An Open letter on the RAC Transformation Discussion

Many [I hope all of you] will have read the recent blogs posted by VE1OZ/HK3OZ, John Bartlett, VE3HG, Peter West and myself.

My three blogs were drafted from the comfort of my dorm at Mt. St. Vincent University in Halifax during the course of our Annual General Meeting and the Maritime DX Forum. The forum was sponsored by the Halifax Amateur Radio Club.

The purpose of the recent blogs is to encourage membership engagement and debate on the future of the RAC.

I am completely convinced that the RAC has an important role in amateur radio and will be around for many years to come. I am also convinced that we need to encourage membership to enter into the debate so as to better inform the discussions of your directors and executive now and at our planning meeting in late October.

RAC will be vibrant and relevant in the 21st Century because your directors and executive, in concert with the rest of the members are facing the future. We are facing the future with imagination, partnership and intelligence. We need to address issues: both real and perceived. Perception is often reality.

Some questions for you to consider and provide feedback to your directors:

  • What do you want from your national organization?
  • What services do you value?
  • Are you prepared to be involved? Run for office? Volunteer?
  • How do you think that the RAC can be made more open to members?
  • How should the RAC communicate with and engage its members?

There are numerous other questions that I could pose but the stimulus provided by the blogs is intended to initiate a dialogue with hams across this country. I believe that it was Oscar Wilde that said “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”. The Radio Amateurs of Canada is on the move … help chart the course.

Geoff Bawden   VE4BAW

President and Chair

3 Responses to “An Open letter on the RAC Transformation Discussion”


  • With great respect, in my humble view RAC President Bawden’s latest posting seems sadly not to have much, if any, relationship to John Bartlett’s seven (or it is eight)-part oversight of how the RAC might pull itself out of its present woes.

    Are John’s recommendations being taken seriously and being acted upon by the president or directors, or are they not?

    After all, it is those recommendations that started this entire discussion in the first place. It was not inititated by the president or board. Yet we members are left in the dark as to what, if anything, is actually taking place. Surely it isn’t secret.

    The RAC could be seen as burning while its leaders fiddle with plebiscites, wringing their hands in a show of concern, if not confusion.

    Frankly, talk is cheap, especially when it has little bearing on the matter at hand. Action, on the other hand, is what is needed. And now.

    Afterall, isn’t that what the RAC leaders were elected to do?

    Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

    73,
    Bob Cooke
    VE3BDB
    Past President RAC
    Past Ontario South Region Director RAC
    Past Vice President Field Services RAC
    Past Ontario South Assistant Director RAC

  • With great respect, in my humble view RAC President Bawden’s latest posting seems sadly not to have much, if any, relationship to John Bartlett’s seven (or it is eight)-part oversight of how the RAC might pull itself out of its present woes.

    Are John’s recommendations being taken seriously and being acted upon by the president or directors, or are they not?

    After all, it is those recommendations that started this entire discussion in the first place. It was not initiated by the president or board. Yet we members are left in the dark as to what, if anything, is actually taking place. Surely it isn’t secret.

    The RAC could be seen as burning while its leaders fiddle with plebiscites, wringing their hands in a show of concern, if not confusion.

    Frankly, talk is cheap, especially when it has little bearing on the matter at hand. Action, on the other hand, is what is needed. And now.

    Afterall, isn’t that what the RAC leaders were elected to do?

    Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

    73,
    Bob Cooke
    VE3BDB
    Past President RAC
    Past Ontario South Region Director RAC
    Past Vice President Field Services RAC
    Past Ontario South Assistant Director RAC

  • Here is some food for thought in the RAC-CRRL-ARRL discussions, just from a numbers point of view.

    In the USA, I hear the total number of Hams is about 700,000, and that ARRL membership is around 170,000. These are ball park numbers I hear. If that’s so, the ARRL has about 24% participation rate. Now for RAC, the callsign database shows about 55,000 callsigns. We’ve all heard or experienced that individuals and clubs hold several callsigns, and hear of silent keys still listed in the database. I suggest that really there are about 30,000 of individuals there. From what I hear, RAC has about 5,500 members, which is about 18% participation rate. Is RAC really that far off the mark? Maybe only a little bit.

    The next question is, does an organization of 6,000 or so, have enough critical mass? I think that all depends on how it’s set up.

    Reading between the lines of the blog info, because it’s murky, it seems that the RAC executive have cut the insurance program and the QSL outgoing bureau, as being too costly to operate. You know, south of the border they have had user fees for these programs for at least 20 years now. The organization supports the programs, and the user fees pay the way. Is that not a simple thing?

    To answer the question, what do you want from RAC?

    Advocacy for spectrum, antenna allowances
    QSL bureau support (operational, with a small fee)
    ARES support (operational, with a small fee if needed)
    Support for an approach to reach youth, building on JOTA and GOTA
    A periodical publication for technical info, on-the-air operating news of various types, regulatory news items and minutes from board meetings. Note: this publication could be paper or electronic pdf file.
    Better use of the RAC e-mail bulletins for the above news items. Yes they would again appear in the periodical, but the e-mail is a quick heads-up

    Note:
    JOTA is the Scouts Jamboree on the air, every October
    GOTA is the Girl Guides, Guides on the air, every February
    I have been involved with both, as my time permits

    73,
    David VE3UZ

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