Five Reasons To Join RAC and One Reason Not To

Why should any of us join Radio Amateurs of Canada?

It’s simple. As Canadian amateur radio operators we need:

  1. To speak with one voice to Industry Canada and our national politicians;
  2. To be represented on international radio regulating committees and national and provincial decision-making groups;
  3. To grow amateur radio in Canada by attracting new members especially new younger members (I’ll settle for anyone under 50.);
  4. To maintain and grow our national readiness to help our fellow Canadians in times of need (The Fukushima reactors were built to survive known conditions. Oops!)
  5. To foster better relations with amateurs in all regions of Canada (I’m thinking here of Quebec where we have almost zero representation).

So why shouldn’t you join RAC?

  1. With the exceptions of point 2 to some extent (thanks to one or two dedicated volunteers) and point 4 (where there’s already been some discussion about how ARES will survive the demise of RAC), none of the above has happened or is happening.

Now there’s been RAC board decision to eliminate all the callsign@RAC.CA address for all non-members. This is staggeringly shortsighted. It’s something I’d expect from a small-minded club executive but not the leaders of our national organization. It’s no way to attract new members or endear yourself to your existing shrinking membership base.

One or two more decisions like this one and I doubt we’ll have to concern ourselves about the current national organization anymore.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

3 thoughts on “Five Reasons To Join RAC and One Reason Not To

  1. Hi Peter – I would like to understand why you feel that removing the @RAC.CA from non-members is shortsighted and why this would not “endear yourself to your existing shrinking membership base”. Isn’t that the whole point…these people aren’t part of the membership base. They are getting one of benefits of membership without having to be a member.

    Thanks and 73,

    Robert

  2. Peter,
    We always welcome your comments about RAC, despite their sometimes(more often than not) negative tone. I take exception to some of the notions you promote, especially when they are not founded in truth or fact. For instance, ARRL offers email forwarding alias only to its members. As a non-member of that organization, I tried just two minutes ago to obtain a @arrl.net alias. It immediately responded with a message “for ARRL members only” It too recognizes that resources are required to apply such a benefit, and who else should pay than the users who receive such benefit.

    Please, in any future RAC bashing you may pursue,(and I’m sure you have cause) make sure you base your opinion based on fact rather than fiction.

    73
    Chris
    RAC HQ
    Office Co-ordinator
    Webmaster OVMRC

  3. RAC sometimes seems to miss the obvious, and is doing so again in defending its decision to disable the email forwarding accounts of non-members.

    ARRL is a successful and thriving organization, one which offers enough clear benefits to membership that it can afford to exercise the stick & carrot with regard to email forwarding.

    RAC on the other hand is clearly failing, including failing to demonstrate its competence and offer clear and desireable benefits of membership. Using the stick with no carrot in sight on email forwarding will further distance RAC from the potential members it so desperately needs.

    It may be smarter for RAC to begin using the forwarding accounts of non-members to promote membership to them. Of course, to do this RAC must first be able to make an attractive case for membership in RAC to the vast majority of Canadian amateurs who have given up on it. If non-members with RAC forwarding accounts feel that use of them to promote membership is unwarranted, then they can un-subscribe themselves, and save some precious volunteer time in doing it for (to!) them.

    With criticism of RAC starting to come to a hard boil, one understands that it must be very difficult for RAC officials and volunteers to listen instead of just reacting defensively. But it’s critical that they do so, rather than wag their fingers at their critics in a way that serves to further reduce interest in being a member.

    I am, by the way, a Maple Leaf Operator member, one who has paid a premium for RAC membership in return for very little (less even than what was promised!) in an effort to support our need for a strong, competent, effective national organization.

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