[CQ-Contest] The Ideal Club...and today's Joe Ham
Jim White, K4OJ
k4oj at ij.net
Fri Aug 14 20:52:43 EDT 1998
KH2D had better be careful, he is not being Politically Correct when he
says his group consists of folks with whom he is having FUN with because:
"because we are not in an environment with other people who have a ham
license, we are with other people who are interested in the same things we
We all have witnessed the phenomenon Jim speaks of...
For several years I was non-affiliated with a ham club for exactly the
reasons he stated as to what was what....shortly after moving to Tampa I
met up with some hams at their well appointed ham station at my wife's work
location...when I got there I asked if I could scan the band and make some
QSOs on HF - it was CQ WW SSB weekend so I thought I could get a little fix
after being off the air...
As the evening wore on I asked how to hook up the 75 meter antenna....the
club trustee and President told me to put my finger on the upper corner of
the rig and hit that button there...yeah that one and I would be
I told him I didn't understand...he said, huh - that that was the automatic
antenna tuner and all I had to do was push that button and I would able to
use the tribander on 75 meters - and that it worked GREAT!
I almost got into a discussion with him about antennas and then decided -
no - I would gracefully thank his guys for the opportunity to get a little
ham fix...wished these communicators good evening (they were all huddled
around a computer reading stuff coming over airwaves on packet"
I tried to explain to my wife what I felt and why I was not going to peruse
joining the club which had had many nice rigs etc...at first she thought it
was odd that I didn't bond with these guys...then I went on to talk to her
about what I loved...in ham radio that is.
After what she tells me was an impassioned speech about the sun rising and
setting and making lots of contacts very fast because I was on the right
frequency at the right time with the right equipment she understood why I
was different from those guys who she kin da felt were a lil weird anyhow
and that, yes...while we were all hams...obviously my interests were very
different from their. She was more disappointed that I hadn't found some
guys to "bond" with, but I told her that the type of guys I wanted to bond
with were few and far between.
Weeks later I was invited by WC4E to join him at K4XS' QTH....when I called
Bill and got direction how to get there and when he said that after that
last turn not to worry I would know when I was at the right place I KNEW I
had found some kindred spirits.
Yeah, we are different and you know what...we have bigger toys :-)
Vive la difference, yes.....those who are as impassioned about OPERATING as
contesters, are by "definition" different form the majority of our fellow
hams today...what I like to call "COMMUNICATORS"....
Some say I am a snob, some say I do disservice to the hobby by maintaining
traditional stereotypes about "non-extras"....I say I just like hanging out
with anyone who loves operating as much as I do, and has demonstrated that
they are not satisfied with pushing a button on a rig and being satisfied
that with that "electronic" 75 meter antenna.
Guys who wanna make Qs gotta know how it works which means they have done
more than listen to a few audio tapes...they have improved themselves,
their knowledge of how radio works and because of that their "stake" in the
hobby - their "personal investment" in it...yup, they tend to be
impassioned not only about their clubs...but their hobby, too.......THEY
LOVE IT - AND DO NOT LOSE INTEREST IN THE HOBBY WHEN THE LATEST HIGH TECH
VIDEO GAME HITS THE STREET.......
THEY ARE OPERATORS.....and they ARE different than Joe Ham at the local
club who just wants to argue about the height of the repeater
antenna....even though he doesn't know WHY it might be better at 300 feet
rather than 100 feet!
The sheer numbers of these COMMUNICATORS we are told (albeit indirectly by
actions like the recent ones of the ARRL - has your ARRL director replied
to YOUR message?) is what keeps the hobby going....the number of
COMMUNICATORS keeps our ranks strong in numbers......it is THE OPERATORS
keep it a hobby that I enjoy.
Start your own club, it is like anything else you love HARD WORK.....the
rewards are like those in contesting however....ONE WHICH YOU APPRECIATE.
The Florida contest Group was started as an informal batch of guys who
wanted to share their love of OPERATING contests.....and it has done well
in its short lifespan. I am glad I started it to have created a body of
hams with whom I can "shoot the sheeeeit", guys who can talk intelligently
about antennas and feedlines...because those things allow them to OPERATE
After almost every contest I leave the rig saying - "how can you not love
this stuff"....after I attended the last "main stream" ham club meeting I
pondered: "how CAN you love this stuff".
Guess that's why there is chocolate and vanilla......my pick is Orange
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