I spent a couple of days in Gainsville Texas this week and I was amazed by the low profile nature of amateur radio in that city. After thirty six hours in Gainsville had not seen a single VHF or UHF antenna on a vehicle. I had not seem a single Skywarn or ARRL decal anywhere.
Now Gainsville does host a rather large hamfest every year so I know that there are at least three of them. One to sell tickets, one to take tickets at the door, and one to stamp your hand so you can re-enter the hamfest if you goto the car to get a smoke. Other than that they are invisible.
Now don’t get me wrong I have been to Gainsville before and I know that there are a good group of folks out there, they exibit the same traits that are a problem in amateur radio today. We hide in the shadows. Since Katrina we should have been out where the public can see us. Making as much noise as possible so the public is aware of us.
Why? Well first of all Katrina, Rita, Wildfires, Flooding. All of these things show the value of amateur radio. If the amateur radio service is valuable then it is something that will be kept around by or lawmakers and some of us have been around long enough to remember losing frequencies to UPS because they needed them more than we did…Right
When we are visible we are also able to recruit new HAMs and get them into the game. Numbers is the way we stay alive. If we drop to a serious minority we are once again in jeapardy of losing our priviledges.
Just a couple of things to think about. Get out and be seen. Bring new folks in.
We love the good folks of Gainesville, sorry about picking on ya’