Rotary and Ham Radio

ROAR FlagI spent most of the last week at the Rotary International (RI) 2008 convention. Rotary International is a service organization with over 1.2 million members who belong to more than 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries around the world. I am very proud of of being a part of this group.

The parallels between Rotary and amateur radio are pretty clear. Just as men and women around the world are amateur radio operators, so too are they Rotarians. Another parallel is the emphasis on promoting international good will. Both promote a respect for people who come from cultures other than one’s own and who live in countries other than one’s own.

Rotary has a group of “mini clubs” called International Fellowships (IFs). IFs are formed around a particular interest, such as bird watching or motorcycling. There is, of course, an IF for amateur radio. It’s called IF-ROAR, short for International Fellowship for Rotarians on Amateur Radio. IF-ROAR has more than 500 members, all of whom are Rotary Club members.

At the RI convention, ROAR conducted their annual meeting, which I had the good fortune to attend. This is how I acquired the ROAR-Japan flag pictured above. The Japanese contingent brought a flag for each of the attendees. Exchanging banners such as these is a time-honored Rotary tradition, and I would like to that the ROAR-Japan members for being so thoughtful.

Rotary also has a tradition of clubs in different countries partnering on international projects. I’m thinking that I might be able to work through IF-ROAR to get my brother clubs idea off the ground. Stay tuned.

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