Acting Locally

"Think globally, act locally" urges people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. Long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them. These efforts are referred to as grassroots efforts. They occur on a local level and are primarily run by volunteers and helpers.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, but not in terms of the environment (let's take that as read that THAT's a great cause) but in terms of my efforts with Amateur Radio. 

Last nights meeting of the Oakville Amateur Radio Club reinforced some of my thinking.  Brian, VA3BCO gave a excellent presentation on HSMM MESH Networking.

Here’s a link to his slides.

The session was a reminder to me of how much I enjoy working with smart, motivated folks on a common goal. While this was a presentation, a very practical goal had already been achieved - Brian, John, VA3BL and the rest of the team had put the Oakville Club’s MESH link on the air on the weekend.

With my resignation from The RAC board I have liberated time and energy to work with a local group were my efforts can yield real results. Yes I'm sad that I was not able to move RAC in a direction that would better serve its members, but I feel a tremendous reduction in frustration.

A Director Resigns

To my constituency here in Ontario South, I wanted to share this email I sent to my Fellow Directors of Radio Amateurs of Canada today announcing my resignation from the Board.

It has been a pleasure to represent you.



To Radio Amateurs of Canada, fellow Directors and Officers

With this email I hereby submit my resignation as Director, Ontario South effective as of 5 November 2014.

As I have voiced a few times now, I am uncomfortable with the current “health" of the organization, specifically:

1. The isolation of Directors and Executive from the members we serve, 

2, The resistance to representing ALL Amateurs in Canada, and 

3. A general lack of openness, accountability, and leadership.

I feel an engaged, open and healthy National Society would 

  • publish meeting schedules, agendas and detailed minutes in a timely fashion to encourage member feedback / interaction with Directors.
  • be concerned with the resignation of three Section Managers in rapid succession, conduct “exit interviews” and take corrective action.
  • show leadership by having specific, bold objectives, clearly communicated to, and supported by, its members

I’m feeling alone in these concerns, as if other Directors feel that things are “Just fine”, I’m feeling frustrated and ineffective in gathering support for basic change in the organization, so I think it’s best to part ways. I’m going to apply my time and attention in other areas so that I can support, in my own way, this great hobby.

I am thankful to the constituancy for the opportunity to serve as a Director and I offer my best wishes to each of you.


Rod Hardman

A Section Manager Resigns

GTA ARES Community,

It will come as no surprise that I am greatly saddened by this decision. George Duffield is a fine, thoughtful leader and we are greatly diminished by his departure from the GTA Section Manager role.

George Duffield has the talent of putting us in touch with our "Better Angels". He was instrumental in my personal decision to stop heckling RAC from the sidelines and step up to try to make the organization better. He made me see that any idiot can tear a thing down, but it takes character to effect positive change and build a thing up.

To the rest of the ARES in the GTA, I call on each of you to re-examine how we have strayed from the path and come to this sad place.

We have a great hobby, with noble purposes in education and community service, yet otherwise good men stand idly by, allowing petty squabbles to erupt from sad little men seeking to build cardboard empires. Good men should never allow this.

To be blunt, we have all failed ourselves, our communities and our served agencies when our actions, inactions or self serving pettiness cause a thoughtful peacemaker such as George Duffield to leave our ranks. 

While I am deeply ashamed of our GTA ARES community tonight, I am still hopeful that this will serve as a wake up call to the good Men (and Women) of our community and some good will come of this.

Let's wake up tomorrow determined to do better 

Rod Hardman

RAC Director, Ontario South

Building a stronger hobby & an open RAC

There are healthy efforts underway to offer better Office Automation  for RAC.  Director Bill Gipps of BC has been doing a heroic job investigating this and I'm proud to be actively supporting him, as is a very smart fellow from Ontario, new Ham Brian O'Donnell, VA4BCO. (I prefer to call this "Open Office" as the automation should be an enabler, not an objective. The result should be an office more accessible to all across Canada)

I've been asked about which has the higher priority - Education or (Open) Office Automation?

At risk of giving a politician's answer, both. I support Open Office as very important but it won't solve all of our very real problems. Growing the hobby, including recruiting diverse voices and talents, will have a bigger impact. nevertheless we do need both.

Relative to population growth, the hobby is shrinking, this is true south of the border as well. This is not because of lack of interest. You saw at Dayton the potential of the Maker /Hacker community. Toronto is a centre of gravity for these folks as is Vancouver and Calgary.

We also need to look at Native communities, rural ARES opportunities and elementary /secondary robotics programs. (Note that none of these demographics are dominated by "old white men")

We need to make more Hams by making adult education more accessible to these communities. Youth education is secondary given our relevancy issue. If you want to appeal to youth, you need to be (and appear to be) relevant. 

Now from an association perspective, RAC still has a relevancy / value proposition problem. The hard truth is in our poor market share (number of RAC members vs  hams in Canada, benchmarked against the same numbers in the UK and USA) and I believe this is also largely to do with relevancy or - put differently - "what's in it for me?"

So it's critical we increase our total numbers, diversify that population and increase our marketshare. A good education program will help the first two issues. An Open Office could help fix the marketshare. How? It's about revitalization.

Revitalization will only occurred when the organization commits to becoming more transparent & inclusive. 

- Volunteers with equal access from across the country. 

- Open financials. 

- Consultations on important issues. 

-  Open discussion forums to identify what active Hams think are important.

- more time and attention on our critics not just our fan club

Most importantly we have to have value for dollars that speaks to all Amateurs in Canada.  

Office automation is important because it could be used to open the organization and increase the feeling that RAC is both willing and capable of representing ALL Canadian Amateurs.

Is this going to happen on its own or are we going to require a revolution in the streets? I think the answer, like many answers, lies somewhere in the middle. Its about good men (and women) standing up and making a difference. Yes, I mean YOU. only YOU can help shape the National Organization YOU would like to see. Stand up and make a difference.

I'm an unapologetic optimist. It's not a scarcity issue, it's a growth issue. It's not about management, it's about leadership.


 (Thanks to Bill Unger VE3XT and Geoff ve4baw for a conversation that has really got me thinking about these issues )