From the President's Shack

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Letter to the ECARS Members from the President

I am honored to serve as the President of ECARS and grateful for the opportunity. Thanks to all of those who are willing to serve as officers, directors, and appointees and I look forward to continuing to work with them.

While I had been aware of this organization for many years, it was only when I started my consulting business in 2003, and found myself on the road much of the time, that I really came to appreciate the service. I could almost always be sure I could contact this net (or, if propagation was bad, one of the sister CARS nets) and get information, make contacts, or just help keep alert while driving. ECARS actually started off primarily to serve the mobile operator over 50 years ago when there were no cell phones, and, true to that tradition, we still give priority to mobiles. As I moved toward retirement I started filling in and then taking regular slots in the NCS schedule and found a new source of enjoyment in regularly talking to people all over the eastern half of the continent. All of the NCS operators strive to maintain our reputation as a friendly and welcoming net, and I certainly have been thrilled when a new ham decides to make his first contact by calling one of us, when a ham who has been long absent from the hobby or is recovering f rom an illness chooses us to "get back on", or when a student in a school station tries speaking to someone over the radio for the first time. We continue to provide other services, as well, and have helped many an operator adjust his equipment or test a new accessory, help make contact with another ham, pass along weather information, or just keep track of the many friends we all make over the air. Providing this service to the amateur community depends on having a cadre of operators willing to donate their time to serve as a Net Control Stations, and we have been fortunate to have wonderful people serve both as regular NCSs or be willing to jump in for a fill when a vacancy occurs. If you appreciate the service like I do, consider adding your name to the roster of NCS backups or volunteering to be an assigned net control operator taking a vacant slot. It may seem daunting the first few times, but there are lots of aids to help get your feet wet and it can be very rewarding. Contact KA1MQ, the net manager, for more information and read our tutorial 'On Being A Net Control Operator'.

ECARS serves the community in other ways, too. While we provide our service to anyone who checks in, many choose to become members of ECARS and the dues are very modest. After our few expenses are covered to maintain the website, the largest use of the funds collected from dues is used to provide grants and scholarships to worthwhile groups and individuals, and we have contributed thousands of dollars to various worthy causes ranging from helping to provide radios in hurricane relief, funding outreach efforts aimed at encouraging young people in the hobby, and providing educational scholarships. Still, this is a service that is frankly underutilized. If you know of a group that meets the guidelines on the Grants page, encourage a representative to fill out the on-line form to apply for a grant.

ECARS has changed a lot in the last 20 years. When I first became a member the dues were quite a bit higher, but that was because ECARS issued a quarterly printed newsletter that was mailed to every member, and the printing and postage costs were most of the budget. That aspect has waned, as it has for much of the print media these days, but we still try to keep communication going with the membership through the website. We always appreciate hams who take a moment to send some pictures or even write up a short article, so if you have something you can share, please contact Bill, WX2DX, the webmaster. His email can be reached by just clicking on his name at the bottom of the home page. We also have members who volunteer to man a table at various hamfests to enable members to get a chance to meet each other face to face. We have table banners available that can be loaned out if you are going to a hamfest, so contact Jim, KA1MQ, if you need one. We've been expanding on meeting at the Hamvention in Xenia and will have a table in Building 5, as well.

Finally, I would like to know what other things members would be interested in. What else would you like to see ECARS doing? If you have any thoughts please feel free to contact me directly. You can reach me at and I look forward to hearing from you.