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Looking to 2011 Early – Loss of Clubs, Gains of Opportunities and Spending Time on the Air 29 - November - 2010

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Here I am giving some time to looking forward to 2011 early, especially in terms of my Amateur Radio hobby.

Though I haven’t said very much directly, lest my comments inadvertently hasten the clubs demise, for all practical purposes our local radio club has withered. The reasons are typical – losing focus of what matters to the membership and internal frictions. While 2010 saw the club finally gain its long desired 501c3 status the loss of members disaffected by the loss of club “mojo” has basically finished it off. In 2011 it would have started its 65th year, so perhaps it isn’t all the inappropriate that it “retires” while ahead.

So a Loss of the Local Club has an affect on forward plans – what to do with the Hamcram efforts and with the local email reflector being unsubscribed by the area hams, how to keep in touch.

Or is it even important? It isn’t like clubs really fire a person up – it is more that they put like minded people in proximity. And that isn’t always all that much either. I’ve found as much interaction with distant clubs with people more closely sharing interests than with geographically defined clubs. Guess I’m not all that taken with clubs who make discussions of spending trivial sums of money – sums that wouldn’t cover the car gas for the attendees who have shown up – as a “feature” of their business. Lame. Unless the interaction is intellectually stimulating and socially fun, why go in teh first place? Perhaps that our local club had only one regular member attend its last meeting (and a total of four or five depending if you count board members and a Skype-In person or not) attend total hits the nail on the head. People don’t want to “do business” and hear “club woes” – they want to learn something, have fun and mingle.

Enough on clubs in the death throws….

On the plus side there are some significant Gains of Opportunities for my Amateur Radio involvement for 2011. With Dale N6JSX I have one technology project in the works, with Scott W9JSB plans to do some Satellite work, and with a core group of area amateurs we’re into a new special project (NOT a new club! But watch for a detailed announcement in 2011).

A couple travel opportunities may hold some operating time as well! I’m also considering putting aside time for a mini-Dxpedition balanced with some more serious fishing.

All should increase my chances of Spending Time on the Air operating and spending time coaching other & getting them on the air.

Sometime in 2011 I’d like to move my actual operating position into the main portion of the house, and have some quotes coming on doing the work to make that happen. Whether Mrs K9ZW will oblige is a later hurdle.

I’ve been a partner in a working boat which seems to be an ideal candidate for some operating time as well. Perhaps I can finally get out on the boat (never have been) and do some HF off it. BTW it is a 31 FT ex-US Coast Guard boat which is leased to an area marina as part of the TowBoatUS program.

I’ve also at least four portable HF antenna set-ups to field test, and a whole pile of gear to field test. Not to mention four or five kits to build….

Well as winter looms, guess it is good to start planning!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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1. Kevin K0KDS - 29 - November - 2010

Wow! You guys handled financial matters at general club meetings? Didn’t the club have an elected board?

We save all of our administration and planning for a separate board meeting each month. They last about two hours each (and it could be cut down to about an hour if some people didn’t overthink a plate of beans). This keeps all the nastiness out of the general meetings. I didn’t know there was any other way to do it.

k9zw - 30 - November - 2010

Hi Kevin K0KDS

The local group did have an elected board and separate Board Meetings, though they were ineffectively used nor kept appropriately distinct from the membership meetings (basically they often duplicated each other).

Unfortunately the Board meeting minutes were never published (seldom even distributed to the Board members) and often the membership meeting minutes/announcements would first appear mere days before the next month’s meeting – so communications had broken down for the most part.

Membership meeting agendas ( or Board meeting agendas for their part) perhaps were available a day or two before a meeting, and perhaps one or two membership meetings actually had a program in as many years… sad…

As for community PR – it wasn’t happening.

A profound lack of attention to the basics – communication, inspiration, education and community – saw membership drop from approaching 90 members to less than 20, with perhaps 10 active.

Presently the club cannot find enough volunteers to fill the Board slots and for a County Based organization 4 of the 6 slots that were filled were filled by amateurs who live outside of the county – the constitution doesn’t preclude this, but it sure makes it hard to be “local” when leadership lives in another county or even in another state!

From the money end there is “mischief from the grave” – an opportunity to earn money through holding the presidency by additionally serving on a foundation’s board – that has gotten in the way. This several thousands of dollars a year ($100/hour) income stream to the President for services provided to a dead amateur’s charity foundation has adversely affected the club over & over. At a later date I’ll write about how the unintended consequences of such an arrangement screws up a club.

Let’s not forget the classic club issue – Repeaters – as the club retains two repeaters though expect for SKYWARN all other formal Emcomm split off into a separate club under the auspices of the local Red Cross. The idea that money, time and effort would be demanded of the club to basically support another group’s mission wasn’t well thought out, and a bipolar decision making – one moment supporting the repeaters and the next using them as a weapon to screw with the split-off group, provided an additional chill to enthusiasm.

I resigned from the Board when I realized no amount of coaching was going to change the core issues, as the Board’s actions were in conflict with legal & tax rules, as well as not in the interests of the membership. As Board members we were not even provided minutes, and often found the “real decisions” happening in walking quorums (usually by Skype) outside of the board meetings. What seemed a correctable, if farcical situation had become pregnant with personal legal exposure once the 501c3 was achieved. Bad scene.

No point in crying over spilt milk though, as already an active core of the local amateurs have started to meet with a non-club framework to share experiences and community. The good part of what a club should be about hasn’t died, it has just moved along to a situation where it can flourish!

73

Steve
K9ZW


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