I’m going to try and explain a concept that goes thru my head. Almost everyone who has checked into a net or has become interested in VHF/UHF from my efforts has done so because I emailed them at some point. I use email heavily to contact about 8-10 clubs across my region. Some are known VHF clubs, most are not. Especially in and around SE WI, I also send email to general ham radio clubs. I figure that if I can find a few new ones here, and a few new ones there, that’s solid progress. After 8-9 months, I can actually think of dozens and dozens of hams that at least have tried out a net because of my direct action. I need to remind myself of that when I think things are getting stale.
On a good week, I hope that I get into at least 1000 hams email inboxes. I figure that by now, at least 2/3 of those hams automatically move on, once they see email from me. I understand that. Everyone has their own particular interest in hamming. Whether it’s HF, or repeaters, or public service… whatever — it’s all good. Enjoy your niche and if you feel it’s not adequately promoted, get busy and do what you can to help. Everyone visiting this site knows I promote VHF/UHF.
But out of those 1000 or so hams that get email weekly from me, there might be 20 or 30% that will at least read what I have to say. And out of that 20-30%, I get a good amount of net check-ins, every week. The nets are important because we all know there’s not enough activity on VHF/UHF in general. Without nets, hams who have an interest might not know where to tune each week to test out their stations. You would be amazed at how isolated VHF/UHF’ers can be. A big goal of mine is to try and find the VHF/UHF-curious hams, wherever they are. Even after 8-9 months of running the nets, I’m still finding new guys, one or three at a time.
Our bands will become more active shortly just because the weather’s getting nicer and propagation will improve. Even some casual VHF’ers will start turning on their rigs, rotating their beams and calling CQ. That’s great, but of course, an advocate like me promotes activity year-round. It’s too easy for those casual guys to lose interest, and with VHF/UHF’ing, we can’t afford to lose even one interested ham.
The concept of MY or OUR Club… the ham radio club I care the most about is MY or OUR Club. What does that mean? It means if I can work you, whether on 6 or 2 meters, whether on 222 or 432, then you’re in MY CLUB. The people I work on the bands I love, those are my fellow club members. Personally, I don’t care about club meetings, or minutes, or motions or committee reports. That’s all yada-yada to me.
The thing that matters is getting on the air and making contacts. Whether it’s during nets, or during band openings, or just calling CQ into a dead band — if you don’t get on the air, then nothing’s been accomplished.
Before I started the nets up last summer, I did promote contesting via email to several hundred guys that were in my contest logs. That was a start, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I got very little response. Once I started promoting on-air activity that you could count on, every week, then things got rolling. Started hearing from guys who didn’t know where to go, or what to do on VHF. Started hearing from guys who did have some interest in improving their stations, or contesting, but didn’t think it was worth the effort.
I think that this summer, we’re really going to enjoy increased activity and enjoyment, because it’ll have been a full year since I started up with this whole crusade.
What I really, really want you to think about is how you can help. Who do you know that has at least some interest in VHF? It’s all about spreading the word. Tell these folks about the nets. Tell them about this website, and any other resources you think are useful. Tell them that yes, VHF is alive and kicking, and they can join a new club ( I know most hams are club guys/gals). They can get on the air, start working stations on 6 or 2 meters, or yes, even 1.25cm and 70cm. Then they will belong to OUR Club.
Really do think this over. If everyone got just one new person on VHF, it would make a huge impact.
Thanks for your time, 73,
Todd KC9BQA EN63ao 40 N of Milwaukee
50 thru 2304 (bands I have)