RAC is broken… Heres how to fix it

Every now and again I jump on the “Soapbox” so to speak and look at some a topic and take a stand so here is todays…

My name is <insert name here>

My Callsign is <insert call here>

and I am a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada…

If you can’t make the above statement then you are the real problem with RAC…

So to start this posting…

My name is Bob and my Callsign is VA3QV and I am a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada…

Now today when I was reading the RAC Blog entry for today some of what VE3HG was saying made some sense.

They can’t be everywhere…

Our country is way too large for 7 directors (if we fill all the positions) and the rest of the executive and section management people to visit every hamfest, club meeting and any other amateur radio related event.  With the mention of the Iroquois Hamfest coming up this weekend I can remember two years ago seeing (then) RAC President Dave Goodwin VE3AAQ manning the RAC Table and talking to all who would stop shopping long enough to talk…

So as I have said in the past if your not part of the solution then your part of the problem…

The big problem is lack of participation in our National Amateur Radio Organization.

It does have its flaws but right now its the only Voice we have and without its attempts to represent us I feel that our hobby would not be as great as it is right now.

The times have changed and so have peoples opinions on the Services we so freely provide to our neighbors.

The poor showing when Ontario came up with their Driving while distracted law was not RAC’s fault but rather a warning of things to come.  Effective lobbying comes with a price and the cost can not be met unless membership can be increased.

I can remember about 10 years or so ago a wise amateur radio operator (no not me)  had just donated a rather large chunk of money to buy a new 6m duplexer for the local repeater.  He was also on the committee for the repeater and had been trying to find the time to help with the tune up of the old cavities.  I asked him why and he replied…

“There are only two ways to solve a problem…  Throw money at it or spend time on it… and I just don’t have the time!”

So part of the solution is to sign up and support RAC with your membership fees and the 2nd part would be to try and help out by giving some time to try and assist RAC in what they do. (whatever that is…)

That is what we can do to help…  Now this is also a two way street…  RAC has to help themselves at the same time…

Personally speaking I really think they have to start telling us all the good stuff they have done.  Its all in the “spin”.  Don’t tell us what you could of done “if” but rather tell us what you have done.  I would rather read on how a local ARES Groups participated in a Canwarn Drill rather than “If we had more support we could of done that…”

Look for ways to do things rather than excuses why we can’t…

We have to look at the positive side of things… We need to hear the good side and not the negative stuff..

Remind us that we have a National Body to be proud of… cause every now and again we forget…

Remind us that we have to help you to obtain the goal of bettering our hobby… Most importantly Remind yourself to listen to our concerns… because one p!ssed off member and his complaining costs our hobby more than you can imagine…


PS–> as always with these style of postings…  Comments (you don’t have to agree but be polite)  welcome… OP ED pieces really welcomed…  Flames cheerfully ignored

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6 Responses to “RAC is broken… Heres how to fix it”

  1. Peter West Says:

    Bless you Bob. As you may imagine I’ve been having an interesting day of emails. However, there is no doubt that the authors of the emails are sincere in their comments. And, I welcome them. Having said that I think we should start a “Double Our Membership Campaign.” If everyone one of us (yes I know I’m being utopian in my thinking) brought in one more ham, we’d have a powerful organization able to do so much more for all amateur radio operators in Canada. Again, Bob, thanks for your blog posting.

  2. Geoff Bawden ve4baw Says:

    My Google alert brought these comments to my “in box”. [You have to love technology].

    My view that RAC is “amateurs helping amateurs” and that by acting together we are more effective than acting apart. In a number of provinces proposed bans on mobile amateur radio were reversed by amateurs acting together. Amateurs helped governments to understand that amateur radio serves a public good. Some governments had forgotten that important fact. The distracted driving legislations across Canada are only an example of the regulatory pressures that we face [and will face].

    I will take the opportunity to point out that we are looking for volunteers to help with the RAC insurance program, to provide help on membership enhancement, to work at the office, to help set up a philanthropy and grant program, to assist Directors [being at Hamfests is one task!] , to work helping their neighbours during times of emergency.

    If any of this sound interesting email me at ve4baw@rac.ca.

    Geoff Bawden ve4baw

    President RAC

  3. VE3DNI Says:

    I have a problem with this post, and I hate coming into the comments of a blog post to say this sort of thing, but this is where the discussion is, so here goes.

    Instead of just saying anyone who isn’t a RAC member is part of the problem, has anyone thought to ask why people aren’t joining RAC?

    Of all of RAC’s services, the only one that I am interested in supporting is their government lobby group. The trouble is, all of RAC’s other services are mandatory opt-in. I don’t really want the magazine, I’m not interested in the insurance, and I don’t want to use the QSL service. I have no need of using RAC’s callsign during a contest and I think there’s something about getting a discount on RAC books. If there are other services that RAC performs, I don’t know about them and they aren’t listed on the website. (Side note: Even those services I listed up there, aren’t on the website. Nothing is listed on the website except a slot to put in some money. Maybe a “Why you should join RAC.” page would be a good idea.). So, there is one service I want (because it’s a good thing to do), and a whole bunch I don’t, but my money will go towards it anyway.

    So now, let’s look at all the local clubs that I could join (FOUR!), the list of projects I would rather spend money on(too many to list) and the amount of radios I own (one 2m FM that was donated to me [ Thank you, Arthur! ]. I’m not even on HF yet.), and suddenly I have a much harder time justifying giving RAC $50/year when there’s so many other better places I could put that money each year.

    Maybe when I’m richer and money doesn’t mean as much, I can toss some that way just because, but at the moment, it’s just not in the cards (or the chequebook, as the case would be). And I know there’s lots of other people with a similar opinion as me because I’ve heard it discussed, and I’ve heard questions asked.

    The problem is, no one is listening.

    • va3qv Says:

      You say that you are not interested in insurance but if I remember correctly most of the Ottawa Area Amateur Radio Clubs are interested in the insurance. I could be wrong but the WCARC, The OARC and the OVMRC all “used to” partake of the RAC insurance plan to keep their costs down. At one time liability insurnace used to be one of the highest expenses for a club. To be honest I am not sure if they still do but I know they all used to…You need insurance for most activites (field day as an example) and you need insurance on your repeater site.

      By supporting RAC (just thinking about insurance) you would be supporting a good number of the clubs in Canada as they all need cheap insurance in their attempts to balance club budgets.

      As you grow in the hobby you might find the need for the QSL Bureau or you might not… EQSL is definately easier but there is something nice about looking at a QSL Collection or Showing off a QSL Collection.

      Most clubs support RAC… They realize the benefits… Heck even I realize the benefits…

      It could be for the lobby effort, it could be for the insurance, it could be for numerous reasons but it is for the good of the hobby…

      Thanks for reading and your comments


      • VE3DNI Says:

        Two quick comments.

        1) Re: Insurance. This came up at one of the OARC meetings not too long ago. One of the exec would be better equipped to respond to this, but as I remember, your club pays a bulk amount to RAC that covers all amateur radio activities that are done in the name of the club. This would include Field Day, build sessions, and any other club affiliated activities. So when you pay your club dues, this goes towards the insurance plan that the club gets.

        2) I fully support the idea of RAC’s involvement in the local, federal and international governments. IMHO, this is RAC’s most valuable service. I wish there was a way to contribute towards that without having to “buy in” to the rest of it.

        In any case, love reading your blog, even when I don’t quite agree with you.. Keep up the good work!🙂

  4. James, VE2KHC Says:

    Greetings! Great blog pertaining to RAC! As individuals that do not want to subscribe to the TCA — please FEEL FREE to make a sizable donation to RAC.

    Many of us agreed that when Industry Canada removed the annual fee that this amount should have been forwarded to RAC — to sustain our amateur radio influence.


    de James, VE2KHC

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