RAC President joins the conversation

“To blog or not to blog, that is the question”… William Shakespeare must be turning over in his grave at the number of times that the famous soliloquy from Hamlet is misused and abused to make some kind of point. I am blogging for the first time so I have answered the question that I posed to myself some time ago. There is a first time for everything. [Hopefully I won’t end up like the proponent in a Shakespearean tragedy].

RAC has a number of instruments to reach members [and non-members], there is TCA (a quality journal that punches above its weight), the e-mail Bulletins (Don’t hesitate to subscribe!), the website and the blog.

Someone said to me “the blog is a way to have a conversation with amateurs” and I like conversations.

Anyone reading the website and this blog is a person who is an amateur or has an interest in amateur radio. My kind of person. If you are not an amateur, RAC can steer you in the right direction to become one. If you are an amateur then you know that RAC is “amateurs helping amateurs”. We amateurs need to stick together, and help others… and we do help others… but you knew that. We also talk to the word and you know that too.

You also probably know that many people are no longer impressed that we can talk to the world. One fine day, after I had proudly contacted a Spanish station through a wall of static on SSB during solar minimum, my teenage son noted that he was playing on the internet with team members from Australia, Great Britain, and Germany on an internet game [with full quieting]. He was not impressed with my static filled chat with Barcelona.

Hmmm … once amateurs had a virtual monopoly on long distance and portable communication. That is no longer true and because that is no longer true we don’t have the same respect of the public which means that we don’t have the same influence on government which means that we have become subject [sometimes as an unintended consequence] to restrictive regulations from the various levels of government. Consider the distracted driver legislation passed in many provinces and the fact that the regulatory net scooped amateur radio. It was a fight in many jurisdictions to become exempt. In one jurisdiction [despite its large number of amateurs] the battle was lost [at least temporarily].

What is my point? We need to consider how we can positively impact public opinion. I am not an expert in this by any means. Touting our horn is not our style but …Anyway, I was told a blog is a conversation. Perhaps I am reading the public landscape incorrectly [my wife points out that I occasionally make errors].

Geoff   ve4baw President RAC

6 Responses to “RAC President joins the conversation”

  • Just a comment on young people’s views on Amateur Radio.

    I got my licence when I was in high school, in the 1970′s. All of my fiends, except one, though I was wierd to want involvement in that type of hobby. That one friend got his Amateur licence about 10 years latter. The young people today are no different. To this day, friends say to me, oh, you still do that radio thing do you?

    No matter what age, only a small percentage of society want to have involvement with Amateur Radio, even if they know anything about it, and most don’t.

    I think we need to stop kidding ourselves that everyone wants to become a Radio Amateur. Some do, but most don’t. We need to find and help the ones who do want to take it up. They are there, but few in number.

    Maybe you think I’m being negative. I just tend to be a realist.

  • Greetings! Let’s hope that the RAC Financials for 2009 do NOT reflect the outrageous charges for ‘Legal’ and ‘Accounting’ expenses found on the past yearly statements.

    One suggestion: lower the accounting fee by having a REVIEW rather than an AUDIT!!


    James, VE2KHC

  • Geoff Bawden ve4baw

    Thanks for the comment David ve3uz .. yep, I doubt that everyone is a budding ham and I completely agree that we need to attract and support those with the interest. We also need to find ways to engage the public in some way. When I told my father that I was going to become a ham he said “Hams have saved a lot of lives”. Now that is respect. If the public recognizes our value to the community we will face less issues around say distracted driver legislation, antenna laws ..

  • Geoff,

    Thanks for your insight.

    My view, is that building on the original roots is the way to go. The justification for Amateur Radio has been based on 3 pillars. 1) Learning and education in communications technology, 2) Development and experimentation in and with new communication techniques. 3) Providing communications support in times of emergency need.

    It seems, in the last several years, too much emphasis has been placed on #3, and too little on #1 and #2 pillars. Are you going to take a more balanced path?

  • Geoff Bawden ve4baw

    Hello David ve3uz

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you but business before pleasure [work business and RAC business]. I am very big on education and feel that RAC needs to play a leadership role in education especially as it concerns helping build new hams, also RAC needs to be educating the public on the value of what some media [inaccurately in my view] calls “old technology”. TCA contains articles on new technologies and experimentation…. the RAC organization is composed of members and requires leaders champions and enablers to own issues and move them forward.

  • Geoff,

    I for one, am very appreciative of the time and effort put in by all the RAC Executive volunteers. I agree, too often, tried and true methods are written off as being “old technology”, instead of being considered a strong supplement to a newer approach. One fear, is the traditional ways will be forgotten. Many years ago, a senior engineering manager told me, what he valued most in new hires, was a good grounding in the core basics. The rest, he said, can be added.

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