Clubs: Can They Attract And Compel New Hams?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N1BCG, Jan 26, 2020.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The point was made recently that amateur radio clubs are in a good position to attract licensees and compel them to become active hams, that is, not just get a license but to provide an environment that encourages a lasting interest in the hobby.

    There are hundreds of amateur radio clubs just within the U.S. and they are in many ways the face of amateur radio. While it's easy to cite what's not being done or what could be done better, the more challenging (and useful) question is:

    What are clubs doing that's effective in growth and retention of new amateur radio operators?
  2. W4IOA

    W4IOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcoming them beyond having them introduce their callsign goes a long way.
    N5PAR, N4ARM, N4NYK and 2 others like this.
  3. AD5HR

    AD5HR Ham Member QRZ Page

    A local club (W5ROS) administers V.E. testing every
    first and third Saturday of the month.
    This has been very successful in bringing "new blood"
    to the club, as they are asked to join before they leave
    the clubhouse.
    If you really want more hams, clubs should be willing to
    give up a couple mornings a month. V.E.s are where it's
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Nashua ARC (NH) has done an outstanding job of getting new--radio-active-- hams . AB1OC, Fred, has been part of that.

    Of course, the most successful club in that regard is DARA, which sponsors Hamvention. Lotsa people there responsible for that, but Michael W8CI is one standout.
    N1VAU likes this.
  5. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some clubs can... some clubs can't...
    W0FS, W4NNF and W1YW like this.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've talked to maybe 100 new Techs in the last three years and asked them what worked for them to hold their interest. I was surprised at some of the things that stuck with them...Here some suggestions--

    Two techniques that work very well are : 1) have an active team of 2-4 club members who 'elmer' the new hams ,make them feel welcome to the club and follow-thru over an extended period of time ; 2) Having 'house concert' equivalents of follow-ups to active ham shacks works really well.

    We tend to forget that most operating happens at home, so the 'QSO house concerts' are key to people saying: hmmm, I could do this at my place too! Don't save everything up for field day once a year. Welcome the bunch over to your shack. Pretend its a football game.

    The cost of decent HF , for example, is in the hundreds of dollars nowadays. Even less if needed. That includes reasonable antennas.

    'Creative antenna' competitions are pretty recent but also get good play: HF; VHF; sat.. Newbie teams use a common knowledge base to come up with antennas that work, out of everyday things like aluminum foil, wire, tape measures,cereal boxes, flower pots, soda bottles,you get the idea.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
    W5INC, W3MMM, KF5KWO and 2 others like this.
  7. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And some clubs are pretty good at ignoring or even offending new people. Intentionally or not. We've seen the stories posted in the forums before.

    As long as it's genuine and not over-played. Hard to imagine anything much creepier to a young person than to show up at a club meeting and suddenly find themselves surrounded by a bunch of fat guys three or four times their age, saying they want to "Elmer" him or her.
    KC1DR, W2AI, K8AI and 4 others like this.
  8. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The long answer is NO!
  9. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree that growth is to be found locally. It can't be done from the Ivory Tower in Newington. I don't doubt what NN4RH describes and that can be an impediment but not all clubs are that way.
  10. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The main problem for many clubs is how they see themselves and how they promote to a wider community. This is the details of one club on the WIA website. It sounds more like somewhere people go to die rather than a club that is energized by ham radio and passing on experience to new guys. It reads exclusion rather than welcome. And the advice newbies are often given, find a local club blaa blaa blaa, if you were a newbie and saw that as your local club, what are you going to think about ham radio?And how fast are you going to run away?

    K5EMG and KX4O like this.

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