How to Grow Ham Radio

Thanks to Bob, VE3MPG for this posting on 26 ways how to attract more people into the amateur radio hobby.

  1. Have brochures designed and written and approved by RAC members in the know – find target mailing list and mail the brochure out regularly through the year with updates – keep them in the loop. Should be published in both official languages. Make sure they are copy-edited.
  2. Distribute these information pamphlets at various locations – tech high schools, Scout of Canada headquarters, Boys and Girls Clubs, CEGEPs etc. (both official languages)
  3. Place ads in local computer magazines – yes, hams do use computers for various functions – psk modes, logging, low signal work, aprs – yes, it’s still a young person’s hobby if they apply it to computers and the internet. Show how the internet is used for logging and call sign servers, remote operation of stations and all other manner of amateur use. Have an advertising committee to work up some copy.
  4. Skywarn and weather spotting activities appeal to the younger hams. (see WorldRadio Online, August 2010 issue)
  5. Emphasize the public service aspect, emergency comms, antenna building, alternative power solutions like solar; low power can yield DX – good antennas are the solution.
  6. Emphasize youth in other countries – it may seem like an old man’s hobby but there are large youth groups involved in amateur radio. See the attached WRO PDF file, turn to page 12 for a story on the Youth Forum at Dayton this year – impressive! Also see page 42 of this issue – “The Power of Demonstration: Our Top Recruiting Tool” – we must get more RAC members to demo different aspects of our hobby – once new hams are recruited get them to subscribe to a Canadian Amateur Radio magazine with articles written by their peers.
  7. Kit building can be a money saving solution to expensive commercial radios. Solicit more easy to build kit articles in TCA and provide clear stick-on RAC logos to put on the finished kit. Let’s be more visible – with the stickers.
  8. Emphasize high-tech comms with satellites, the International Space Station etc. – all accomplished with hand held low powered dual band radios and computers.
  9. Set up easy to understand amateur activities at the Museum or in schools and high schools.
  10. Provide schools and youth clubs and Scouting Canada a free subscription to RAC’s publications. Target new groups on a regular basis. Provide NRC library with subscription. Don’t rely on the Science and Tech museum to adequately distribute out of date publications.
  11. Find new hams to write as guest bloggers on the RAC blog.
  12. Keep this momentum going – organize a task force with new ham emphasis and to target youth.
  13. Provide universities with promo pamphlet. (see VA3STL’s efforts at Carleton University!)
  14. Provide timely relevant information to new and prospective amateurs on the RAC blog – have proof-readers and copy-editors to go over any text for spelling and grammatical errors! Let’s make the right first impression. Yes, even bloggers need help with the English language.
  15. Have non-hams look at our efforts for relevancy – they may have some unique perspective in attracting new amateurs.
  16. Don’t discount or ignore any complaints or suggestions about RAC’s operations at all levels. Someone should be keeping a to-do list with recommendations and actionable items to be completed. This should be an on-going process – not something to be looked at only during the AGM.
  17. Find qualified persons (yes, it takes more than one web person!) to bring the RAC web site up to modern standards – it is arcane and difficult to navigate and poorly designed. It’s not attractive and internet users stay away from it.
  18. Encourage a local Youth Net.
  19. Leave brochure material or give presentation with the Canadian Forces Reserve Barracks at Dows Lake. Established in 1943, this military emplacement is home to HMCS Carleton (Canadian Naval Reserve), 30th Field Regiment(RCA) (Canadian Army Reserve), as well as 3 cadet corps.
  20. Assure that current copies of TCA are available at all local school libraries.
  21. Find a young ham to write a column for future issues of TCA.
  22. Assure that the local public libraries have copies of TCA and RAC brochures.
  23. Answer ALL emails to RAC in a timely fashion. Don’t let any email go unanswered. RAC must act like a legitimate business. Have an action list and log of responded to emails.
  24. Solicit donations of better and more computer equipment for use by volunteers at RAC headquarters. Have an attractive volunteer work area at RAC headquarters. Encourage in-office help as well as online work for volunteers. Set up a ‘jobs to do’ area on the RAC website.
  25. Find people that represent the culture RAC wants and hopes to create.
  26. RAC magazine should feature new young hams – interview (and a photo) should reflect why they became hams and how they studied to become hams – new column should be Youth oriented. RAC website should have a youth page/new hams page, with photos of new hams.

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