Are You Promoting our Hobby in the Best Possible Way

pb_lonny

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What are you doing to promote your hobby? Forget about yourself for a second and consider if what you are doing is helping or hindering others who share the same hobby as you?

- Physical Appearance:
This might vary for some hobbies that have safety requirements or require wearing specific clothing. When undertaking your hobby, are you presentable in your clothing and appearance? While I am not suggesting for one second that you should go out in a three-piece suit, is your clothing neat and tidy? Are you presenting yourself as somebody you would want to talk to? Nobody wants to talk to somebody who looks “rough”.
Recently I was in a local take away outlet where I saw a couple of well know amateur radio operators, they looked like “homeless bums”, they had HT’s on their belt and club tops. They simply were not selling their hobby in a positive light.
Much like how employees are expected to represent their employer in a professional manner when wearing their uniform, should the same not also apply to those who are clearly representing / displaying their hobby (no matter what this is)?

- Attitude:
If somebody came up and spoke to you, would you welcome this interaction and provide them information on your hobby and answer any questions? Do you look for opportunities to both promote your hobby and demonstrate it in a positive light to anybody who shows an interest? Do you avoid the well-known “old boys club” attitude which is so very clear in a lot of radio clubs?

- Language:
Do you speak in a tone and manner which is welcoming, and do you reframe from swearing, especially around children? If you are asked questions, can you answer them in a manner which would encourage more people to join into your hobby or would you be seen as pushing people away?

- Equipment:
Is your equipment stored and used in such a way as to not be a risk to others? Is it well kept and not dangerous? Do you consider other people when setting up in public spaces?

- Online presence:
If you have an online presence (website, blog, Facebook page), is it regularly updated and used to promote your hobby as something other people might like to be a part of?

The key point in all of this is that what you do as an individual reflects on everybody else who also undertakes that hobby, both in a positive and negative way. Much like wearing a uniform with your employers branding, you need to present yourself and your hobby in a positive light.
While it is not right that we all “get painted with the same brush”, the reality is that it happens and what we each do can and does impact how your hobby is seen by the public and can impact others enjoyments of their hobby.

Recently I was out with my family when I noticed a man racing a remote-controlled car at a park, he didn’t seem out of place to start with. Over a short period of time he ran the car at a group of kids and then approached one child, it was clear from the parent’s reaction that this person was not known to this child.
What gets to me is that by a few actions, this person has now made these parents think twice when they see somebody with a remote-control car. What was this guy doing and why did he run his car at the group of kids? What could have been a positive interaction and a chance for this guy to promote his hobby instead turned in to a negative interaction. I know as I spoke to the parents of the child later.

Some hobbies are “mainstream” and easily explained, others look weird or geeky and it is these hobbies which we need to really take the time to paint in the best possible light. Making a geeky hobby more so, does nobody any favours and only pushes it and those who undertake it further in to the edge of society, make the gap even larger than what it needs to be, both now and in to the future.
Be smart and think about what you want your hobby to look like tomorrow and how what you do today is shaping this.

 

GlobalNorth

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The first three were gross violations of a local amateur radio club that was offering license testing.

In the summer of the southwestern US, people tend to wear casual clothes, but a clean pressed golf/polo shirt and shorts suitable for wear at a resort would have been an improvement over what most of the club members were wearing

Attitude was the big killer for me. They treated all applicants as if they were an inconvenience, not as potential members. Starting late, not being organized, and then complaining about being there. Every applicant heard it and some of us walked out.

Language? Try active listening, instead of speaking to people as if they were draftees in a 1956 induction facility. Some people were there test for Extra class, but were treated as if they knew nothing.

Example? I left my amateur licensing exam after 40 minutes of waiting, unpreparedness, and the VECs constant moaning about having to work the event, about the applicants, arguing with applicants over where they lived [just about everyone knows where they live - yet one nearly blind VEC gave people the wrong paperwork with other's personal info on it and then had the brass to argue that we were wrong as to where we lived.

I never went back.

Amateur radio is supposed to be an avocation and if these people were any example, they were just bitter old men who needed a lot of psychotherapy, not time in front of a transceiver.
 

air-scan

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Someone's appearance is a matter of taste and very subjective and preference. We need not be judging rough looking people. Someone with a SDS100 or a Whistler scanner of some sorts pushing a shopping cart down mains street enjoying his or her hobby doesn't bother me. Vanity sucks!

The scanning hobby is just that a hobby. Not some job! There is no dress code!
 

mmckenna

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Perhaps attitudes are different down under but I'm not convinced all those things make a difference up here.
I agree, but I think it does make a difference depending on the role the amateurs want to be in.

disclaimer: I'm a ham. have been for a very long time...

It's a hobby. Yeah, as in all things, try and present yourself in a respectful and professional manner. It goes a long way in life. You never know who's watching and/or paying attention. Most of all, keep the damn radios turned down. Not everyone in a 100 foot radius needs to hear your radio. No one is impressed.

If someone is a ham and wants to play a role in providing some level of public service, then absolutely, there needs to be a level of professionalism. Probably most of us have been at ham fests where you run into the occasional attendee that smells like they haven't showered in a few days. No one is going to want to work with someone like that. Don't be 'that guy'.

On the other hand, hobbyists showing up in uniforms sends an equally bad vibe. There's a point where it starts to look like someone took a huge step across the demarcation line between hobbyist and whacker. Leave the ham radio badges, uniforms and tactical gear at home, it creeps people out.
 

N4DJC

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Perhaps attitudes are different down under but I'm not convinced all those things make a difference up here. Just in case: I'm wearing jeans, a t-shirt with a mandolin on it and white sneakers. I'm at home so you're lucky I'm not traipsing around in my underwear.
Lucky indeed, a t shirt and shorts are the my normal attire...no bunny slippers though.
 

GlobalNorth

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The issue isn't jeans, shorts, or a t-shirt [assuming they are clean]. Hams are always complaining about the hobby fading away and few people have an interest. Well, I am no longer a kid, I am effectively retired and have discretionary cash to spend on a new hobby that I could partake of from my home.

With the attitude that some amateurs have and display for the world to see at public events, it is no wonder that many simply just walk away. Deflecting the issue to personal choices, comparisons to other hobbies, or other factors is not addressing what is wrong with the electronic hobbies.

If someone is going out in public to promote their hobby, one should act as if are selling something because they are. Being rude and impertinent go beyond club memberships. Because I walked out of a testing session, I didn't buy a rig, an antenna and the supplies to put it up. This was thousands of dollars lost to the local ham store, to the local home improvement store, and to the manufacturers of these products.

One day, the FCC may look hard at the diminishing amateur population and auction off/reallocate bands for PS, telecom, and other users. I suspect it is coming and sooner than the ARRL can imagine.
 

MTS2000des

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The issue isn't jeans, shorts, or a t-shirt [assuming they are clean]. Hams are always complaining about the hobby fading away and few people have an interest. Well, I am no longer a kid, I am effectively retired and have discretionary cash to spend on a new hobby that I could partake of from my home.

With the attitude that some amateurs have and display for the world to see at public events, it is no wonder that many simply just walk away. Deflecting the issue to personal choices, comparisons to other hobbies, or other factors is not addressing what is wrong with the electronic hobbies.

If someone is going out in public to promote their hobby, one should act as if are selling something because they are. Being rude and impertinent go beyond club memberships. Because I walked out of a testing session, I didn't buy a rig, an antenna and the supplies to put it up. This was thousands of dollars lost to the local ham store, to the local home improvement store, and to the manufacturers of these products.

One day, the FCC may look hard at the diminishing amateur population and auction off/reallocate bands for PS, telecom, and other users. I suspect it is coming and sooner than the ARRL can imagine.
These comments are spot on. It isn't about clothing or cars, it's about the overall picture.

Whackermobiles, storm whackers, all of the "extreme" examples while they aren't mainstream, are the ones that get the wrong attention. The lids on HF (and some notorious repeaters) dropping F-bombs and hurling racial slurs are also the ones that get the wrong attention.

Just being respectful of the rules and being welcoming without being stalkerish is enough to buy the RIGHT kind of attention. Leave the talk about saving the world, the bandolero of Baofengs, and storm spotter badge at home. Do talk about the fun and magic of talking to people, satellites even, without depending on some telecom cartel pay to play network in between. Nothing but air. The ability to switch up to adapt modes (DV, FL Digi, etc) to get through around the world regardless of weather. Show off our ability to make technical magic happen. Be a positive source of energy.

Show how FUN it is to talk to friends around the corner. More importantly, having FUN doing is the key here. This is what makes the right kind of folks needed to pass the torch to and what we should be doing everyday when on the air and off.
 

iMONITOR

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Damn, I guess I need to find a new hobby where I can relax not worry about what others think, just be myself, not have to be politically correct, don't shave for a few days if I don't feel like it, maybe spend the day in my pajamas and leave coax all over the floor of my office with a 6-outlet power strip with 10 things plugged into it. :rolleyes: :cool:
 

trap5858

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Ham radio, scanning- should be hobbies of inclusion not exclusion. The biggest problem the hobby has in attracting younger people or even older people is there are dozens of other ways people communicate these days- texting for one.

I have found that showing up at an event with a scanner does attract attention- good and bad. Some want to know about the scanner and what I am hearing, others automatically assume what I am doing is illegal. I am always discrete when I listen in public.

As with anything- be respectful of others.
 

KK4JUG

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If the powers-that-be were concerned about attitude, physical appearance, etc., they would be more concerned about FRS. GMRS, CB, etc. Ham radio is "top hat and tails" formal compared to those other services.
 

majoco

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It's not what you look like, what you're dressed like or anything like that. It's your attitude and your skills that will impress the newcomer/visitor.
I'm secretary of a local medium range full bore rifle club, anything from 100 to 600 yards. We have a large 6ft 6" member - his job is a heavy front end loader operator - lives about 1 hours drive from the range and he only comes on competition days - hardly ever on practice/training days. He has a second job as a welder/machinist and comes to the range with welding spark holes in his clothes which are not exactly spotless. He has an extended family from a previous and current marriages and very careful with what he spends. Anyone who meets him for the first time time probably thinks who is this scruffy so-and-so but he is the most quietly well-spoken guy who takes great interest in young people who come to up their skills and he lies down alongside them as they shoot - they probably don't think he knows anything until he makes a few suggestions which work for them and they are agreeably surprised. Then he pulls one of his magnificent but old rifles out the back of his wagon and shoots near top score every time - he makes the most immaculate ammo but gives the guys all the knowledge that he has on how to do the same. Last Saturday 26th at 300 metres (330 yards) on a 10-ring target where the 10 ring is 1 minute/3.3 inches across and the centre ring 0.5 minutes/1.65 inches across he scored 199 out of 200 with 16 centres, 20 shots to count off a bipod and rear bag. I only managed 197.08 to come second in our group.

You can't judge a book by it's cover.
 

pb_lonny

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Thanks for all the replies, I didn't want to offend anybody but the below post really touches on my point.

If the powers-that-be were concerned about attitude, physical appearance, etc., they would be more concerned about FRS. GMRS, CB, etc. Ham radio is "top hat and tails" formal compared to those other services.
The issue / difference is that those other services are not crying out for new members, hams on the other hand are but don't seem to understand that often they are driving people away, not encouraging them in.
 

GlobalNorth

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Damn, I guess I need to find a new hobby where I can relax not worry about what others think, just be myself, not have to be politically correct, don't shave for a few days if I don't feel like it, maybe spend the day in my pajamas and leave coax all over the floor of my office with a 6-outlet power strip with 10 things plugged into it. :rolleyes: :cool:
If you are a VEC in a metro Phoenix ham club, yes. If you are simply ragchewing about whatever you want, I have zero problem spinning the dial to someone or some thing else.
 
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