I’ve just approved for posting a second lengthy comment from Dave VE3JX who is discussing my recent comments about Radio Amateurs of Canada.
I want to thank Dave for taking the time and staying involved by commenting on what he thinks might prove helpful in reorganizing our national organization.
Having said that I have come to believe that both Dave and myself are wasting our time and energy on a problem that is well beyond our ability to solve.
Take the time to read Dave’s comments and I’d offer a few of my own here but don’t expect anything more from me on this topic.
I believe our national organization has a mandate (at present unacknowledged by the leadership group) to represent the interests of all licensed Amateurs in Canada. RAC needs not be all things to all people Dave but it does need to step up. (Much in the same say a national leader represents all the people and not just those who elected him or her.)
While you seem incredulous that a director of our national organization would actually state that RAC represented the interests of only those Amateurs who had paid their dues, I was there and I heard the statement. This director (at the time) was not alone in holding this misguided sentiment. Current behaviour would seem to support my observation.
And as you say you can’t imagine any board members saying this but Dave there was so much that went on (and continued) at RAC that I couldn’t imagine that eventually I quit rather than be associated with some of the actions and thoughts of others.
You and I are in agreement about the dropping of non-members from the email alias system. It was a dumb idea but it was only one of what was seemingly like a bunch of dumb ideas (like having two fractured websites. Young people interpret bad websites and social media mistakes differently than we do. It doesn’t speak well of us.) that again continues to this day.
I’m going to skip much of what we agree upon in our collective wisdom :) but the Industry Canada angle to all this has yet to be explored and commented upon. I don’t have sufficient information to make a statement but…
Isn’t it interesting how Industry Canada has stepped back from its involvement with Amateur Radio? For example, unlike during my time we now have volunteer examiners (a good thing) instead of going to an IC office to take the dreaded test.
There is no longer a licensing fee collected when you’re issued your ticket and subsequently it appears that Industry Canada hasn’t got a clue about how many licensed Amateurs there are in Canada – dead or alive.
Of course I’m betting that IC would like to maintain a relationship with one national group that speaks for all Amateurs but we don’t have that right now in RAC (by our directors’s own words) and I suspect there’s some trepidation in IC about what I’m saying right now.
Are we having regular annual meetings with top IC officials and our RAC board or representatives? And if so, what is being said and agreed upon in our name? What’s the future plans?
We really should look into this arrangement between our licensor and our “national” organization. Something just doesn’t sit right with me. (Must be the old newspaper reporter creepy feeling sensor going off.)
When it comes to The Canadian Amateur (which I know from my experience as a national magazine editor is a first-class publication) I can’t see how we can continue to pay for production, print and mailing costs based on RAC’s failing membership.
TCA costs RAC tens of thousands of well-spent dollars (as a former editor I wouldn’t touch it for less than $1200 to $1500 an issue) and then add print and mailing and you get the picture) but it’s a value-added product to the RAC mix which includes so much more (representation to the Canadian government, IC, ARRL, RSGB, IARU and a whole bunch more).
I say keep the editor (who is doing a fabulous job) and offer TCA online for free with added WiKi possibilities for special interest groups to add their own information and let it be the draw that brings in new members based on the soundness of our arguments that we post to non-members. Get some video channels running and stand back as young people will flock to RAC coming from this new “maker” culture.
Dave, you and I are not the future of Amateur Radio. We’re barely part of its glorious past here in Canada :) The only way we’re going to attract young people (And here I mean potential Amateurs under the age of 50 let alone the kids – under 30) is to embrace new media like Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Google Groups and a whole lot more fully and unequivocally.
The days of dry lengthy newsletters and print magazines in the mail are like the days of AM radio. Nostalgic and filled with the glories of days past but dead as a doornail to more than half our potential audience.
As to your comments about ARES we are in total agreement and it sounds like I’d enjoy being part of your ARES structure as I too believe that the power of ARES rests with the clubs and that we have way too many overly enthusiastic folks who want everyone to buy a yellow vest and pass rigorous training examinations.
The para-police model isn’t going to attract young people nor is it particularly helpful when ARES teams actually deploy.
I’ve been in (and out) of club-sponsored ARES groups since the mid-70s and in all the special events, parades, charitable fund-raising walks, searches for missing people, weather-related disasters the only training most got was on the job consisted of remember to bring a lunch, bottled water and rubber boots if there’s rain. If you’ve got a second battery bring it.
Finally Dave, you question my thoughts about a clean slate. I would agree with you but I part ways when we think RAC is a democratic institution. It is no more. Too many talented and well-meaning volunteers have quit or been thrown under the bus never to be seen again. And despite the turnover, the old ways persist.
And (finally and at long last) my final comment. I will not be running for any position in Radio Amateurs of Canada. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.
The days of persuasion are long past when it comes to RAC as are the days of confrontation.
I’ve done what I could and said what needed saying and I am moving on.