The Amateur Spirit

One thing I’ve noticed since becoming both a licensed amateur radio operator in 2011 as well as being a member of a local amateur radio club is that amateur radio clubs seem to be becoming more of a factioned group.

One club I’m aware of feels like they have to tiptoe around certain things, such as avoiding mentioning the word ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) because some members take offence to mentioning ARES during club activities, such as membership meetings.  This club is not alone.  I’ve seen many similar stories on amateur radio forums around the internet and while talking with fellow amateur radio operators.

I feel that things like this hurt the image of amateur radio and contribute to inhibiting growth of the hobby.  All of us, as amateur radio operators, need to realize that we, individually, are not the “be all & end all” of amateur radio.  Amateur radio is a vast and diverse hobby with many areas for interests such as DXing, contesting, APRS, digital modes, QRPing, emergency communications such as ARES and much, much more.

To help combat this, I have drafted a document that I’ve titled The Amateur Spirit.  The document consists of ten basic principle statements that I think help define the true spirit of amateur radio.

These principles are:

  1. We recognize that amateur radio is a very diverse hobby with many niches;
  2. We respect the areas of the amateur radio hobby that an amateur decides to participate in or not participate in;
  3. We respect that while I may not be interested in a particular part of amateur radio, another amateur may be and I will respect that amateur’s interests;
  4. We do not discriminate against, harass or treat others with disrespect because they share their viewpoints or may have viewpoints and interests that are not the same as my own;
  5. We welcome and treat every member, prospective member, guest and the public with dignity and respect;
  6. We are always inclusive and not to exclude any person from participation in the hobby for any reason, including age, gender, background, knowledge or experience;
  7. We always follow the letter and spirit of the law and act ethically in all we do;
  8. We seek to learn new things and share our knowledge;
  9. We get involved and participate in club activities and events, including helping to organize, operate and/or plan them;
  10. We recognize that an amateur radio club “belongs” to all of its members and not to any one particular individual or group.

If you’d like a PDF version of the principles to share, you can download one here.

Comments, suggestions, etc. are always appreciated.

73, Matt Dean, VE3MDN

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