27th May 2010.
Here are the results of the survey undertaken. Thanks to all who sent in their submissions - and thanks to Fred Johnson ZL2AMJ for collating them. I have read all the original submissions and can vouch for the fact that the only editing of them has been the removal of the submitter's identity. There are only 20 submissions from a transmitting membership of 1,719. This is a 1.16% return which is not a big-enough sample to warrant a deep analysis. This could indicate a large amount of satisfaction - or a large amount of apathy. I will leave it up to individual members to decide which. The complete document should be read and studied - the readers to do their own analysing.
All submissions are full of ideas for others to do the suggested work. There is not a single offer from anyone to step forward (or preferably step up) and offer direct services to implement any idea. There are no suggestions for a leadership offer, or for setting up and leading a long-term steering committee. Many of the suggestions have already been investigated by the present and pre Councils with outcomes already reported. This Survey is another example of the Council consulting with members
Roy Symon, ZL2KH
The New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters Incorporated
NZART Transmitting Members were invited by NZART Council to provide guidance and assistance with a matter that is under consideration: The Future of NZART. The invitation first appeared in the NZART "Headquarters InfoLine" Issue 205 on 18 April 2010 and was repeated in subsequent issues. It was posted on the NZART Website opening page with a banner headline with links to the invitation:
NZART Transmitting Members are invited by NZART Council to provide guidance and assistance with a matter that is under consideration: The Future of NZART" At the closing time and date, TWENTY submissions had been received. Several exceeded the requested length but have been included. All submissions, numbered in order of receipt, are on the following pages. They are collected here as received, with texts unedited. As the invitation has notified, "The identity of originators of documents will not be disclosed outside NZART Council", the names and other source details have been removed and placed into a separate file marked "Confidential -NZART Council ONLY". At the request of its author, one specific name is published with the submission.
This Report has compiled the submissions in preparation for further study. The submissions have served the purpose for which they were called, and each author continues to be free to use the document each submitted in any way. One submission arrived from a person who is not a member of the Association but has been included here for convenience and relevancy. This report with the separate list of sources are herewith passed to the NZART President for his attention.
NZART Council will wish the opportunity to be taken to thank all who contributed the input information.
I am advised by the NZART General Secretary that at the closing time for this survey, the NZART Transmitting Membership was 1719.
Fred Johnson MNZM, ZL2AMJ NZART Councillor
27 May 2010.
The invitation as appeared in Headquarters InfoLine and on the NZART Web Site:
NZART Transmitting Members are invited by NZART Council to provide guidance and assistance with
a matter that is under consideration: The Future of NZART.
You are invited to enter, starting at the TOP LINE on a single A4 sheet "Submission on The Future of NZART from" followed by your name, callsign, postal address, and date,
in the address line of your email: "Submission on The Future of NZART" and in the TOP LINE in the body of your email text, again: "Submission on The Future of NZART from" followed by your name, callsign, postal address, and date. Add your NZART Membership Number too -or a statement that you are a current TRANSMITTING Member. Constructive comments are wanted. Consider the present NZART circumstances and financial position as your start point. You are referred to March/April 2010 "Break-In".
Previous history is not required.
A single A4 sheet, or if submitting electronically as an email or attachment, not more than one page with this required heading information and your constructive comments will be appreciated. Submissions that do not meet these rules or which are in excess of these rules will impede the processing in the short time available so will be rejected unconsidered.
Submissions close at midday on Thursday 27 May, at NZART Headquarters, nine days before the AGM.
Please post A4 sheet submissions to: "SUBMISSIONS", NZART Headquarters, P.O. Box 40-525, UPPER HUTT 5140, and in adequate time to reach the destination before the closing time.
Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org before the same closing time.
The A4 sheets and email submissions received become NZART Council working documents and the property of NZART Council. No acknowledgements will be given.
Submissions will be considered by Council at its face-to-face meeting on the day before the NZART AGM. The identity of originators of documents will not be disclosed outside NZART Council.
The release of results, statistical information, extracts from the texts received, and any further use of information received, is at the discretion of, and will be decided solely by, the NZART President.
A single-sheet hard copy submission or a one page email submission has been deliberately requested to ensure fast processing and to study in the short time available before Conference. Your cooperation is requested. NZART's principal concerns are the interests of its Transmitting Members.
Re Financial position, Do not raise subscription price, reduce costs by stopping future overseas travel to seminars, conferences, ITU, etc . We are a small country with little sway in world ham affairs, our position on most issues can be put by email, letter, and video conferencing. Break In costs need to be reduced, some of the regular columns could be sent out via email, similar to Infoline. Remove the requirement of NZART membership, to belong to a local branch, or to be a repeater trustee. Most branches appear to be incorporated radio clubs, and encourage members whether they are NZART members or not. Many non NZART amateurs feel embarrassed to attend local clubs, even for social occasions. Try "opening the doors", we may be surprised at the renewal in membership, with a little encouraging. Actively encourage the local junk sale, trading table events around the country, not every one can afford national conference.
NZART hierarchy. Newer , keener, younger persons required in running our organisation. The " tall poppy" syndrome does not work in the modern age, new hams don't appear to be interested in the apparent nostalgia that HQ, and Break In, often portrays.
Maybe a name change,
"NZART" nostalgically infers that one is a "transmitter", rather than a "listener", or experimenter. Just drop the T. We would be, all encompassing, as "NZAR" NZ Amateur Radio Inc. or "ARNZ" Amateur Radio NZ Inc. It could be worth a try, many hams spend hours on their computers searching/discussing technical amateur topics, rather than actually transmitting. They may feel more comfortable in re-joining an association that fits better with their modern day radio interests.
I only have one significant point to make and that is that interest in Amateur Radio is coming down from an artificial and extreme high point that is related to the quirks of history. We need to plan for a much smaller association that reflects the base level of interest in amateur radio, not keep hoping that the situation will improve.
Background: Sixty years ago there was a World War. There was no easy world wide communication so HF Radio was used to span the tyranny of distance along with very expensive and relatively primitive underwater phone cables. The modern warfare systems of the day required detailed and secure communication so a large number of young men (and women) got trained in the ancient art of Morse code and in how to support the radio technology that carried those signals. As a result the communications networks remained functional, the war was fought and won and everything started returning to a normal peace time operation.
A large amount of latest technology war surplus radio equipment became available. It was natural that a large number of those service men and women could now utilise their new found knowledge and equipment to communicate around the globe. As a result radio clubs sprouted as like minded individuals not only communicated by radio but also socialised with like minded club members. NZART and the member clubs flourished. For several decades improvements in HF technology, sometimes pioneered by amateurs, took place. Amateur radio was in its heyday.
Then in the 1970's and 80's a revolution occurred and digital technology started taking over from the analogue. The slide rules and log tables that successfully calculated the workings of everything technological including the first atomic weapons were being replaced by calculators and computers. As a result the very core of communication also changed. Radio lost its pre-eminence to high speed digital circuits that spanned the oceans. Global communication was now easy to achieve.
That large group of ex military enthusiasts who had been well prepared by training and a desire to communicate (in the absence of an alternative) was getting older. A large number were captured by the new digital technology and whilst they were still enthusiastic about radio, their children were now well and truly on a digital fuelled consumerism treadmill. No time for complicated hobbies like amateur radio, especially when you could simply email or send some small message around the world for virtually no cost.
So that is where we are now.
Analysis: In my opinion the peak of Amateur Radio was an artefact of the time. Training in the latest technology of the day, a desire to communicate, and no alternatives other than HF radio led to a large number of people taking up amateur radio as a hobby. They saw the magic, were captured by the technology and were properly trained how to use it.
Unfortunately they are now reaching the end of their lives. As they die there is no big surge of replacement members and there never will be. There is a natural, much smaller number of enthusiasts with an interest in radio technology and communication generally. They are only a small proportion of the population.
So NZART needs to face the reality that membership will continue to sink. Clubs are going to have to amalgamate or close. We need to set our future plans to match the reality. Sure we need to continue to encourage people to see radio as an exiting and challenging hobby in all its various forms. However we cannot hope to return the glamour days of radio when it ruled the world from the end of WWII to the late 1960's. Radio is becoming digitised and commodified and radio equipment is now simply another Lego Block in a communications network. The question is how big is the hobby, and NZART, likely to be in the future?
Suggestion: I suggest NZART analyse the membership database by age group. How many members are under 50 years old? Adjust the number as reflective across the total amateur population and in my opinion that is the likely number of amateur operators that will exist in New Zealand in ten years time. In the absence of any other suggestions, my guess is that will also likely be the baseline level of interest ±20% as we move forward. In the military context "an orderly withdrawal" is always harder than an attack so it needs to be planned better. Just work out the likely size of NZART in ten years time and plan around that. Be a bit pessimistic and if member numbers turn out to be better that predicted then that will be excellent. Do not hope that membership will somehow stop declining for the next ten years. Just look at the age profiles of the amateur radio population in New Zealand and the answer should be obvious.
The services I require from NZART are listed below, most important first. Protect our spectrum worldwide and in NZ.
Protect our operating privileges and represent our interests with RSM Finds ways to attract new young members into the hobby
Provide a magazine at financially viable intervals, that is informative about amateur radio affairs, both global and local, and that helps the membership to stay up to date about all aspects of the hobby.
Somehow it must be found to get more if not all as members of the National body so there is funding to achieve the things that need to be done in interaction with Govt departments for the future of our hobby . I presume the blank spaces in the call book reflect just that, non members of NZART, although some or many may be local club members, but that will not 'protect' their future in International and National matters.
I have heard members say that at $90 it is too much but it is about 30 cups of coffee! but since probably the average member is ageing - this may be a factor with those not so well off.
I wonder if some of the reason for this is the highly technical nature of most articles in Break In may not interest the mainstream and so they vote to not get the Break In and therefore not a National member ? Maybe an idea to help might be to 'ask' that senior members consider if they are financially healthy , to consider a bequest to the national body that would be secure for specific uses, as part of their will.
I wonder if any part of what HQ do would be legitimate to be funded by trust sourced money , just a left field idea , NZ Land SAR for example can source money in this way that is used in the different areas or regions for their benefit for equipment etc , and of course AREC is an important part of that. I am well informed on this subject being a local Police SAR adviser.
I have 3 comments to make.
1. Why does NZART operate an office? Albeit an office only open 3 days per week. Surely in this day and age the sole worker at the office could work 3 days a week from home. Phone numbers are transportable to anywhere, no need for travel... would save at least the yearly rent! If storage of "documents" is a concern, there are PLENTY of companies that specialise in this nowadays with 24/7 access if needed and a lot cheaper than renting an office!! The business managers garage would probably do too.
2 Why isn't Break-In available to download for a fee from the internet? Members get a printed copy as part of their subscription, so why not offer it EASILY to Joe Public? I mean OTHER than buying individual copies from NZART or printing more. Get it online, include a wider range of articles to appeal to a wider audience -offer printed advertisers three times the space in an online version for no extra cost [they already supply their own copy]. Make it MARKETABLE... honestly I'm surprised the Ad manager hasn't tried selling advertising space to rest homes and undertakers, it would be relevant after all... digital space COSTS NOTHING but can be sold for $$$!
3. 100% Membership. How? A yearly fee, included in the membership, to keep your details up to date in SMART. Join every year or your license expires. Simple. Negotiate with MED for NZART to provide this IMPORTANT function Amateur SMART database is outdated and contains so much wrong info it's not funny. Simple fix, let NZART and no-one else manage it. [ PLEASE MOVE TO NEXT PAGE ]
Today instant communications is part of everyday life for nearly everyone in 1st world countries. Children grow up in a world full of technology that even I, an electronics engineer 38 years old, have trouble keeping up with simply due to the volume of new devices and internet based offerings. What is amateur radio? Who needs it? Why bother? These are all questions you and I know the answers to. Ask anyone below the age of 20 right now and there are very few who show any kind of interest as they can already communicate with their peers..
Even those who are keen on STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Maths) subjects probably don't have time for amateur radio since they already network with peers through established reliable channels. In my opinion NZART must significantly increase efforts to capture younger members by giving them a reason to be interested in amateur radio, even if it's just a sideline for some more interesting activity.
The age group most impressionable is 8-12 years and their interests are typically not talking over a radio or learning Morse code. Digital modes and satellite communications are more relevant but are eclipsed by the internet so far as today's kids are concerned. So what's left? Actually nothing is left, so how do you interest them and teenagers in amateur radio? Widen the scope of NZART.
Stop trying to be clubs exclusively for amateur radio as this is a path towards insignificance. Find ways to incorporate other group's activities and target specific existing national events to raise amateur radio profile (i.e. do something other than car rally comms for example). Here are a few suggestions of other groups and events with relevance to NZART members
__Arduino Users - Microcontroller boards with C-like interpreter firmware. __Hacker space / maker space groups - Relatively new "project" community. __GATES program - Gifted and Talented school kids, electronics projects etc. Make a radio. __Robot kits building / programming - Many suppliers of robot kits, remote control (radio) important. __Amateur unmanned aerial vehicles - Need communications, licensed amateur radio operator = higher EIRP and understanding of antennas. __Robotics Competitions - FIRST LEGO League, Robocup Junior and VEX competition events all need volunteers and a national organisation like NZART is well place with existing expertise. New Zealand has a problem getting enough kids interested in STEM career paths so expecting to get NZART members from the current and future generations is wishful thinking unless they are engaged in STEM activities from year 5-8 at school *and* introduced to amateur radio, probably by stealth through another activity. I introduced FIRST LEGO League into New Zealand last year with my goal being more kids becoming scientists and engineers in the future. NZART should involve itself with and leverage activities like this as ultimately amateur radio is simply a small subset of STEM.
NZART Thoughts for the future?
Much of what I have to say is conjecture and opinion. It seems to many members and nonmembers/ex-members that NZART are not listening to the members and much is based on historical events. But it is these historical events that lead to that feeling of being totally ignored.
My first disappointment was back some years when a referendum was taken amongst the members with regard to the retention or not of the CW requirement. The vote was something like 87% of members wanted the CW to remain and additionally if not CW then some other form of extra requirement for access to the HF bands. This was ignored and the next we the members knew a deal was being brokered in association with other countries Associations to push at world level for the abolition of the CW requirement. It seemed like the NZART was telling us the members that we didn't know what we were talking about and NZART knew best.
This theme runs thru' the last few years. When Gisborne was instigating the installation of a National System, we were told by FMTAG that it MUST go on a BCL site when we had a better site under investigation. Again we were told we didn't know what we were talking about. Looks like we would have been better off at our site now with the Kordia problems. Around this time myself and another ham were working thru' the process of designing and building a UHF repeater. This repeater had been proposed nearly 10 years before we managed to get it ready for installation. The local branch had agreed to it as long as it cost the branch nothing. We were told by FMTAG that it must go thru' them for engineering and approval. (This is not true as you know). To save the bad feelings abounding at the time between us and the local branch we did eventually go via FMTAG. However I did not do that with a digi repeater that is licenced to me personally. This was partly to prove a point but also to speed things up plus the branch did not need it but I did for linking to our local Winlink.
The issue of the ZK call signs is another sore point with HF operators. The actual hams/DXers using the HF frequencies were again ignored. I don't know of any other country where special calls are used for emergencies and it makes no sense to do so. Think about it! In a genuine emergency there will be no time or logistics to set up special calls. The hams actually operating in an emergency will be the ones who have the capability to get up and running asap and will start by using their own calls. People will know who and where they are, from their call.
The "free licence" NZART say was thrust upon us but that didn't happen in the UK. It seems to me that the NZART saw a gain of kudos and power by becoming the call issuing agent. At what cost to us. Again we were not consulted just told this is what we have done for you! Yeh right now look at the costs of the repeaters. The lack of removal of silent keys and address changes is an on going problem that no doubt you say is not your problem but as you now issue calls it is your problem. A 5 year renewal would be acceptable to most hams and would alleviate much of this problem. Many hams feel they have lost their hard earned privileges by having the proper official internationally recognised licence devalued by this operator's certificate issued by an association. Did all this including the dropping of the CW requirement give us more/younger members? Did it hell! Did the novice? Will the foundation?
Recently NZART have lost for us half of the 70cm band and soon our channel 39 ATV allocation and allowed low power devices to encroach into the 70cm band. OK you have given us two LF frequencies but again these were by world wide negotiations. You have given a 5MHz allocation but it is restricted to AREC buddies who have no real experience of HF and propagation. That channelized frequency should have been given to selected hams by licence variation or was this goodies for the boys in the inner circle? Many think so. We are both scribes to the Break-In but as someone said it's very 1970's and really does need a spruce up. Looking at QST, RadCom and CQ magazines they are not much different to BI in content but manage to look up to date. The adverts take up about 40% of their magazines but they pay for it. Why haven't we got more adverts? Is it something to do with the presentation? Too old fashioned? Ask Tait and Icom NZ etc why they won't support it. Maybe they feel it should be open to non members to get a wider audience. ASK!
In 1999 we were told the NZART was in serious financial trouble due to 'mistakes'. We thought that had been rectified but now you tell us we are again in serious financial trouble. Why? You haven't told us. If it's lack of members then look at why. In retail you don't blame the customers if they don't come in the door. You go and find out why. What about employing an expert in business before all the funds are gone?
NZART should be a service business and as such should provide a service to the members. Look to RSGB for ideas of how they turned themselves around. The more I think about it and write the more I'm disillusioned and I will stop here and abandon all hope as they say...hi and just go with the flow like so many when it comes to both NZART and Govt. My life is too short to worry about something that does not affect my capability to reach Honor Roll or enjoy my hobby. (I know the standard response to this is if it weren't for NZART you wouldn't have the bands. Well HF in particular is an international allocation not NZ govt).
Basically I'm saying ask for help! You're volunteers so we don't expect you to be experts in marketing and business management as well as specific aspects of our vast hobby.
If NZART wants more members and if it really wants to find out what it can do to attract new members then there is no point preaching to the converted members only. NZART has to move with the times and look outside of its inner circles.
If the answer was within its members then there has been plenty of opportunity at conferences etc to raise the issues. Look at Nelson and Hawkes Bay clubs and you will find some ideas that work. If NZART asked ALL hams (members and non-members) what they would like to see happen and what would motivate them to join NZART, then you might start to find some constructive ideas.
NZART will not grow if the same old people run it and keep the same old ideas and attitudes in place.
Attacking non-members for not joining will not encourage them to join and perhaps the opposite will occur. I know 200 people joined but are they new or renewals? NZART is mostly an old generation trying to encourage a new generation to participate in the hobby but whilst its on the older generations terms it won't happen.
Good luck and warmest regards
I submit that the existing Branch Structure be abandoned. Debbie won't be wasting time chasing Branches for roll numbers etc. Remits can be processed by postal vote. Membership is renewed each year (as now). Proxy voting provisions need to be made (or reviewed) in our constitution for AGM time voting. "Gatherings" of likeminded individual Amateurs would continue and Clubs or special interest groups can wax and wane without worrying about Branch Status issues. I submit that the existing method of electing councillors (in zones ZL1 etc) be abandoned and the council be elected from an at-large nomination pool. If the best people for the job come from Auckland or Eketahuna or wherever - so be it
I expect most of us are capable of choosing to achieve a good geographic representation spread. I submit that a NZART Trust be created to own, maintain and manage beacons, repeaters trustees etc. on behalf of the members. Furthermore, I submit that the Trust also own maintain and manage AREC resources, including the membership database. The Trust could provide other (ie Commercial) services (and Operators) from sites (and commercial frequencies) the Trust would wholly own, thus establishing an income stream.
Membership of AREC could be managed on-line like LSAR now does - training and operational records and all. I submit that NZART becomes an on-line organisation. INFO Line and the Official Broadcast currently keeps members up to date. Additional w
I write to you with a few points of interest that in my opinion would result in changes being applied to the current way in which Amateur Radio and the NZART is being conducted in New Zealand. I am an immigrant to New Zealand and have enjoyed my NZART membership status for over ten years. I am a New Zealand citizen.
Having been an Amateur Radio Operator for over thirty years operating in several countries of the world, the proposals I submit below are based upon my previous operating experiences and are also based upon what is happening in other countries of the world.
Basically, New Zealand Amateur operators believe that they are entitled to free use of the radio spectrum. This is the first obstacle to be overcome. An annual fee should be mandatory. How you do it is up to you. Other countries impose an annual license fee. In New Zealand no annual fees are imposed. A working arrangement with RSM should be considered whereby an annual licence fee could be shared by both NZART and RSM to fund repeater sites etc. There are just too many freeloaders that are crippling the cashflow to the detriment of the entire Amateur community. Only when the freeloaders are brought into the "paying fold" will NZART be once again placed into a financial situation where it can operate. In New Zealand all repeaters are freely accessible by all licensed operators. Not so in many other countries. Access tones are purchased.
NZART Branches who own and operate these repeaters should be obliged to collect a repeater operating fee from all of their members and issue access codes to enable operation of their repeater. Freeloaders would then not be able to access repeaters without Branch Membership. If the branches refuse to comply...then levy the branch with a hefty annual fee. Many branches allow branch membership without NZART membership. this practice should be wiped out I am sure there are many ways in which this type of suggestion could be implement,
The bottom line is CASH. If you cannot generate the cash from membership... Collect it by other means from other sources...Make all the freeloaders pay and that is the answer to your problem! Scrap the issuing of Break-In to all members in printed form. Make it electronically available on the website and cut out the printing costs. The same should apply to the Call book. Electronic only.
I'm an active ham 30 years
Have not been to Branch meetings for a long time as clashes with Forrest and Bird meeting and frankly got little out of the meetings. Found most of the people were not active and just called themselves Hams. I was a NZART member for a long time but finally the membership fee just went too high.
At the time I wrote and said I would pay but if it went up again I would leave. I stuck to me word. Compared to other organisations I belong to its too high The membership is too small for expensive mags though I did look forward to the monthly mag but once that was reduced I lost interest. Ive been to heaps of conferences. Last year the Hastings AGM. This year Auck AGM will be at. Simply put I'm a pensioner ( still have to work) I belong to Forest and Bird. Has a great mag, houses to rent etc Cost $45 a year NZ Historic places many discounts and great mag cost $45 a year
A medical society I belong to $15 a year and includes Mag The conference is too dear at the charges made in Auckland. Just too high for pensioners. So all of this just puts people off.and that's what I'm told by others.
Get the cost down and members will join id say most Hams have computers. So do your news on line instead of posting a mag. Anyway You will decide. I'm just throwing in my pennies worth. I really wonder how long you can employ staff for and pay office rent. Share someone's club rooms.
After sixty years of NZART "Transmitting" membership I also share concerns about the long-term future of the Association. The membership graph in the latest on-line news didn't help. Here is a tongue-in-cheek suggestion :
Before NZART inevitably folds, explore the possibility of us becoming the New Zealand Division of the "Wireless Institute of AUSTRALASIA" . While I realise this suggestion could be unpalatable in many quarters, on both sides of the Tasman, it may be a formula for the survival of our group. There would certainly be major constitutional hurdles to climb over. The much larger member base could be of all-round benefit and sustainable long- term.
My inspiration for the above revolutionary thinking comes from my earliest radio days. There was a very good publication called "The Australasian Radio World" that kicked off in 1936, survived through the war years and folded about 1950. A now deceased friend gave me a pile of them, kicking off a lifetime enthusiasm for radio that remains unabated [like recent two- way contacts on 508.1 kHz.]. The ARW monthly magazine contained constructional articles for both transmitting and receiving. There were also NZ articles and advertisers. The rambling thoughts of a 78 year-old .........
Present membership can only just maintain income to cover expenses unless you increase subscriptions to cover increased GST and other cost rises, but subscription increases may reduce members. It is a sound business maxim that you increase advertising and promotion in hard times even if it is necessary to borrow to cover such increased expenditure Borrowing with an attendant cost of interest is sound only if you can borrow interest free or deferred, or find other means to attract funds. The most obvious of these is to get more members. even at reduced introductory subscription levels, say special exam concessions, or other terms. .
You may have to consider special terms which are not liked by present members, or differential subscriptions which under normal circumstances are seen as discriminatory but are a small price for older members to pay to keep NZART afloat. Recruitment of new members is not easy, specially as "old hands" may find difficulty in relating to young people, thus we need to consider what will appeal to the young and also to those who are about to retire. What appealed to us has little appeal today, competing with Internet, Facebook (does NZART have a Facebook page, or Blog, or Twitter?), Mobile Phones, and all the many forms of communication, which require no exams and on-going annual licence fees. I recall being elated at gaining my callsign but nobody told me I would face the cost of expensive transceivers, antennas, arguments with local councils, license fees, branch and NZART annual subs., etc.
Sure, I have met lots of new people, but there are many clubs with whom I could have done this, and I have no regrets, generally. .
The main regret I have as I grow older is that my health has not kept pace with my desires and that I am increasingly aware of amateurs who let the side down by their mean attitude to newcomers. I deplore those whom I've heard over the air say "he's not a proper amateur, he's only a "T" call." or "he didn't get his Morse"..
Unfortunately there are many amateurs who seem to think they are in a class of their own with Morse and operating experience whereby they can pull rank on newcomers, including those with many years CB experience I didn't have that good fortune but the great surge of members in early 1980's is, .
I'm sure, due to the influx of CBers for whom a change of regulations encouraged entering amateur radio rather than buying another CB set. There are branches which were founded in those years and are now struggling to survive and some already sunk because they couldn't keep up the administration (nothing to do with amateur radio) which might be revived if they could seek help from friends used to office work. .
Others could be joined by radio operators from CB, Fire & Ambulance, Police, Coastguard, Civil Defence, SAR and other volunteer services`, the only stipulation being an interest in communication and public service. There may be club rooms available with facilities for such groups which are under-utilised. If you can't beat them, join them and share expenses, & experiences but don't pull rank! .
As for the NZART exams, provision for disabled people would help them to gain entry, thereby swelling our numbers and giving them a goal to achieve. This needs specialist attention for the many different disabilities but would be most worthwhile. We need an "exit survey" to determine why members are leaving and hopefully what would help to bring them back.
1. Revise Licence Scheme
New Zealand would clearly benefit from having more amateur radio operators. NZART should support this by acting expeditiously to encourage the establishment of a Foundation Class licence that can be renewed indefinitely. The addition of a new class of license provides an excellent marketing opportunity to put ham radio in front of a fresh audience. While NZART could clearly benefit from a wider pool of potential members, even wider public awareness of ham radio (and NZART) would be a worthwhile first outcome. An alternative would be to reduce the size of the current syllabus, removing some of the more arcane points and concentrating on safety, operating techniques, and basic amateur practise. This would be harder sell to the public than a new license, but could eventually reach the same end goal.
2. Printed Journal
Break-In is a tremendous asset to NZART. I've been an NZART member for more than 20 years (but only lived in New Zealand for the past 4) purely on the strength of the journal. A well-edited printed journal provides cohesion amongst members of a very diverse hobby. While few of us are active in every aspect of the game, most of us enjoy being well informed on the range of technical and operating topics that a print journal puts in front of us 6 times a year. The authors, columnists, and staff of Break-In are true stars of the organisation.
I fear NZART has become too small to support a leased public office. I suggest that NZART provide only a mail, Internet, and possibly VERY limited phone presence, and give up the physical space. I suspect we have become too small to support a paid business manager for more than 4 or 5 hours per week, but that may be harder for the membership to adapt to.
4. On-line Membership and Renewal
I suggest that NZART provide a web form to allow immediate membership subscription and ease of renewal. This would minimise book keeping errors that seem to have tripped up some renewals by bank transfer in the past couple of years.
It would be an interesting experiment to run the annual Conference in conjunction with a public science and technology event, ideally an established one. I would also support NZART in displaying or presenting at one of the major compulsory sector education conferences in New Zealand to increase awareness of the hobby and associated potential learning activities.
It is sad to see the number of NZART members so low that it only just covers expenses ,how do we over come this ,first we must get more members .even at reduced introductory levels,In 1980 when I became a transmitting member at the peak of the influx of members to our hobby it was from the CBers that most of the members came from .Lets do it again .we need transmitting people from all walks of life , lets get the message out how many of the public know that the nzart are having a annual meeting in Auckland.Get the TV involved make our image appear in the newspapers.
Many old hams have moved to retirement homes.can not put up antennas.what about echo link I know this medium is frowned on by many hams as it not being radio. Amateur radio will not prosper unless we get a better attitude among ourselves, and can talk sense to other users of the spectrum.
As for the NZART exams provision for disabled people would help them to gain entry, thereby swelling our numbers and giving them a goal to achieve.
The main problem NZART has is given in Break In March/April page 3.
" The majority of services provided by NZART benefit all Amateurs in New Zealand ". So non membership has many benefits.
To encourage more members (both transmitting and non transmitting), membership(s) could be listed on Trade Me in amateur radio section with a Buy Now (payable by credit card?).
A trade me listing could include an introduction to NZART and reference to its great website www.nzart.org.nz www.nzart.org.nz website Tab "join" could be duplicated as "new members" to encourage new members.
If copies of QST can be sold on Trade me then why not NZART membership and maybe
If listing membership on trade me only increases visitors to www.nzart.org.nz then it will have achieved something.
Trade me is great advertising.
With an aging and declining membership it is my view NZART will cease to exist within 10 years unless it dramatically reinvents itself and concentrates on core activities. As such I suggest the following changes:
Abolish the Branch Structure
Branches are no longer relevant in today's society of instant and mass communication. There is no value in retaining a branch system which was partly set up at NZART's inception to allow timely and efficient dissemination of news and views to/from local members and Council.
Branches could continue as clubs in their own right with membership and rules as they please. This would also remove the whole "...a branch member must be a member of NZART..." issue and I suspect, a lot of NZART administrative angst.
With their removal individuals should be given the right to vote direct on remits regardless of whether they attend the AGM or not. Currently individuals are members of NZART but only have a vote through their branches. Even then their vote may count for nothing if the branch reps are given a mandate to change the way a branch votes at the AGM, which seems to be invariably the case. This is completely undemocratic and puts power in the hands of a few individuals in the largest branches.
Cut the Number on Council
Remove the right of the immediate past president to be on council.
Currently there are 9 regional councillors'. I would change this to 6 and remove the regional requirement. We should have the best 6 people in the job regardless of where they live.
Change the Remit System
Following on from point 1, allow remits to be submitted by 5 individual members by say 28 February and not 31 December. There is no need for a six month lead in time to the AGM and it does not allow the organisation to respond to new initiatives/issues in a timely manner.
Change the Name
Apart from sounding totally pompous, "New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters" does not tell anyone what the association stands for or represents. A new name with "Amateur Radio" in it is required.
Seek input from members regularly
The perception of Council from many I talk to is that it thinks it knows everything or knows better and is loath to seek advice, or does so through gritted teeth (for an example of the latter you need go no further than this submission process). This needs to change and regular input sort from amateurs who are active in the area in question or Council will continue to alienate members.
Council also needs to act on the wishes of its members and not be seen as a road block.
Ensure all sub -committees like the finance committee are properly constituted
and provide minutes to council and to members on request. Failure to do this just fuels the conspiracy theorists.
Review Break In
The format and content of Break In needs to be reviewed. What is it members really want from their Journal?
The printing needs to be put out to tender (when was the last time that happened)?
Ultimately Council should aim for 11 issues a year subject to cost and receipt/quality of material.
Stop Issuing Call-Book
With the internet there is no need for an annual call book. The general operator information should be able to be accessed from the NZART website and could be given in written form once to new members on them joining the association.
Use the Kiwisat project to publicise Amateur Radio
With the Kiwisat project nearing completion (so I understand) this is an unparalleled opportunity to promote amateur radio. You only have to look at the live coverage the recent launch of a rocket from Waiheke Island got to understand how the media would view it.
Therefore a media plan needs to be urgently put in place covering off amongst other things, who is the best spokesperson i.e. someone who looks bright, engaging and can speak with confidence and in simple terms (it does not necessarily need to be someone involved in the project), who will write press releases etc.
Publish a list of paid up NZART members on the web site (so members know who to recruit and who not)
Make some portions of the NZART website accessible to members only. ARRL do this
When publishing the call book show who is a member and who is not.
Do mailing shots to non members.
Make an appeal for funds to branches -many have thousands in the bank.
Start some sort of hall of fame for funds donors.
Apply to the various available funds for money
Make repeaters "members only"
Make the National System "members only"
Publish Break In on line and scrap the printed copy.
Offer free membership to any ham licensed >50 years
Solicit donations of good surplus ham gear and offer free to new/young recruits.
Lets face it, amateur radio is no longer the main-stream hobby it was where many people enjoyed free communications when there was little or no communication facilities, when anyone could participate in cutting edge technology, share the experiences of leading scientists, and all for little or no cost!
It cannot be denied that some radio amateurs are still making discoveries and participating in leading edge science but no longer in the forefront or as a main stream activity. In so many ways amateur radio is weaker and less relevant that those early days.
This weakening of amateur radio has led to a dumbing down of the activity and the weakening of our Association. It must be recognised that only a strong amateur radio service can support or engender a strong NZART. We are therefore faced with two options, to dumb down (down size) NZART, or to strengthen amateur radio. There is no third option, to change the role of our Association is to dumb it down as a radio amateur organisation, which will change its purpose and put the organisation ahead of the reason it exists. We must therefore explore the options to strengthen our Amateur Service. We can try to do better what we are already doing but can that be managed and what areas are available for improvement.
We are already battling the environment in which we exist with increased costs of providing services to radio amateurs both at ITU and local level. Repeater and beacons housing costs have sky-rocketed while interest has waned. AREC activities are being taken over by government backed services, Civil Defence has established its own lines of emergency communication, leaving us to fall back to be the service of last resort, and while that is not an unworthy position, it is not a strong one, neither is it main stream.
The most significant way in which the Amateur Service can be strengthened in this country is to increase the number of participants but at the same time we must do this with good people, we can’t give out licenses in the cereal packets. Any approach to increasing numbers must be well designed and workable. We have tried trimming what we have and it doesn’t work. That must be accepted or there is no progress. We cannot stand still and blame Branches or individuals for our inability to make success of our current recruitment and licensing system.
The answer is painfully obvious but so denied by those who fail to see our own faults. I refer of course to the introduction of a well planned “Foundation :Licence.” Fail to do this and we have sealed our fate, NZART will soon be unable to provide any service to its members.
The bottom line is that the President does not need a plebiscite to proceed. If he believes it is the only answer then he must act, and act both positively and now. For the President or Council to fail to take this opportunity to grow amateur radio could be defined as gross negligence. Act before it is too late.
Listen not to sooth-sayers, be bold and historic.
*The significant drop in membership can probably be attributed in the main to the economic collapse, and the failure of many finance companies. I am sure a number of those who lost there life savings were amateurs. Many more have lost their jobs and income. Hopefully membership will pickup with an improving economy.
However in the meantime we could start by cancelling the NZART Radio Science education Trust if these grants come out of our funds. I have grave doubts as to the efficacy of this scheme.
The call book should only have the call information of members and if non members wish to be included they should pay a fee, say $10.
Could council write a letter to all amateurs asking them to join NZART for the good of the hobby giving the facts and figures and possible ramifications for the hobby if membership does not increase. Make this available to the branches who could then carry the cost of trying to contact all the known non members in their area either by post or email or hand delivery to the letterbox. This would spread the cost and work over a large number of people and hopefully would not be too onerous.
If push really comes to shove we could look at making Break-In an electronic publication but I can see a number of problems with this and it could in fact be self defeating. This is probably our biggest expense and with reduced print volumes costs will increase.
Sorry for the late delivery but have been ill and only just remembered about this.
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