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Representing the interests of all  radio amateurs in the UK whether we like it or not

Talk to any group of UK radio amateurs about their national society and you will find you have an emotive subject. Founded in 1913 and incorporated in 1926 the Society enjoys the patronage of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT. In 1934 the first Amateur Radio licences were being issued, a move that has in the main served to keep undesirables and the great unwashed out of the hobby until recent years.

Many radio amateurs will ask, “Why does a ‘none profit making’ club or ‘society’ need to be incorporated?” a question I don’t believe there is a satisfactory answer to. Surely if there is RSGB PLC then there are a board of directors, shareholders and a big fat cat skimming off the top?

A Royal patronage may have been thought of as a great honour in the past but today it probably serves to keep more people from joining the society than are impressed by it. When was the last time HRH transmitted on the amateur bands and how many QSLs do you have from the politically incorrect (he has at least one endearing quality) Phil the Greek?

The society does many good things or rather its members do and RSGB PLC takes the credit for it. Another conceived problem with RSGB is that it is first and foremost a business, that business has employees and those employees have in the main no interest in radio whatsoever and yet they deal with the day to day running of the venture with that same lack of interest.

There are two reasons that radio amateurs in the UK state for remaining members of the society. The second is Radcom or Radcomic, as the societies magazine is jokingly nicknamed. Well I’m sorry but Practical Wireless has always been a much better magazine and so was the much-missed Ham Radio Today before its demise. It is slightly more interesting than another radio magazine I could mention but a magazine subscription would be a better bet for a lot of people and a lot cheaper to. How many amateurs just are not interested and leave the magazine unread and sealed in the plastic wrapper each month? So if I don’t want the magazine do I get a discount? I thought not.

The first and most often stated reason for staying a member is the QSL bureau. The volunteers who run the QSL bureau are heroes in my eyes, why they do it is beyond my comprehension. It would be worth the subscription for the bureau alone if that was where the money was going. If two thirds of the subscription was paid to those sorting cards I would be happy to pay it, but it doesn’t and less and less amateurs send QSL cards these days. As a result the main reason for being a member is no longer a motivation for the majority of amateurs.

There are a lot of people within the RSGB hierarchy who work very hard to improve things in amateur radio but unfortunately there are an equal or greater number of “Oh, look at me aren’t I great?” types, “I can make a bloody fortune on my expenses” types, and “couldn’t organise a sunrise in the morning” types. What seems to happen is that because things are run by committee and different people have there own agenda, wishy-washy compromises are made that end up being neither one thing or the other and more often than not, things end up worse than before. There have been some extremely bad decisions made over the years that in no way reflected the views of the majority of radio amateurs. There are also some very clever people in the society whose knowledge of their chosen field of expertise leaves me in awe; unfortunately some of them know it and together with their hero worship leads the doors of Lambda House being some of the widest in London. You know to whom I refer; you can hear them holding court usually on eighty metres.

I could go on and on and I probably will; so watch this space, but for now I will answer the big question “am I a member of the RSGB?” Yes, I have rejoined and Radcom is still mostly what I remember it was.

Love them or hate them ignore them at your peril 

The purpose of this page is neither to help or harm RSGB but to promote open and frank discussion about what we want from our national society. There is a certain amount of playing the "devil's advocate" in what I have written and some things may not actually represent my own personal views.  If you feel in some way hurt or insulted  and that I was having a go at you personally then the chances are you are guilty as charged and you know it.

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