From NJ4Z’s Hamshack

It was my privilege this last 6 weeks to be part of a YouTube channel series on growing Amateur Radio.  As trustee of YCARS and communications committee chair, I responded to a video presentation regarding ‘How to Grow Ham Radio” by Quin Schultze, K8QS and Tom Dulisch WA9TDD on their channel “Ham Radio Perspectives”.    They invited YCARS to participate in the series for our insight and the behaviors we are using to grow our club.  Participating in this series, gave me an opportunity to reflect on the state of Amateur Radio and how it is being affected by the current state of our society. 

Today in general society has become polarized. Classism, racism, political beliefs, etc. are causing the balkanization of society.  Additionally, the growth of social media has only widened the divide and exacerbated the loss of civility when dealing with others.  It seems we have become indifferent and even contemptuous to others that are different from ourselves.  It is very easy to hide behind a screen and keyboard and not see the results of our indifference or contemp.   We are becoming increasingly isolated and self- absorbed.  We tear each other down instead of building each other up.  We speak over each other, instead of listening.  We discount ideas and persons without attempting to understand.  In short, it is a sad state of affairs.  This atmosphere is not conducive to growth, and as it creeps further into Amateur Radio it will only create more problems.  If we want Amateur Radio to grow, we need to contribute to that growth.   We need to be the change we want to see. 

First, we must be grateful for Amateur Radio and those joining our ranks.  When we have a grateful attitude, it changes our mindset, it creates solutions, and it is contagious.  To change, one of two things must happen, either change happens around us or we affect the change ourselves.  To have the change we want we must be proactive and affect the change.  Being grateful for Amateur Radio, we must honor and preserve the Legacy of those who came before us laying the foundation from which we all operate. Being grateful removes us from complaining, blaming, and helps us find solutions to problems. When we are truly grateful, we begin to exude that positive energy and it draws others towards us.  It begets success and bonds us together.  As grateful Hams we will draw people to the ranks of Amateur Radio, seeing that positive attitude.

We must also be passionate about Amateur Radio.  Let’s face it, Amateur Radio can be difficult and require work.  Success in anything is never easy, it takes work and effort, and it is the passion that drives us.  The fruits of passion are excitement, joy and a sense of true purpose.  Passion for Amateur Radio will drive us to not only better ourselves but our fellow Hams.  Just like gratefulness, passion is contagious. When you see someone with true passion you cannot help but be drawn to that person.         It opens the door for others to see what Amateur Radio has to offer.

“When we work hard for something we don’t care about it is called stress.  When we work hard for something we love it is called Passion.”

– Simon Sinek

We must be welcoming and kind to our fellow Hams and people in general.  Every day we are given that opportunity to make a choice. That choice is simply, “You can be bitter, or you can be better,” to paraphrase a quote by Josh Shipp.   When we interact with other Hams and people, we have the choice to show our gratitude, our passion, our willingness to be better every day, or we can choose to be unappreciative, apathetic, and bitter.  When we respond to posts on social media and forums, answer questions for fellow club members or the public about Amateur Radio, we need to think, does our response show our appreciation, passion.  Is the response, kind, constructive and useful or is it full of indifference, contempt, and snark.   Responses that are not kind, constructive and useful are based in ignorance.  Ignorance that those responses will drive people away and those who provide them will lessen their credibility and standing in the Ham community. 

“When we help ourselves, we find moments of happiness.  When we help others, we find fulfillment.”  

– Simon Sinek

We must be generous with our time and our knowledge.   We all have the need to be fulfilled in life, it is what brings great joy to our lives.  Mentoring (Elmering), in my opinion, is one of the most rewarding facets of Amateur Radio.  Encouraging and helping others advance and succeed in their Amateur Radio goals, not only brings joy to both parties, but it builds our own legacy.  We honor those before us, preserving and advancing Amateur Radio for future generations.

We must be empathic towards our fellow Hams.  Very few people in this world are without empathy, we often just do not have the courage or inclination to show it.  We must realize, we are all at different stations in life and we all are blessed in different ways.  Treating our fellow Hams as important, taking an interest in them, opening ourselves up to them and investing in the relationship will only further our shared enjoyment of Amateur Radio.

Finally in doing all these things, we become ambassadors for Amateur Radio, we must show not only new Hams but the world, who and what we are.  Gratefulness, passion, welcoming, generosity, and empathy all lead us to a brighter future in Amateur Radio.  These actions will bring people to us and keep them engaged.  A fact shared with me a couple of weeks ago, by ARRL South Carolina Section Manager, Dr. Marc Tarplee, N4UFP hit home.  According to the ARRL fifty percent of Amateurs that pass the technician exam get on the air in the first year.  Those that do not get on the air in the first year, never will.  We must help that other fifty percent find the gratefulness and passion.  Our attitudes and actions can make a difference and we can affect the change we all desire to improve and preserve Amateur Radio.  

So, until next month, be grateful, welcoming, generous, inclusive, empathic, and of course, be passionate about Amateur Radio… 73 – NJ4Z out

John Gendron – NJ4Z

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