Group FAQ

Why do you refer to SCICSG as a group rather than a club?

In many circles, the term club has negative connotations in reference to amateur radio organizations.

All too often, amateur radio clubs are mired down in politics and traditions that date back decades.

How is SCICSG different than clubs?

We like to think that SCICSG is an outward thinking group. We try to think of what our group can do to serve our communities, our fellow hams, other ham radio groups and areas where ham radio groups don’t already exist.

We do this in different ways. We try to stay connected with clubs and other organizations throughout the area and beyond in order to maintain a good working relationship, so that, in the event that one of these organizations encounters a challenge which they need help with overcoming, they know that they can approach us with that need. We also utilize data from such agencies as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), US Census Bureau, Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), perform analysis on that data and compile this into reports which assist us in determining which areas may be in need of help in establishing or developing an amateur radio presence.

In contrast, many clubs (but definitely not all) tend to be inward thinking. They are often focused on the individual member’s enjoyment of amateur radio and less focused on service to the community or working with other organizations. We like to think that we meet to operate our radios together with activities (fox hunts, contests, builds etc) and not meet to talk about how we enjoy our hobby separately.

Therefore, almost all group business is done by the executive committee, except in cases where we think a group consensus helps decide (like dues) or provide feedback. This gives us time in our meeting to freely discuss Amateur Radio and remove the constraint of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Both types of organizations have their places. Many of our members actually hold membership in one or more amateur radio clubs in addition to their SCICSG membership.

How do I join SCICSG?

First, we’d like you to come to a few gatherings and make sure that SCICSG is right for you.

We do operate in a different way than many other amateur radio organizations and we admit that it isn’t right for everyone.

After you have attended a few gatherings, and if you feel it is right for you, you can ask to join (usually we ask you) but please be aware, we require more of our members than our visitors.

Membership is NOT required to attend our gatherings. You are more than welcome to attend as many as you like and never pay dues to join.

How much are the yearly dues and when do they need to be paid?

SCICSG’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30, so yearly dues for current members are due during July of each year.

New members may join at any time throughout the year and their dues will be prorated based on the month in which they are paid.

The cost of dues is revisited each year starting in May or June. They are based on expected financial needs and the number of current members. This can vary widely because of our varied interests. For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, because of added projects, dues were set at $50.00. The dues for the 2018-2019 year were lowered to a more reasonable $25, where they remain today..

What are the benefits of membership in SCICSG?

First, you receive voting rights in the event that the group has a decision come up for a vote. Everyone’s vote carries just as much weight as everyone else’s. Everyone’s ideas are just as valuable as the next person’s.

Why is this so important? Because it means that, during the course of a gathering where discussion is taking place on a particular matter,  if a member feels that the group is headed in the wrong direction or otherwise making a bad decision, s/he can speak up and cause the group to re-evaluate the group’s position. As every dues paying member has this power, it is set up as a way to keep any one person or group of people from dominating decisions.

For example, if the group is discussing Field Day plans for the year and the group is being steered in the direction of using the same location as years past, “because that’s how we always do it”, any member can offer a different idea and cause the group to actually discuss alternatives and eliminate the other alternatives for reasons other than, “we’ve never done that before.” This helps to keep the group from getting into a rut of doing the same things in the same way every year.

How can I get involved with SCICSG, beyond paying my dues and attending gatherings?

Our team boasts an active VE testing team, which offers regularly scheduled VE test sessions. These VE sessions are offered free of charge for anyone who wants to take the test to get their license or upgrade. For this reason, we encourage all of our members to upgrade at least to General, but preferably to Extra and then to join the VE team.

If you have a gift for teaching, we also encourage you to get involved teaching new ham (Technician) classes. We do our best to hold at least one class per year, but are often limited by available teaching resources.

During the fourth full weekend in June, SCICSG members participate in Amateur Radio Field Day. The operation generally runs throughout the night, with the setup starting around 9:00 am on Saturday, on-air operating begins at 2:00 pm on Saturday and often continues until 2:00 pm on Sunday. This acts as an excellent opportunity to increase amateur radio’s visibility to the public, build fellowship among our members and other hams who attend and to practice our setup and operations as we may be required to in the case of a disaster or other emergency.

If you are a computer programmer, we also have released our own open source Field Day logging software that we use. It is called FDLog_Enhanced. It is written in Python. If you are not a programmer, beta testing and feedback are also encouraged. We also have this web page!

In the past, we have been approached by other organizations for assistance. We have taught Technician classes in Indianapolis and at Camp Atterbury, we’ve done PowerPoint presentations at the county library to give the public more information about amateur radio and how it has changed over the years and we have done an outdoor amateur radio demonstration for the local council of the Boy Scouts.

In short, if you have the time, we will find a way to get you involved. Or perhaps YOU might have a great new idea to share with us!