I have been a long-time member of TAPR who let my membership lapse earlier this year. It hasn’t been a packet radio organization for quite some time and I began questioning a couple of years ago if I would continue membership. To be honest, I can’t even explain what the mission of the organization is anymore making it easier to let my membership lapse.

Here’s the current description from their web site:

TAPR is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of amateur radio (“ham”) operators who are interested in advancing the state of the radio art. The initials stand for “Tucson Amateur Packet Radio” but today the organization is much broader than that: we long ago became an international organization, and while we still support packet radio our areas of interest have expanded to include software defined radio, advanced digital modulation methods, and precise time and frequency measurement.

Kind of a word salad if you ask me. We all have an interest in advancing the state of the art. And one might ask if an organization is even required to explore the world of software defined radio? You see my reticence at sending money to support this rather nebulous mission. So what caused me to change my mind and renew my membership?

This part of their own description convinced me:

TAPR’s main activities are education and knowledge sharing through conferences, publications, and Internet resources; and research, development, and sales of unique products that assist amateurs and other experimenters.

My experience with the annual Digital Communications Conference (DCC) has been good. The compilation of papers authored by smart people has been invaluable to the hobby and I’m voting with my checkbook that this is worthwhile and should continue, despite persistent rumors that there may be no DCC this year.