One of your first steps as a new ham will be to check out some of the general-purpose clubs in your area so that you can meet other hams and start to get familiar with all the hobby has to offer. Being active in a general purpose club or two may be all you need to satisfy your need to be connected to others who enjoy Ham Radio. However, there are other ham radio organizations and specific purpose clubs that you can check out depending on what area of the hobby you may like to focus.
Emergency Communications. A significant number of new hams get invovled in the hobby to pursue the many opportunities it provides to assist in times of local, regional, and national emergencies. There are several flavors of these organizations and it can be confusing. Some of the main Emergency Communications organizations are listed below. Click Here for links and a list of contacts for emergency communications organizations in the KC Metro.
ARES. In the discussions that followed World War II, hams were interested in getting two points across: First, that Amateur Radio had a potential for and capability of playing a major role in civil defense; and second, that our participation should be in our own name, as an Amateur Radio Service, even if and after war should break out. These principles were included into the planning by the formulation of regulations creating a new branch of the amateur service, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, ARES organizations are county-specific and they exist in nearly every county in the KC Metro area. ARES groups focus on training and helping their members to be prepared and able to assist with communications services in the event of an emergency.
RACES. RACES members generally share much of the same skill set as ARES members, but are dedicated and authorized by local, county, and state emergency management organizations. RACES members have a specific mission to support those governmental entities in times of emergency and are supported and governed at the national level by FEMA. Becuase they have a specific mission related to the government organization or agency they serve, RACES groups may have unique and additional training requirements compared to ARES.
SATERN. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network is yet another emergency communications group with a specific mission - to support the Salvation Army when they are deployed to disasters or emergencies. In the KC metro area, there is one SATERN organization for Kansas and Western Missouri, as that corresponds with the territory of the local Salvation Army Emergency and Disaster Services organization.
If your interest is in Emergency Communications, you may want to plan on joining more than one EC Organization. Multiple memberships in these organizations is common and encouraged
Other Organizations. If Emergency Communications isn't your primary interest, or if you have other secondary interests, chances are good there is a specific-purpose club in the KC Metro that matches up with your interest. There are active clubs in the area for people interested thing like building antennas, amateur television, contesting, DX operation, and for blind operators. Click Here to see full list of clubs in the area and ask around when you go to club meetings. Whatever your interests, there are sure to be other hams in the area that share your passion.