Why should I join a amateur radio club?

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Why join a club?

I have often asked myself the same question. I suppose the best way to answer this question is to relate a personal experience that occurred in the last few weeks of March 1999.

I already had an FT290 R Yaesu that I used for local repeater access, but as yet had not ventured onto the local packet BBS. Mainly due to the fact that I did not have a TNC or Modem to connect to my computer.

I came across PC Flexnet on the Internet, and after reading about how it only needs a handful of components to operate and uses the sound card in the computer to process all the packet tones, I decided to give it a go.

I set up all the software and got it all working on recieve with out a hitch. Then came the easiest part (or so I thought) putting the 3 or 4 components together for the transmitter keying side of things. Well, needless to say I ran into problems... The 290 R wanted transmit when it was supposed to receive and vice versa.

So I gave VK4XAR Wayne a call onthe local repeater. Pretty soon VK4UAT Alan and VK4NKD John had joined in and between them we managed to get the radio to do the right things at the right time.

I then contacted VK4TRS Bruce (our local Winpack guru) for the correct start-up script for our local PBBS. Bruce also gave me some pointers on setting up defaults etc... all his assistance saved me a lot of time as I was not familiar with Winpack.

All of these gentlemen assisted me with setting up PC Flexnet and Winpack, as well as showing a lot of patience when I asked some pretty dumb questions.

What has this got to do with club membership?

Well, the repeater is owned and maintained by Southside Amateur Radio Society Inc. (SARS) and all of these fellows are members of the club as well. If it were not for me being a member as well, I probably would not have been able to draw on their knowledge base.

Why? Simply because I would not have known that they were there on that particular frequency.

Another benifit of club membership is I get exposed to the happenings in other clubs in the area. Many of these clubs are not listed in the phone book but have regular display nights, nets and activities where other clubs are invited to attend.

Apart from what I have related above, other reasons for joining a club include

  • Being able to access large caches of technical journals and reference material.
  • Being able to use test equipment that is normally to expensive for the average Ham
  • Having the opportunity to participate in contest and field days at locations you would not normally be able to visit alone.
  • Having the opportunity to attend technical, trade nights as well as upgrade courses for various licence levels. Basically you have to be a member of the club to hear about such an event even if its is not your club organising the event.
  • And most importantly, making friends with people of like minded interests.
Well, they are my reasons for being a member of a club. Perhaps you can think of others.

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