Volunteer Ham (VHAM)
Radio Operator List
A list of Volunteer Ham Radio Operator Events


Updated: 09-Dec-19 08:01:18 PM

To subscribe to the VHAM email list or to have your entry added to the VHAM list, please see

Additional Information: Submission information

Some additional thoughts/comments on volunteering:

Adventures In Volunteering: Some thoughts on the volunteer processs

Some of the entries have been submitted, others are events that I am aware of. Therefore, officially this list is unofficial.

The purpose of this web page is to make it easier for HAMs and those who need volunteer HAM radio operators for their events. Below is a list of the VHAM events and an index based on the location.
All HAMs are required to conform to all Federal, State and Local laws and regulations.

A file with the latest list of VHAMs is available in: http://www.my1email.com/vham/vham.html



Adventures In Volunteering

Due to the experiences of others and myself, I decide to create this web page to discuss some of the aspects of volunteering for events. While this is more specifically for events involving HAM radio operators, the concepts apply to many other events as well. Some of the events listed on this web site are ones in which I would never volunteer for again. Others are those which treat volunteers really well. Some other events I have never volunteered for, so I have no idea of how they are run. I don't want this list to get political, so I am listing them all.

Here is a good article for volunteers to read:

Seven Tips: How to be a Volunteer that Leaders Love by David Coursey, N5FDL

You are responsible for your own safety and experiences.

  • Be honest
  • Be accurate
  • Treat your volunteers with respect
  • Listen to the volunteers (this does not always mean changing anything)
  • Provide the information that volunteers need in a timely manner
  • Do NOT transmit personal information over the radio, including the names of participants

    Quite a few years ago I took a property management seminar from David Tilney. He had a bit of advice who those who were considering becoming a landlord (well, actually there was a lot of advice and useful information, but this applies across the board). The advice was to set expectations as low as possible, but then exceed those expectations. If you tell someone you are going to do a lot for them, they may expect far more than you ever suspect. This can cause them to be unhappy, even if you are doing a lot. If you tell them that you are going to do nothing for them and then you do something, they will be surprised and happy.

    How does this relate to HAM radio volunteers? Well, one event that I volunteered for made all sorts of claims of what they were going to do for the volunteers. Unfortunately, the main person in charge was a liar and could not or would make good on the promises, such as providing water, "personalized" food, the location of where people needed to be, etc. One example was that the volunteers were told that they would get a meal, which was a spaghetti fundraiser for a local volunteer fire department. Only part of the money was given and after the event I was told that she could not help it if the price went up at the last minute. Unfortunately for this person I did some checking and found out that the price had been the same for around 20 years. We were also told that we would get access to an evening event, which turned out to be a complete lie as the entry passes were limited and already reserved. Needless to say, I will NEVER do an event where this person is in charge.

    In sharp contrast, another event I volunteered at provided all the information that a volunteer could ask for (and more). I had very little expectations about the event, other than the basics. This event turned out to be one of the best run and also one in which the volunteers were treated very well and with respect. Another event it was made very clear how things would be, which was that you only were going to get a tshirt, no food and requests for additional supplies for the various locations would most likely not get filled. It was still a very good event to volunteer at and the expectations were met and one that I will continue to volunteer for.

    Another issue that I have seen is a lack of respect for the volunteers, but in a different way than was mentioned above, although as it turns out that both people involved are liars. In this case it is treating volunteers like they are soldiers with no say in anything and are personally attacked if they ask questions and raise issues. I have volunteered at quite a few events, so I have learned many ways of doing things. I freely admit that these are not my own ideas, but are from others with many years of experience.

    At an event that I was going to volunteer at, there were several issues related to the safety of the event participants. Issues:

  • Warn the runners that if they did not check out at an aid station that they would be responsible for all search and rescue costs
  • Track each runner as they go through the stations rather than just the last time
  • Have a HAM radio operator at the station before the race starts (which turned out to be a requirement)

    Clearly, a reasonable person would understand these issues and make changes, but each time I raised these issues (in person) to the person in charge of HAM communications, I was rudely told to follow the plan. It seemed that the "plan" was set in stone. I brought an issue to the station captain, who brought it to an assistant race organizer, and I brought it to the race director. All, except for the person in charge of HAM communications, thought that the change was a good idea. Unfortunately, the race director changed his mind and decided to let this HAM person go with his flawed plan, most likely due to the fear that this person would quit. It could also be because the HAM person lied about the plan, including a false claim that there would be a Ventura County Search and Rescue person at the station with a HAM radio.

    As it turns out, the runners were not tracked at all through the station as the station did not have the list of participants. The assigned HAM radio operators did not arrive (with the participant list) until AFTER many runners went through the station for the last time. Early on, there were two runners missing. At the end of the race, one runner was missing. When they were searching that runner, they thought that they found the runner, but it turned out that runner left the course and NO ONE knew it. In the end, all were accounted for, but clearly this is NOT the way to operate.
    Having a person in charge who refuses to listen to suggestions, due to either his ego or because this person had spent around 30 years in the military and thought that he could treat others as recruits and abuse them with baseless personal attacks. These types of people can make volunteering a bad experience, but overall there are more good people than bad, so you want to keep an eye out for people like this and avoid working those events.

    While it is important for volunteers to do their jobs, it should be acceptable for volunteers to raise safety issues and have those issues properly addressed, rather than ignored with "follow the plan" responses. When you see small events having a hard time getting volunteers, this could be sign of serious issues with the organizers. Volunteers are a resource that should be appreciated, not abused.

    To send me a message:

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