Unfortunately, our fearless leader (hi, Dan!) was unable to join us this evening, so we did not have any formal training. Instead, those club members who joined the meeting had a great round table discussion about a few different topics.
The first topic we discussed was about the legal issues of some of the newer digital modes. This was brought up in the context of using VOIP systems to communicate over a mesh network and, in particular, allowing non-amateur operators use such VOIP systems in a distributed network environment without an operator present. This topic has been talked about on several threads on the AREDN site, in particular non-ham-use-of-voip-mesh, part-97-interpretation-ip-phone-deployment-over-mesh, and who-can-use-mesh. The general feel among the club is that a control operator should be present, but it is a gray area. I'd love to have some people comment here on what they think.
Our second topic was how do we get more people involved in the club! We have about 25 official club members, but it seems that the same ten or so are the only ones who appear on the weekly zoom meetings. Why don't the rest of the club members join in? Are they intimidated by the technology? Do they not have the resources (computer and internet connection)? Do they just not know how to get on? We would love to have more people attending the Thursday evening club meetings. If you haven't attended, consider trying to attend the next meeting in August (the 6th). An e-mail with an invite to the meeting will be sent out prior to the meeting (usually the day before). If you have not been getting the invites, please e-mail Jan (KD7ZWV), leave a feedback message, or comment on this post. If you are not comfortable getting the zoom software working, let us know and we will help you out.
Our third topic was along similar lines... how do we get more people (who are not currently members) interested in getting involved with amateur radio? Particularly younger people! Several suggestions were raised, including:
- reaching out to the local scouting groups in Murray, offering assistance in getting scouts to sign off their radio merit badge and others that are related to amateur radio (such as communications, digital technology, electronics, and emergency preparedness
- reaching out to the school district to get in touch with science teachers at the junior and high school level as well doing events such as "talk with the ISS" at elementary schools. find an advisor at the high school interested in reviving the school's amateur radio club as an auxiliary of the MARC
- making sure amateur radio is represented at city sponsored CERT training events
- get some more articles published in the Murray Journal talking about what we do as a club, why we got interested in amateur radio, what can be done with it, etc.
- put together a flyer that can be posted at local schools, the public library, the boy's and girl's club, local hospitals, malls, etc.
- identify barriers to entry such as cost of equipment, identify inexpensive solutions and make them available to get people involved in digital modes (what would you do if your cell phone or the Internet didn't work? how would you talk to your friends and/or family?)
- reach out to local prepper groups to teach them about operating their radio equipment legally
If you have any suggestions or contributions to these topics, post a comment on this thread!