Help with club in rural area

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Clubs' started by N5WVR, Apr 14, 2017.

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  1. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmm,

    Pick a band where it's easier to find room for an antenna than 160m?

    A good club project to make a 1/4 wave ground plane 2m antenna might be effective in two ways: is a fun project that provide pride and motivation to operate, and second will extend the range of 2m rigs so that more distant OM's can reach the repeater more easily.

    Best of luck. Also, I can confirm the 10% core thing about clubs as I've been a member of two completely different subject besides radio clubs where the same things happened. Plus, if the core gets burned out, then the club can disappear.

    Keep the core happy, but at the same time, always try to rotate it and recruit new core members. I've found that recruiting new core members is not thought of often enough, but is the most effective in both keeping the core fresh and increasing the overall number of club members. People often feel like outsiders, if they are never asked to join as core members.

    Also, try establishing a quick typical routine at club meetings. Some agenda/old news/new news/etc routines get too long and boring, but club meetings with no routine like that can degenerate into meetings with no purpose that seem meaningless.

    73,


    Mark.
     
  2. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    When you mention recruiting new core members, how do you suggest doing that?

    Remember that this is rural Vermont. Many members have room for fair-sized wire antennas. I live on 2 acres, and multi-acres lots are common. The 160 meter net has been around for many years and we will certainly continue it.

    There are a couple of Vermont-based 80m nets that have no connection to the club, but they tend to be dominated by non-radio topics like gardens, weather, etc. There is no room on 80m to start a new club net.

    For those who have no room for HF at home, the 2 meter repeater would be the logical location, but we little use of our repeater. I can rarely get a QSO going on it at commute rush-hour despite a very large coverage area. I'm not sure how to change that. Our Sunday evening 2m net has fallen to where it rarely has more than 2 people.

    We are starting to experiment with 10m SSB as a location for radio topic discussion nets and CW practice. So far the results are promising, with strong signals propagating over the area where club members live. Many people can operate this band, some have beams and amps, and it looks like we can readily operate simplex over 20 mile distances even here in the mountains.

    On the bright side, we just had our largest, most successful Field Day ever, and we are making plans to do State Parks On The Air, Winter Field Day, and an antenna-building party for 2 meter beams. We have a lot of great times coming up this year!

    73,
    Cathy
    N5WVR
     
  3. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is a novel idea - ask members what THEY want to spend their club time on.

    There seems to be few extremes - boring business like "salute to the flag " meetings or "yawn" presentations. Sat thought few of them recently....

    Do not get hung up on "increasing membership" - bigger is not necessarily better , just set some goals and make sure that only members who are actually interested in such goals will participate.
    There is no point keeping dead weight , uninterested members , around on a project.

    As much as some hams are allergic to contests - one of the better operating events are state QSO parties.
    You have "an advantage" of lower ham population, I'll bet you would have a pile-ups going during VT QSO party at no time flat.

    Small advise - unless you get someone who is really a web site geek ( see "uninterested members" note above) , do not sponsor club web site. Dead web site is worst than no web site.

    And ignore anybody advise who will tell you "ham radio is a hobby and it's purpose is to have fun " ( SARCASM)

    73 Shirley
     
  4. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're right. I worked 500+ contacts in the last VT QSO party and often had a steady pileup going. I've even gotten email from a ham in Brazil who was working on WAS and had everything but Vermont, so needed a sked!

    We're trying to figure out the best way to do the party as a group next year. Mostly that means figuring out a location where more than one member can operate, as we did on Field Day. (Most of us have single-op stations at home.)

    73,
    Cathy
    N5wVR
     
  5. K0VWA

    K0VWA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Cathy,

    I know it's an older thread but seems active so I'll share our story. Our club (Mountain Amateur Radio Club) is in a small mountain town of around 9000. We are near the large metro area of Colorado Springs and have a very small club presence. Our old timers tell us of times past when we had weekly nets with 30+ people and taking over an hour. I run the net on the last Tuesday of the month. Sometimes we have 5-6 checkins but it's usually two or three. We have 4 linked repeater sites that cover a big portion of central Colorado. I'm just a guilty as the others on nights where I'm not net controller. Our net is at 1930 local which meshes perfectly with our kids' bedtimes and I suspect it's around other folks dinner time. We only have a handful of members at Field Day and our annual Camp Fest cookout. (It's like our mini field day). Our biggest get together is the annual Christmas dinner where we may have 20-30 attend. The repeaters are nearly always silent even though nearly a million people could hear it.

    Having said all that - we still have a fun club - just not everyone is active. :) Most of the retired folk only come out on Field Day or Camp Fest but the rest of us are involved in public service events through our local ARES group. Some of our members are involved in search and rescue work. In fact, our repeater system is often used for SAR work in difficult locations. We used it weekend before last to support safety communications for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

    Another thing we do locally is activating summits for SOTA - the Summits on the Air program. I can't help but notice that there are a few mountains in Vermont. :) SOTA activations are great team building and camaraderie exercises. We talk SSB coast to coast nearly every time we're out. One time we even made a SOTA-SOTA contact to the highest peak in North Carolina.

    As for getting new members - that's tough. :) I've taught a 6 week class at our local elementary school. One kid was interested but his folks are too busy to help him study. My wife and I usually take our HT's when visiting friends - especially during bad weather - so they can see the value of having good communications. I also invite friends to the ARES events I work (when allowed). Had one friend say he wanted to get licensed so I bought him the study book. We'll see if he makes it. hihi

    Lastly, something else we do as members is that we don't always wait for the club to do something. We'll meet up and build gear together, talk radios, antennas, etc just because. Most of our more active members have jobs, kids, and such resulting in having to fit radio in somewhere.

    To sum it up (hehehe), just try to get everyone playing radio as much as they can. The club's "success" will follow. And thank you for reminding me of the Vermont QSO party. I just run a 100W 857d and a very much folded and poorly mounted G5RV in a tiny rental lot but would love to work Vermont one day. If you always hold it in February I won't likely get the benefit of a mountain summit to help my signal. :)

    Good luck and let us know how the club's doing.

    73,
    Carl - K0VWA
     
  6. KF5THB

    KF5THB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello Again: Thought I'd share (and invite you all into) my own personal crusade to make ham radio a little more interesting.
    To me, the boring part is not having anything to talk about other than 1) my station, 2) the weather, 3) my health (no way!) 4) and the worst, "check me in for the count and secure my station." Actually, the latter is not really a subject of conversation; so anyway, where was I?
    I do find technical and "how-to" nets most interesting and will follow along when ever I find one. Skynet the DARC echolink'ed net is a favorite but it is not a topic of discussion as much as it is a "program" into which you can also, check. grammar~
    So join me this evening and most every Wednesday's for the Bigfoot Radio Net. See my FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/154008065032703 for more information and direction. I figure, it's all a mystery and adventure so make the most of it.[​IMG]
     

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