in Canada and around the world. RAC is our official representative with Industry Canada. We’ve got ongoing issues including Ontario’s Bill 118, tower policies and local ordinances among others that require a strong RAC response.

We need a strong national organization to protect our frequency spectrum allotment as well as negotiate new frequencies for future use. There are many other benefits to having a strong national organization (including RAC’s ability to offer liability insurance, the QSL Bureau as well as ongoing support of on-air activities that include the Amateur Radio Emergency Services and National Traffic System.

And there’s lots more that you can find online at the RAC website. Amateur radio in Canada needs a strong national voice and RAC is that voice. So let’s look at the details.

So here it is:

The Radio Amateurs of Canada National Membership Campaign

(If you’ve got any questions or comments send them to ve3hg@rac.ca)


How To Organize Your Own RAC Membership Drive

All successful membership campaigns are personal.

According to the experts, the main reason membership campaigns fail is because too few non-members get asked to sign up. Itʼs that simple. So hereʼs the challenge:

As the vice-president of public relations for Radio Amateurs of Canada I am challenging you that over course of the next 12 months to personally ask 20 of your fellow amateurs to join or renew their RAC memberships. Some of you who participate in Field Day can accomplish this challenge in one single day.

The goal is to increase the overall RAC membership (new members and renewals) by 1,000 for a total membership of 6,000.

For current RAC board and executive members, regional directors and section managers, you can use this program at every hamfest, fleamarket and special event that you attend this year. The campaign begins and ends on Field Day (2010 to 2011).

And whatʼs the most effective way to ask?

Again, itʼs easy. Hereʼs what I say: “Hi. Iʼm a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada and Iʼm inviting other amateurs to join me in growing our national organization. Are you a member?”

Thatʼs it! Thatʼs the entire pitch. No hard sell. But we do need to ask every Canadian amateur radio operators to join with us by signing up for a membership in RAC.

So what happens if the person I ask says “Why yes I am a member.” I thank them for their membership and support of our national organization and I hand them a printed copy of our online membership form. Then I ask them if they would consider renewing their membership today? Many do and I take their cheque (if they give me cash I keep it and send my own cheque to headquarters by mail) and with their completed membership form I send it all to RAC headquarters in Ottawa.

If they say no, I ask them to consider joining with me in supporting the growth of amateur radio in Canada by joining our national organization. Then I hand them a printed brochure that lists the benefits of membership and a membership form.

Again, thatʼs it: No hard sell or long-winded explanations. If they have questions I do my best to answer them or I invite them to contact their regional director. If they do agree to sign up I encourage them to sign up on the spot and leave me to do the paperwork.

Finally, I shake their hand and thank them for their support. And, thatʼs how you run a successful membership drive.

The Campaign Materials

All the campaign membership materials are available online. In order to keep track of how many amateurs youʼve asked to become members I suggest printing out 20 membership forms. When youʼve given out 20 forms, youʼve done your bit for RAC and thank you very much. (If you wanted to do more, I wouldnʼt discourage you.)

I used a standard ink-jet printer (set to black and white to save on cost) and I printed out the online membership form and I also downloaded the following forms and printed out a few copies on both sides of the paper (again to save on cost) as handouts.

The RAC Membership Campaign Display

For RAC volunteers attending special events (although anyone can use the information here to setup their own local display at a club meeting or special event like Field Day), hereʼs a low-cost way of creating your own campaign display.

The least expensive three-fold desktop display that Iʼve found so far is available across Canada at Staples. Hereʼs a link to the Elmerʼs Foam Display Board (36”X48”) that sells for $18.75. This is dirt cheap when it comes to table top displays. (I suggest every club should buy one and display their club information on it — after the membership campaign of course.)

Now the cheapest campaign materials for your display board are available online at the RAC website. I bought 25 sheets of 8 1/2” X 11” glossy photo paper for $19.94. I also bought 20 sheets of 13” X 19” glossy photo paper for $39.94 as my printer can handle the larger size. I used a few sheet of each to print in colour some of the following artwork for my RAC membership campaign display: RAC logo, RAC Life Member logo,  ARES logo,  RAC NTS logo. Hereʼs the online link to the logos.

If your printer also scans, you can do a colour scan of the front cover of your latest copy of The Canadian Amateur magazine for your display board or download and print the image on the RAC TCA page. I found it easy to download and print.

How to work a hamfest or special event

Always set up your display somewhere it can be easily seen and in a high-traffic area. Locating near the coffee or washrooms is a pretty good plan.

Itʼs essential to stand in front of the display, brochures in hand and ask the people who pass by if they are members. Again, thatʼs all thatʼs needed to make your campaign successful. And, itʼs not about how many memberships get sold. Itʼs all about how many amateurs get asked to join.

We owe it to our fellow amateurs to ask them to join. Itʼs up to them what decision they make. Itʼs not up to us to try to change their minds. But it is up to us to ask.

If youʼre new to working a booth, being out front is going to feel awkward at first. But after the first hour or so, youʼll be an old hand. (Itʼs sort of like running a pileup.)

It helps if youʼve got one or two helpers but donʼt fall into the habit of talking more with them than your potential members. If youʼre going to be set up for a few hours it helps to bring a stool (not a chair!) to sit on while still out front of your display. The most ineffective way to work a booth is from a chair sitting behind a desk waiting for people to approach you. It just doesnʼt work and youʼll be wasting your time and effort.

Thereʼs a ton more stuff you can bring to make your display more attractive but these are the bare essentials. If youʼve got a name tag wear it as it makes you more approachable. A standard Staples stick-on name tag works.

Having fun by being creative is what makes a successful display. (Years ago I helped staff the Toronto Skywide Clubʼs booth at the week-long International Hobby Show. It was amazing how many people were drawn to the booth by the sound of CW wafting through the crowd.)

Remember every successful membership campaign was made a success by people just like you and me asking people just like our fellow amateurs to join the organization.

Good luck and let me know if I can of any help. Send me photos of your display and you in action and Iʼll publish them on the RAC blogsite.

73

Peter – VE3HG (ve3hg@rac.ca)