When anyone first gets into a new hobby, they have questions, lots of questions. Some of the answers can be found in books or online, but like any hobby, ham radio has a lingo all its own. For the newcomer, the lingo can be very intimidating. Being in a club allows one to absorb some of the language just by hearing it in context. Most hams are only too happy to explain it to someone else as well.
Where the question of equipment is concerned, the choices are overwhelming. Club members can make sense of the choices and help you make sense of the best equipment for your situation. People live in different kinds of communities and have different restrictions on what they can put up for antennas. Within the home, the space available for Amateur Radio might be a whole room, or it might be just a little space on a desk somewhere. Spouses also have different ideas on what and where they will be happy with radios in the house or the car. Since family always must come first, the advice of more experienced operators can be invaluable in getting Amateur Radio and you own personal zoning board to happily coexist.
Another area where belonging to a club brings benefits is in the area of what is called "the big project." If there is a need for a tower to be erected, or some other large job, club members can be counted on to band together to get it done, whether for the club as a group, or for the benefit of an individual member. Just remember to reciprocate on the next "big project" for someone else.
Old Barney and its members offer all this and more!
We can be found on the list of ARRL affiliated clubs on the ARRL Website. ARRL affiliation means that the club is part of a bigger nationwide group of amateur operators, all with common goals.
The ARRL is Amateur Radio's most important representative to the FCC and to the world. They protect our spectrum from encroachment by vested interests and speak for us to the government. They also do much more! Just a few of the benefits are: affordable insurance on your radio equipment, awards, e-mail forwarding, license renewal, technical information and regulatory information.
We recommend you also join the ARRL. The services provided to members and the publications they put out are a cornerstone of the hobby. You will find The ARRL Handbook (as just one example) on the bookshelf of almost every professional electronics engineer in the world. The cost is only $49 per year and no better bargain is to be had anywhere.