An open letter to radio amateurs from Don KB8VEA

Hello fellow Americans, Western Michiganders and Amateur Radio operators.

I wish to thank each and everyone of those who keep the W8LRC repeater system up and running in a refined, pristine condition. I wish to be a supporter of this great system so I’m sending a check for $30.00 for yearly membership in the Lowell Amateur Radio Club now, but more will be coming, Lord willing. In addition to becoming a supporting LARC member, I want to express my great appreciation for the volunteer work and time that a small number of individuals putin for me and other hams to have use of the best repeater system in the State of Michigan!

I’m not an expert at this, but I’d like to get the word out to everyone that use of the W8LRC repeater system is a privilege and not a right! How does one make this plea in order to remind everyone what a fantastic system we have use of without stepping on toes? I’ll give it my best shot! For all who use the repeater, how many people actually become club members or make any contribution to the Lowell Amateur Radio Club? Not enough! Considering the coverage footprint from Kalamazoo to Big Rapids and Holland to St. Johns, how many people use this repeater daily as a hobby and derive enjoyment in their travels to and from work or in their homes to keep in touch with each other are willing to support it? I know I do. How about you? How many people know what it takes to keep this repeater system running? Not enough! How many people take the time to remind themselves that this just doesn’t happen like magic? Not enough! I’m asking you to please take this seriously. What would you do if we didn’t have this repeater system? We watch our pocket books and think twice about spending hard earned money. A $30 yearly LARC membership translates to 8.2 cents per day! Is use of the W8LRC repeater system worth that small amount of money to you?

It becomes a delicate task to remind repeater users that it takes money to pay repeater bills! Costs are not just for the main repeater, but also for the 5 satellite receive sites which allow for the wide footprint that they have maintained and we’re so proud of. Consider expenses for electricity, internet, equipment repair and maintenance, site and tower rental just to mention a few. There are more expenses than just the electricity. LARC also rents space for a Radio Room where equipment is available for members to try new modes before venturing on to purchase of equipment. Along with the Radio Room, LARC also provides testing for new and upgrading hams free of charge multiple times per year. More licensed hams translates to more potential members and stronger support of the system!

I haven’t written a letter like this before and hope that it’s the best platform for me to express my appreciation and passion for support of the W8LRC system! It is my hope that you will join me in supporting the W8LRC system as well. $30 per year (8.2 cents per day) is probably the best deal we will get on anything these days considering all that we get in return!

Thank you