More amateur radio in 2018…
I’m a member of two local amateur radio clubs in the Twin Cities, and I’m an honorary member of the Toronto QRP Society -which as the name implies, focuses on low-power (the QRP designation), often mobile/portable radio operations. My longtime interest in backpacking, hiking and camping is very conducive to QRP’s lightweight radio operation in the outdoors. In fact, it’s my back-country, emergency response/communications interests that brought me to amateur radio. I like the idea of being able to carry my lightweight radio gear to mountaintops and other back-country locations, and communicate where cell phones often don’t work. It offers a new way to communicate during emergency situations, when normal communications networks are down. The radio clubs offer a degree of comradery between members with similar interests -simple as that!
Successful amateur radio clubs require new members for long-term success -especially younger members, since most club members are often in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Many younger new members have recent/current military affiliations or they simply enjoy science/electronics and radio communications, including short-wave. It’s great to see them getting into amateur radio, although some bring the radio experience along with them to the club, which is even greater!
Recruiting new members and maintaining older members requires constant effort by club leadership and regular members as well. Regular meetings must be well-planned and offer members interesting programming and projects, in order to remain relevant in today’s busy environment. It’s tough because everyone is so busy -overextended regarding family, friends, school, jobs and other community commitments. Just meeting with fellow members informally for coffee or lunch, helps keep it real! But the meetings and nets (on-the-air meetings via radio) are important. It’s only as good as we make it! In the end, the commitment/duty falls to each of us -the members.
I’ve been a FCC-licensed amateur radio operator for just over two years now. My technical progress has been slower than I’d like, but I’m just a busy guy, like everyone else. I mention this because I’m interested in promoting amateur radio and helping others improve their proficiency. It’s important to realize that it’s probably not realistic to set lofty goals as a relatively new radio operator – that’s the case for me anyway. Others have helped me become a better radio operator, and they continue to make themselves available by sharing their time and knowledge, and that’s much appreciated. I simply want to help facilitate the expansion of that ongoing learning curve, and the clubs offer a great mechanism to accomplish those tasks.
Several months ago, one of my local clubs held the annual meeting to nominate candidates willing to run as club officers. It’s often difficult getting folks to step forward and run for office, because it requires an extended commitment over a period of time. It was the last meeting to nominate candidates, in person, before the actual vote -which was scheduled for the following month’s meeting. I think people often avoid those nominating meetings because of the pressure it can place on attendees, when willing candidates don’t step forward. Long story short, three of us at the meeting (the only members present), tossed our hats in the ring -and wouldn’t you know -we all three got elected the following month! Reminds me of that old saying, paraphrased as… “If not me/us, then who?” So we have officers! 😉
As one of the newly elected officers, I’m sure I speak for all of us, when I say we’re all looking forward to well-attended meetings, complete with challenging topics, projects and Thursday night nets in 2018! I know that I, as a new officer, will accomplish more this year with my radio gear, than in the past -just because of my increased commitment to the club! It’s going to be a good year! I’ll talk w/ you on the Thurs. night net! KEØGZT, Clear!
…and more snowshoeing too!
I tossed my snowshoeing gear and a thermos of hot coffee in the back end of my car about 0930 on Thurs., January 18th, and headed about an hour northwest on I94 towards Monticello, MN. Then went west about five miles to Lake Maria State Park. I’d planned to do this trip with a friend, but unforeseen changes turned it into a solo trip -no problemo!
Lake Maria SP consists of about 1,600 acres of rolling wooded terrain, several small lakes and woodland marshes. The Big Woods include old-growth oak, maple and basswood; several loop trails which tend to criss-cross throughout the park, and maybe a dozen pack-in tent sites. In the winter, a lot of trail mileage is groomed for x-c skiing, a lesser mileage is open to snowshoeing/hiking – maybe 15-20 mi. total. I’ve noticed a strong bias toward groomed trails over snowshoeing trails -hopefully that bias is only evident in the more ‘urban’ parks near major population centers -I first noticed it in Frontenac SP, along the Mississippi River, a few weeks ago.
I think snowshoeing trails are more prevalent in state and national forests, and along the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), which runs basically from Duluth to Canada along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The SHT does cut right through Lutsen, a well-regarded downhill ski area along the North Shore (they also have some groomed x-c trails). Most of the SHT can be snowshoed -it’s great as a matter of fact! The many rivers and waterfalls add to new challenges, and most trails are great via snowshoes! All the ups and downs on the trails make for a real good workout!
Being a Thursday, there was little activity in the park -at least in the area I was using. I didn’t encounter any people the entire time I was snowshoeing out on the trails (3-4 hrs.).
73, de Mike, KEØGZT QTH (my location) -EN34iw (Twin Cities, south central MN)