Are you an experienced radio amateur but are reluctant to join the RAOTC because you consider that you are too young to be called an Old Timer? If so, perhaps you should read this page, written by Ian Godsil VK3JS and published in the August 2011 issue of Amateur Radio magazine.
G'day Old Timer! What's in a name - plenty or nothing?
All through the ages people have coined nicknames for other people and things. Sometimes they are quite descriptive names, sometimes, just nonsense. What is an `oozit'? Who is `what'shisname'? What is a `thingamajig'? There are many much later names which older people may have never heard.
Names have always been important, for without one we and all objects have no definition and no status. How would you define a cat, or a dog, or a desk if you had no reference point in your language for such objects?
It is the same with people. Our parents gave us a name - Bill, Don, Betty and so on - by which we became established members of society. Sometimes those people will be given different names, for example Digger, Shorty, Macca or names in keeping with their positions or jobs, for example Gopher, Boss, Sparky, and Mr Fixit.
The term ‘Old Timer’ could easily conjure up an image of a member of a past generation or someone involved in the early history of Australia. ‘Old Timer’ in general usage is a friendly appellation not unlike ‘Mate' but with reference to someone who is experienced and has been around for a while.
In our hobby of amateur radio, the term ‘Old Timer’ is a term of respect for one's ability and years of service. It has nothing to do with age.
If you have been licensed for 25 years or more, you earn the name ‘Old Timer' because of your years in the hobby. You may not have been very active and you may not be very old, but you have held the licence for 25 or more years and gained some experience in that time.
The Radio Amateurs Old Timers Club of Australia Inc (RAOTC) adopts the criterion of being licensed for 25 years as its entry point for Full Membership of the club. It does not imply that one must be of vast age, just licensed a long time. Often when amateurs, even septuagenarians, are invited to join the RAOTC their first response is, "Oh, I'm too young for that!" It is entirely possible that there are many forty-year-olds who qualify for full membership.
The RAOTC is always happy to welcome new members and, if you have been licensed, or qualified to hold an amateur licence for 25 years or more, then you are invited to join us. There is also an Associate membership for those who have been licensed between 10 and 25 years.
The club focuses on historical aspects of the use of radio over the century or more since it all began. In particular we want to record the personal histories of Australian radio amateurs and their involvement in the history of radio. This does not mean to say that there is no interest in present developments as today's research becomes tomorrow's history. We do like to record, and remember, the work and progress that has helped us all to enjoy the hobby of amateur radio.
The club magazine Old Timers' News (OTN) is published twice per year and is one of the best club magazines anywhere in amateur radio. In keeping with its historical bent it is not a coloured glossy but a professional quality black and white journal printed on good quality paper with feature packed articles. OTN is most ably edited and published by Bill Roper VK3BR who is well-known to many older radio amateurs around Australia.
In addition to the magazine, the RAOTC conducts monthly news and information broadcasts throughout Australia on a multitude of frequencies, holds regular luncheons and also has an annual old-rigs-on-air activity.Why not give it a go Old Timer? Membership fees are quite low.