Grandpa’s Army – Shades of Emcomm Grey

For so many communities Emcomm has become an Old men’s club salted with a handful of Paramilitary wannabes.

Not surprising, as they say a Man is most useful to a community before the responsibilities of family life have settled in and once the nest is empty in a hope or regaining the Mojo they set aside to be a family man.  

The first group, the energetic younger ones, often lack experience but usually have the energy.

The later group often think they have the experience, much which is arm chair wishful thinking rather than actual experience, and are willing to run the course if they can get Doctor’s permission.

Unfortunately they have become aged infirm well meaning folks who wouldn’t survive a long weekend rough camping without their evening & prescription medicines, much less a prolonged operation under emergency.

The wishful experience is often decades of imagination or endless groundhog-days repetition doing things in curious antiquated ways, or doing thing over & over but out right wrongly.  It would be like someone imagining themselves a musician when they have practiced their scales wrong (or just imagined scales) for years.

When confronted with their inadequacies they are the folks who in the best of times storm out of meetings flush with rage due to lack of personal self control spouting off visions of grander that they will somehow metamorphose into swashbuckling Emcomm Leaders in a time of true emergency.

Real “Grandpa’s Army” club of folk who know that in almost every aspect  of their lives that they are “playing pieces off the table” but cling on for the “glory” through the Emcomm charades.

Send us the money from grants & funds, they say – actually they are often quite good at this – send us to the weekend retreats on luxury resort campuses to swagger with other ancients talking Emcomm.

Salted in Grandpa’s Army usually will be a few doing Emcomm for Personal profits.  The EmGov industry worker, perhaps employed by a served agency or private profiteer.

Shades of Emcomm Grey they often fight tooth an nail with the more able, as a Grandpa’s Army of Grumpy Old Men.

If one’s group is fortunate in this midst will be a rational true at heart Elmer or two who has not been run off.  And be sure that there are a lot of earnest, trustworthy and able older Emcomm participants who are real Emcomm assets. 

And there is the deadman’s shoes of positions filled by the infirm, unable and unwise who simply won’t step aside.

There are Emcomm groups who put on Auxiliary Status and forbid leadership roles for anyone medicating, unfit or over a certain age limit.  

Perhaps through such an effort they suffer with a light shade of Emcomm Grey.



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5 thoughts on “Grandpa’s Army – Shades of Emcomm Grey

  1. Mark Morgan KB9RQZ says:

    god would i like to call you a liar but if you are in anyway inaccurate it is to understate the rot in emcomm crcles

  2. Scot says:


    One of your best if not the best thus far. I stopped and thought for moment after reading your post. Your theme is spot on that is leadership. We are in want of leadership across a constellation of activities which includes ham radio.

    Likewise the running conversation within my social network of ham radio operators suggest one might look again at EMCOMM. Is this a case of wink, wink and look the other way as the good ole boy network leads us toward failure? We are essentially a ‘one egg’ community while tens of eggs exist outside of the EMCOMM basket. Yet, the public perception of ham radio is seen through press releases about one egg of activity.

    We are not stuck neither is the eggshell broken but moving forward will take great effort. Thank you for your heartfelt posting.

    Scot, KA3DRR

  3. Mark Morgan KB9RQZ says:

    indeed we do suffer from want of leadership as some of these ot good ole networks try to the next gen like myself to do the work of leadership but throw us out if question what we are told to do

    my expernce is in the club side o it but i sadly suspect emcom is about the same

    • k9zw says:

      Hi Mark KB9RQZ

      One of the impacts of the current Emcomm direction is a conflict between “volunteers” and “pseudo-professionals.”

      Another is conflict between what WE as Radio Amateurs want to do, and what THEY (being the served agencies and government) think they can demand of volunteers.

      Out of this we are locally letting our RACES group metamorphose into a separate organization to suite the needs & desires of demanding served agencies, money-with-strings-attached, and those local amateurs wanting to operate as a para-something group.

      Internal to the general club we will be focusing on a more traditional Emcomm awareness and ARES type role.

      This sort of change should happen across the hobby soon.



  4. Bob Dyer WB5EAT says:

    As I complete another Emcomm course ( sold by the ARRL ) i can clearly see the distorted view that we should all be thankful to empty wastebaskets and take telephone calls, or ( don’t get too excited ) -operate fax machines for ( the served agencies ). I think not .

    The Amatuer community ,in good faith , extended it’s hand and has been shut out by – (The paid proffesionals ) . Civil Defense funding was sucked dry so that (they) could take over , it’s their game now .

    For those with the youth and the energy , best join a good county fire dept. your efforts are truly needed and welcome .
    For those of us who are a bit older and still know what we are doing :
    Continue to operate in the field , keep your systems in order and yourself
    in shape .Check into those traffic nets . Pass traffic , stay sharp .

    There will be another failure of the system, because of a storm , a flood, or an earthquake , or worse . Their multi billion dollar systems will fail as they always do , and then we will come online , we will communicate where they cannot . the traffic will be passed , the request will be filled , the
    injured will be reported . After it’s all over – the politicians will pat us on the back and their will be a couple of news articles about what we did .

    Then congress will spend more tax payer dollars on more equiptment and make more speaches , and we will be forgotten about , just like the last time it happened .

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