Thursday, January 26, 2012

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN presents an insightful and inspiring talk about Amateur Radio

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to the notion that, as a amateur radio operator, I should be engaged in this or that activity ... should volunteer for something ... should be building equipment ... should be operating more ... well, you get the picture. I enjoyed the following video because it highlighted the variety of experiences in amateur radio and how each has value to the community in its own way.

If you talk to any group of ham radio folk (or read through a ham radio publication) you'll always run the risk of feeling that somehow you're just not doing enough stuff and that you're not holding up your end of the deal. The FCC made allowances for you to operate on several bands of frequencies which are set aside for amateur radio use ... you really should be using them right?
The answer to that ... as far as I now think ... is yes, and also maybe. To be perfectly honest I do enjoy getting on the air from time to time and making contacts, usually digital as I don't seem to have an ear for picking out SSB voices from the noise. However ... there are other things like vintage vacuum tube equipment, experimenting and the history of ham radio technology that I enjoy more.
I came to realize that, much like genetic diversity, a ham radio club that has members interested in a wide range of things could potentially be more robust and offer a greater service to the community and its members. There is one critically important caveat here however and it has been the downfall of several special interest clubs in the past. In order for a club with members having diverse interests to survive and thrive there must be a significant amount of tolerance shown by each and every member. We are both united by a common interested and made unique and interesting by the variety of ways that common interest is manifest.
If you don't operate QRP then stop a moment and talk to someone who does, if you only operate CW then chat to someone who operates digital modes or phone. Different disciplines can always benefit from a little cross traffic and you may be amazed at what you learn!