[CQ-Contest] Strengthening Club Activities

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Mon Dec 19 15:43:15 EST 2016

On Mon,12/19/2016 8:50 AM, Joe wrote:
> But other than Field Day, How does one get clubs to try like SS or CQWW?

One of the best ways is to invite another ham, young or old, to join you 
for a multi-op at your station. Rig a second set of headphones so that 
they hear what's going on. If they're new to contesting, or relatively 
green, let them listen to you for a while -- one hour or several, 
depending on their experience and the flow of the contest. Then turn the 
mic or key(board) over to them while you listen.

> Most clubs that I know of are lucky to even get members to come to a 
> meeting.

Some clubs are better than others in that regard. Two of the best local 
clubs of which I've been a member hold casual Saturday morning breakfast 
or coffee sessions. The North Shore Radio Club does a breakfast thing, 
the Santa Cruz County Radio Club does "CAKE" -- Coffee-Assisted 
Knowledge Exchange, where the emphasis is on technical discussions of 
wide range from beginner to advanced. Each attendee is encouraged to 
bring something to talk about.

K6GHA, K6XX, and I are the contesters who regularly attend (if it isn't 
during a contest weekend), and there are engineers, both working and 
retired, from many different fields, all ready and willing to mentor 
newer, younger hams. K6XX mentored K6GHA, a middle-aged guy whose dad 
was a ham, and later, a YL high school student. Both have become active 
contesters, but the YL is now a sophomore in an EE program at UC Santa 

That North Shore club (northern suburb of Chicago) includes contesters 
K9OR, KK9H, WW9S, and WA9IVH.   http://www.ns9rc.org/ They regularly 
place near the top of their class in FD, and are SMC members, and have 
outreach programs for young people. Other members are active in DXing, 
and in casual DXpeditions. This was my primary club when I lived in 

Both of these clubs have formal meetings one night a month, always with 
some kind of program in addition to discussion of club activities. Both 
clubs have members who could be classified as "shack on the belt" 
operators, and both operate VHF and UHF repeaters. The Santa Cruz club 
have a fairly active EMCOMM program -- our local hazards are wildfires 
and earthquakes, so our members have learned to be prepared.

I'm a member of two other clubs -- the Northern California Contest Club, 
NCCC, and the Northern California DX Club (in reality, the Silicon 
Valley DX club), NCDXC. Neither has a particularly good reachout to 
young hams, but NCDXC members are significant contributors to the 
financing of major DX operations and are pillars of NCDXF.

NCCC is a wide area club, with members in the 175 mile radius circle 
that includes Reno, NV, Santa Cruz, CA, and Humboldt Co in CA. 
Membership in both clubs has gotten greyer, but NCCC has done the better 
job of recruiting younger (under 40) members from those who work in the 
SF Bay area (which includes IT and programming folks from Silicon 
Valley). And because our membership is so spread out geographically, 
current NCCC leadership has made a serious effort to incorporate the 
membership of more local clubs -- the Redwood Empire DX Association 
that's mostly north of San Francisco, the Mother Lode DX and Contest 
Club in the Sierra Nevada range that lies between CA and NV, and the 
PL259 group centered in Silicon Valley.  We've mostly moved from weekend 
lunchtime meetings for general membership (making driving easier by 
avoiding rush hours and making both ways in daylight), and moving the 
meeting location around so that more distant members can attend  at 
least one or two meetings a year. Every meeting includes at least one 
serious presentation, and the general membership meetings usually 
include at least two. Topics are both technical and operational. 
Meetings are always in a moderately priced restaurant that has a 
suitable meeting room. Usually we get the room free -- the restaurant 
sells a lot of meals.

I know that PVRC has been quite successful with a similar structure. 
I've attended a lunch meeting of the DC guys, and given an RFI talk to a 
regional dinner meeting.

73, Jim K9YC

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