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Frequently asked questions for clubs and club members

Is it possible for a club to have mostly public content while reserving some info, such as member contact info, for logged in club members only?

Yes and no. In fact there are two ways of accomplishing this.

I'll start with the no part. There is no way to have both a private and a public set of conversations simultaneously in a club. The reason for this is that club permissions are managed by the type of club that the club owner has opted to create. There are five of these types of clubs, as follows.

Public 
Everyone can see the club and its posts, and can participate without joining.

Open 
Everyone can see the club and its posts, but only members can participate. Everyone can join.

Reserved 
Everyone can see the club and who's in it, but only members can see posts and participate. Users need to ask a leader to join.

Private 
Only members can find the club and see its posts. Users need to be invited by a leader to join.

Read Only 
Everyone can see the club and its posts, but only members can participate. Users need to be invited by a leader to join.

Most clubs opt for the Reserved type which means that people can see that there is a club, they can see the members, but they cannot actively see or participate in content without being members. If one chose, one could create an Open club in which case non-members could see all the content but not participate. And then there is the more drastic option, one that we do not allow for chartered clubs, and that is one in which everything is open. As you can see, there are two other types, Private and Read Only.

Now for some reasoning. The idea behind Ham Community is to encourage both private conversations among club members, but also the opportunity to converse with the broader amateur radio community. As such, a club member who wishes to start or engage in a more open conversation, would simply post the topic in the general community. This paradigm encourages closed discussions within the club and open discussions with the community at large.

How much does it cost for a club to join and use Ham Community?

Amateur radio clubs use Ham Community for FREE! FOREVER!

Why? How?

To be transparent, the Ham Community business model does not depend on membership dues. Our goal is not to charge clubs or members. Quite the contrary, we benefit from a large number of happy and engaged members.

This said, there are occasional services for which Ham Community will charge clubs a minimum fee to cover transactions. For instance, clubs who use our payment system to charge their own members' dues, are charged a minimal percentage to cover PayPal transaction fees. This is not a profit-driven charge, we just want to cover our own costs.

Future, optional, specialized software tools may also be offered for a fee. Again, these would be very specialized tools that in no way affect the fundamental running of the club.

We insist on repeating that our community grows only if our individual and club members are satisfied with the platform and can enjoy it free of charge.

Is Ham Community a replacement for a club website?

It can be, or not. Personally, we believe that Ham Community is the perfect HAM club environment. It provides all the key features needed to manage a club. There is a nets calendar, there are blogs for leadership, there are discussion forums, club moderators can send out newsletters, there are even member image galleries to post Field Day photos, meeting photos or other. There is also a downloads section where clubs can keep their important files such as the club constitution, or meeting minutes, for members to download freely.

This said, clubs are welcome to have their own website and use Ham Community as their community building tool.

Note that clubs can keep their own domain name (url) and simply 'point it' to their personal Ham Community space.

Does Ham Community allow the club to manage its members? Can it be used to charge membership dues?

In addition to the many tools available to clubs (blogs, image galleries, discussion forums, etc.) Ham Community also offers the ability to manage club membership and dues collections. This is absolutely not a condition for clubs to join Ham Community. We do not even encourage clubs to use Ham Community to charge their membership dues. However, should they want to, they can.

Dues are collected using Paypal. Ham Community charges a minor fee to cover Paypal transaction costs only.

The advantage of using Ham Community to charge dues and manage membership is that it centralizes all club activity in one place.


Frequently asked questions by new community members

Who is Ham Community for, and why was it created?

Ham Community was built by amateur radio operators for amateur radio operators, clubs, associations, manufacturers, resellers, and service providers. We were looking for a place where conversation, camaraderie, and collaboration stood above all else. Sure, we should have gear reviews, a links directory, even a calendar, but above all, Ham Community had to be for us.

It also had to be a place where entry level to advanced HAMs could converse with experts and elmers. Ham Community strives to offer direct dialogue with these experts. Our goal is to provide entry level to advanced HAMs with a place to get advice from validated and recognized experts and elmers. 

Ham Community is not a club or association. In fact, Ham Community actually serves clubs. Our mission includes offering clubs the best possible tools, all for free. Basically, each participating amateur radio club gets their own blogs, forums, calendars, photo galleries, and – if they choose to – a tool to charge their membership dues, or even the ability to sell fundraising items.

Ham Community is also the creator of Ham Census (https://hamcensus.org) and Ham Volunteers (https://hamvolunteers.org).

Going forward, Ham Community will grow using feedback from its members, that is, after all, what a community is all about.

We hope that you will join us! If you already have, great to have you on board!

Does Ham Community have a strict privacy policy?

We absolutely do. As amateur radio operators we are keenly aware of the public nature of our hobby, anyone can listen in on a QSO and our FCC data is public record. But that is no reason that any content on this Community should be unsecure, quite the contrary. We aggressively defend what little information we keep and we never, as you will see in our privacy policy, sell or even share any data. That is simply not our model, period.

We invite you to read through our comprehensive privacy policy. It'll take you a few minutes but it's well worth it.

Can I contribute to Ham Community?

We could use your help

Ham Community depends on goodwill. We need people to do a variety of tasks, especially in these early days.

Here is a tentative list of how you could help us become better:

We need help populating our Links Directory by seeking out websites that fit into our categories. Then post those links. They will appear pending moderation. You can apply to volunteer here: https://hamcommunity.com/staffapplications/application/3-link-directory-contributing-editors/

We need to populate our Calendar with both hamfests and contests. There are multiple sources, including clubs directly. We will share our vision on how to best do this.

We need help to insert items for review in our Gear Reviews section. You can apply to volunteer here: https://hamcommunity.com/staffapplications/application/2-gear-reviews-contributing-editors/

And there is more. The bottom line is that we are a community by HAMs for HAMs so to succeed we need HAM involvement. To connect with us, simply make a request on our Support Desk.

Thank you!

Does Ham Community have guidelines or can I post whatever I want?

Ham Community has a strict set of guidelines posted separately on our Guidelines page (see link below). We encourage all our members to read these guidelines. Failure to comply with them could result in removal of content or revocation of membership.

https://hamcommunity.com/guidelines/


Frequently asked questions by those hoping to become hams

What is amateur radio and why should you get involved?

Remember playing with walkie talkies when you were a child? Amateur radio, also known as HAM radio, is an extension of those walkie talkies. The difference is that we can now use radios to talk much further and to talk in different ways. We can talk using our voice, but also morse code, we can chat via keyboard, we can send images and television-like transmissions, we can even send emails, via the airwaves, thousands of miles away.

Some have called us the last person standing. If all else fails, if the cell network falls and the internet crashes, we will still be able to communicate. That is pretty much true, but amateur radio is so much more. It is also a way to just chat, or 'ragchew' with people across the ocean. Talking about the ocean, many sailors use amateur radio to keep in touch with friends and family while far at sea. Amateur radio is also used as a public service. Next time you run a marathon, if you see people with radios and yellow vests, they may very well be amateur radio operators acting as the event's communications team. You may also run into amateur radio operators during emergencies. Even federal agencies, such as FEMA, use amateur radio operators to deliver specialized communications services that are less suited to their own capabilities.

But why do we really do it? Aren't there cell phones? Think of cell phones as a date, two people, maybe three or four, out at a restaurant. They're great for talking to someone specific. Instead, amateur radio is more like a really big meeting, a really big one. In fact, imagine a meeting with a few million people, all listening for your call. Basically, ham radio allows you to call out, we call it CQ, over the airwaves. Depending on the 'mode' or 'band' you use, you might be able to talk to people as close as your neighborhood or as far away as around the world. You might be talking to a king (King Hussein of Jordan was a famous amateur radio operator), to an astronaut (astronauts on the ISS have their ham radio license and operate a radio; they regularly talk with amateur radio operators on the surface), or you might be talking to a farmer in the middle of Iowa who would love to hear about your HAM setup in northern Quebec, Norway, Tasmania or wherever you may be.

Amateur radio is also a tinkerer's dream come true. Putting together an amateur radio 'station' is fun. It combines modern electronics with good old 'building stuff'. HAMs put up antennas, build portable operating boxes, some even outfit entire vans as mobile operating stations. There is no shortage of things to build, connect or otherwise put together.

Lastly, and very importantly, amateur radio is a hobby that will introduce you to many friends. HAMs make friends, lots of them. Though we usually talk 'over the air' with people we will never meet, we regularly meet with those that live nearby. Amateur radio clubs are, without a doubt, among the most welcoming social spaces you will ever encounter.

We hope that this community will expose you to the many aspects of amateur radio and facilitate your conversation, camaraderie, and collaboration with fellow hams.

How many classes of amateur radio exist in the United States?

Most new amateur radio operators start at the Technician Class and then may advance to the General Class or Amateur Extra Class. The Volunteer Examiners (VEs) give examination credit for the license class currently held so that examinations required for that license class need not be repeated. The VEs prepare the written examinations from question pools that have been made public. Helpful study guides and training courses are widely available.

Technician

The privileges of a Technician Class operator license include operating an amateur station that may transmit on channels in any of 17 frequency bands above 50 MHz with up to 1,500 watts of power. To pass the Technician Class examination, at least 26 questions from a 35 question written examination must be answered correctly. Technician Class licensees also have privileges in four amateur service bands in the HF range (3-30 MHz) (Refer to Section 97.301(e)).

General

The General Class operator license authorizes privileges in all 29 amateur service bands. Upon accreditation by a Volunteer-Examiner Coordinator (VEC), an individual can help administer certain examinations. In addition to the above written examination, the requirement for a General Class operator license includes a 35 question written examination for which 26 correctly answered questions is the minimum passing score.

Amateur Extra

The privileges of an Amateur Extra Class operator license include additional spectrum in the HF bands. In addition to the two above written examinations, the requirement for an Amateur Extra Class operator license includes answering correctly at least 37 questions on a 50 question written examination.


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