My First Radio Club Meeting

As I studied for my amateur radio license exam, multiple study sources said that getting involved with a local ham radio club is important. Since I’ve been licensed for over a month, I figured it was about time to sit in at a meeting of one of the local clubs here in south west Idaho. That’s what I did. My thoughts after the meeting? Meh.

Take everything I’m about to write with a grain a salt — I’m a new ham, the meeting may have been not-the-norm, people speaking may have not felt well, etc. All that being said, I’m hesitant to go back to any meetings of that particular radio club. Why? I didn’t feel like I belonged. No one even noticed I was there as a new ham. It didn’t feel welcoming. Before the meeting started, I had introduced myself to a few people, they greeted me politely, but then moved on.

A week prior to going to the meeting, I had joined the club by paying yearly dues, mainly to help fund local repeaters. I had yet to get any welcome packet, member card, phone call, anything. So I kind of expected them to ask if W7KBX was present during the meeting so they could welcome me to the club. Nothing.

At the very beginning of the meeting, the guy hosting had asked if there were any new members or any new visitors, almost as an afterthought. I had had a mouth full of pizza at the time, but one guy stood up, gave his name and callsign, and then the host waved it off and moved on with the meeting without asking the new member follow-up questions or if there were any other visitors. So much for introducing myself.

Although the meeting seem discombobulated, there was some useful information given, about the upcoming field day, but that’s not why I went. I went to find answers to my questions that have piled up for the past month, introduce myself to the club, and get to know the people. Not one of my expectations were met. It may have been an off night for the club, or for me, but it almost felt as if they weren’t interested in any new hams joining.

Although I had never been to a ham radio club meeting before, I have been to other meetings, and lots of them. For an open-membership club, the club leaders need to make new members feeling welcome a high priority, talking to the new members, introduce them to others, and telling them what to expect at club meetings. If they don’t make new members feel welcome, the club comes off as an exclusive club for a certain group of people. I certainly didn’t feel welcome. And that’s a shame, because I’m sure that if the club meetings always go like that, other new hams have felt the same way.

Maybe it’s a club that has been in existence so long that the membership is its own clique. Maybe they need new, younger leaders. Maybe it’s just one of those clubs that is, well, that way.

I admit that I might need a different perspective. Running a club may be challenging, running meetings may be difficult. But maybe, I just need to find a new club. Or maybe I’m just a baby. Or maybe my expectations were way off.

For now, I’ll give the club the benefit of doubt and try it again next meeting.

Regardless, I’m still loving ham radio.

And no, I’m not going to divulge the club name. I really, really don’t like talking bad about people, and like I said, it may have been an off night for the club and I don’t want to unjustly give them a black eye.

73,
W7KBX

About Kyle (W7KBX)

I became a licensed ham in May of 2013 with a class of General. I have since upgraded to Extra. If you are really bored and want to learn more about me, please click here
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