During an email exchange with a ham in British Columbia, I stated “I
need to make plans to get out to BC .. I haven’t been there in years
and I have never been there as RAC President”. Our BC/Yukon Regional
Director Bill Gipps VE7XS emailed me and asked “did you mean that?”
and Bill and Geoff’s Excellent BC Adventure was born. Bill reached out
to clubs throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and asked
whether there would be any interest in the two of us coming out to
their clubs and making a presentation. The answer was yes … in fact
there was a great deal of interest in hearing what RAC was up to. This
would also be a good time to promote our 2014 AGM which will be in New
Westminster, BC at the invitation of the Orca DX and Contest Club and
in conjunction with the Pacific North West DX Conference July 22 to
25th 2014 (See http://orcadxcc.org/vancouver2014/home.html).
The tour began with my arrival at Abbotsford airport on November 1st,
being warmly greeted by Langley Amateur Radio Association Past
President, Al Munnik (VA7MP). That evening, I gave the first, of many
speeches that week, to the Burnaby Amateur Radio Club. The speech
contained highlights of the recent AGM Report, which can be found on
our website, as well as in the Nov-Dec TCA.
The next morning, Bill and I attended breakfast with numerous local
amateur operators, at their regular Saturday 6:30 a.m. meeting. It was
followed on Sunday by the Maple Ridge Club’s breakfast and Swap Meet
and an afternoon visit to the Coquitlam Amateur Radio Club, which made
for a pleasant week-end talking radio and RAC.
The following few days comprised of visits and speeches to the
Chilliwack ARC, Vector ARC (including a tour of the Vancouver EOC),
Abbotsford ARC, North Shore ARC and a tour of their EOC.
On Friday, a ferry ride to Vancouver Island and a meeting was held in
Victoria with EMBC (Emergency Management British Columbia) including a
tour of their facility. EMBC, by the way reiterated their support for
the 60 metre allocation, which was originally advanced by RAC.
The meeting with EMBC and earlier with the Vancouver EOC staff was a
real education … each municipality has a sophisticated EOC and most
have an associated radio club operation. There are provincial EOCs
across the province. BC faces a wide range of potential threats …
earthquakes, volcanos, tsunami, fire, and severe weather. Apparently a
significant number of people get lost in beautiful and rugged BC and
they have a large and sophisticated Search and Rescue organization.
Hams are involved across the province providing support to their
As a closing event, the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society hosted
Bill and I, and invited over twelve clubs to attend a Saturday morning
session in Duncan BC. We did a nice dinner the night before with the
local club executive. The CVARS President Dale Jones had stepped up to
the task of organizing that Saturday meeting. This was a significant
logistical task, as amateurs from all over Vancouver Island attended.
I announced that the 2014 RAC AGM will take place the end of July,
2014 in New Westminster (a suburb of Vancouver), at the same time as
the Pacific North West DX Conference, hosted by the local Orca DX and
A big thank you goes out to all the various club volunteers who made
this trip such a success, and a special thanks to Bill Gipps (VE7XS)
for inviting me and arranging the itinerary, and to his wife Judy for
the hospitality they personally extended. We weren’t able to visit
everyone, but we certainly enjoyed those we did get to meet.
Trips such as these bring RAC closer to the grassroots membership and
offers all a very unique opportunity. My trip to BC affirmed what I
already knew – that BC has a large, competent, and sophisticated
amateur population. The two things that I like the most are competence
and character and by character I mean good character.
There will likely be more of these trips, to different parts of
Canada, going forward as we believes that there is absolute value in
doing these visits to local amateurs across Canada.
Recently I received an email from an individual that felt that he was
being excluded from club activities due to his lack of mobility and
physical issues. He noted that there were few supports for persons
with physical disabilities and felt excluded from ham radio
organizations due to his disabilities.
One of the many things that attracted me to ham radio was amateur
radio’s inherent inclusiveness. I know senior hams (some very senior
ones!), young hams (less than ten years old), blind hams, deaf hams,
and there can be mute hams, and race, religion and sexual preferences
are irrelevant to the operation of radio equipment. In my view the
only prerequisite regarding participation should be competence and
character. Ham radio should be a civil pursuit open and supportive to
any ham and by civil I mean practiced with civility. I have heard
stories of new hams being frozen out of nets or poked fun at for
“newbie” errors instead of that error being treated as a “teaching
moment”. Now the law of human nature has not been repealed and we hams
are as human as anyone else. We must strive to grow this great
activity by being open to all and being supportive. Reach out and help
a newbie, support someone that needs some help due to some
“incapacity” … help grow new hams by continuing to make ham radio
There was a recent email asking that we stop linking our website to a
particular club website because they were linked to a blog that made
unfortunate remarks about individuals. I was sympathetic but RAC
cannot police the internet … and also blogs are almost invariably just
one man’s opinion and usually does not represent the formal view of
any organization. It can be frustrating (but surely not surprising!)
that inaccurate information can be found on the internet and that a
blog may contain inaccuracies.
I welcome our new Treasurer Dorothy Brown. I am pleased that she has
agreed to join our team. We beat the fiscal monster in 2012 but we
need to keep a close eye on it to ensure it stays moribund and Ms.
Brown will be helping. She has a proven track record, professional
credentials and comes well recommended.
Until next time …