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Author Topic: FCC License Counts  (Read 243062 times)
N2EY
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Posts: 3925




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« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2011, 05:50:48 AM »

Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on July 21, 2011 was:

Novice:            14,998    (2.1%)
Technician      341,403  (48.8%)
Technician Plus         0    (0.0%)
General          159,433  (22.8%)
Advanced         58,510    (8.4%)
Extra              125,071  (17.9%)

Total              699,415

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
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« Reply #61 on: August 02, 2011, 07:11:08 PM »

Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on August 1, 2011 was:

Novice:            14,951    (2.1%)
Technician      341,276  (48.8%)
Technician Plus         0    (0.0%)
General          159,435  (22.8%)
Advanced         58,443    (8.4%)
Extra              125,133  (17.9%)

Total              699,238

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB1SF
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« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2011, 07:42:23 AM »

Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

Total              699,238

73 de Jim, N2EY


As opposed to 699,425 last month, 699,118 the month before that and 699,049 the month before that.  

"Solid, steady growth"?   NOT!

Perhaps the coming downturn that those who know about such things and have long predicted (as opposed to those who keep myopically harping that "we just keep on growing") has now begun.

Indeed, it will be interesting to see just how much our rate of growth has slacked off this year (2011) as compared to last year (2010) and the year before that (2009).

According to the latest published reports by the ARRL VEC, the largest influx of new hams in the United States in recent memory occurred back in 2009.  However, our rate of growth in the United States since that time has started to once again go negative.  And God only knows how many more of us still have licenses but haven't transmitted on the ham bands in a dog's age!

Indeed, if all we are now attracting are aging "oldsters" (again, according to the ARRL VEC, the average age of newcomers to our Service are predominantly 40 and 50 year-olds) ..it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, sooner or later we are eventually going to run out of  people in that demographic to replenish those of us who are now dying in ever-increasing numbers.  

Unfortunately, that's exactly what the ARRL's "newly licensed ham" demographics seem to now indicate.  The "pent up demand" for new licenses now that the Morse testing nonsense has gone away has largely cleared and our "newly licensed ham" numbers are, once again, on their way back down again.  

If that trend continues, at some point, the number of users in our Service will become so small that we will be unable to justify our continued access to our frequencies.  And once we loose access to our frequencies for lack of use, all these silly arguments over whether (or not) we should be tested for Morse or that only those who construct their equipment from scratch are "real hams" will all become quite moot.

By then, I predict our precious frequencies will have been taken away from us and given over to someone else.  And, without access to our frequencies, our hobby dies.

Now, I certainly hope I'm dead wrong in all of these predictions.  

However, unless these trends quickly reverse themselves and we start attracting (and keeping) far greater numbers of youthful newcomers to replace those of us who are now aging and dying in ever-increasing numbers, my fear is that my predictions are probably going to be proven right.

However, only time will tell.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 07:34:00 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3925




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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2011, 01:04:51 PM »

Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on August 24, 2011 was:

Novice:            14,904    (2.1%)
Technician      341,318  (48.8%)
Technician Plus         0    (0.0%)
General          159,539  (22.8%)
Advanced         58,364    (8.3%)
Extra              125,369  (17.9%)

Total              699,494

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AA4HA
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« Reply #64 on: August 26, 2011, 06:00:43 AM »

Indeed, if all we are now attracting are aging "oldsters" (again, according to the ARRL VEC, the average age of newcomers to our Service are predominantly 40 and 50 year-olds) ..it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, sooner or later we are eventually going to run out of  people in that demographic to replenish those of us who are now dying in ever-increasing numbers.  
How are we going to run out of the 40 and 50 year old demographic? That number is constantly being refreshed by an influx of people who are currently in the 30 year old demographic today.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what the ARRL's "newly licensed ham" demographics seem to now indicate.  The "pent up demand" for new licenses now that the Morse testing nonsense has gone away has largely cleared and our "newly licensed ham" numbers are, once again, on their way back down again.
Untrue, if this was the case then you would see decreasing numbers of folks who are earning their technician license in decline. The drop in numbers is primarily in novice and advanced class licensees.

If that trend continues, at some point, the number of users in our Service will become so small that we will be unable to justify our continued access to our frequencies.
You cannot look at just a few data points and make a trend out of that. "That way leads to insanity" and is similar to the unbridled optimism or doom and gloom predictions of folks who watch the hourly report on the stock market to make long term forecasts.

By then, I predict our precious frequencies will have been taken away from us and given over to someone else.  And, without access to our frequencies, our hobby dies.
Underutilized bandwidth "should" be recycled to other services. Look at how we have done such a great job with the 1.25 meter band. The 33 cm band is saturated with ISM operations and is pretty much useless. "Use it or lose it". Right now it is all about "whitespace", a few years ago it was about BPL.

However, unless these trends quickly reverse themselves and we start attracting (and keeping) far greater numbers of youthful newcomers to replace those of us who are now aging and dying in ever-increasing numbers, my fear is that my predictions are probably going to be proven right.
If even 1/4th of the amateur operators out there found one person a year who they decided to mentor/elmer you would see our numbers dramatically jump up. There is a lack of leadership from the ARRL and clubs and most of the amateurs who are older and are retired with spare time do not make any effort to recruit a younger audience.

The only recruiting I have seen is from amateurs who want to bring in people of their own demographic.

Want to do something completely radical? Someone should write a course syllabus that can be taught in community colleges on amateur radio. Successful completion of the course would include testing for the technician and general class license. There is precedence as there are other certificated programs (nursing, EMT, CNA/CNE) where course completion concludes in certification testing. Let the ARRL come up with a comprehensive course to include more than just memorizing the question and answer pool and goes into all of the aspects of amateur radio operation from operating practices, the law, technology, homebrewing, theory, etc... Do not make it into another EMCOMM program (just tiring and attracts only a certain crowd). Let community college students earn a credit or two for the course. Use qualified amateur radio operators and educators "team teach" the classes.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 06:02:39 AM by AA4HA » Logged

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
WA1NUI
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #65 on: August 31, 2011, 07:51:05 PM »

interesting thread.  i used to hear the same talk years ago about restructuring, etc.  and years ago (before my time) there were similar discussions regarding eliminating the old Class A license and making those folks Advanced Class holders.  ditto the discussions about how to bring in young people into the hobby.  of course, back then, we didn't have internet, etc. - i was a big SWL'er too, but nowadays, with internet radio, i just don't see a need for it.  sure, heaven forbid hurricane irene would have totally knocked out all our communications systems (though it wouldn't have affected satellites, i guess), but even then, that end of things really didn't attract me to the hobby.  probably it was just a fun thing to do as a nerdy young kid - travelling vicariously and dx'ing with my beat up old heathkit dx-40 and blowing power tubes right and left because i didn't know what the heck i was doing Smiley   but i digress ...

i think a lot of folks are qrt simply because that's the direction their lives takes them. people move around, and people's priorities just change.  while there was always a sense of community, more or less, amongst hams back in the day, the reality is that, in the end, it is a highly individual activity - put on some headphones and you're basically blocking out the real world immediately around you (sound like internet addicts today?Smiley)   

i was first licensed in 1970, have been an amateur extra for about the last 40 years, and have been QRT almost that long as well.  i still keep my license active, lord knows why, as i don't intend to go on the air again, but then, i still keep my first class radiotelegraph op's license and US coast guard radio officer's license active as well, though i have no intention of going to sea again either.   i was one of those luddites, and still am, who didn't want to see the code exam be eliminated, but then again, i always found the code part easier than the technical end of the exam.   to each his own, i guess.

i never did forget the code, and could probably still do 20-25 wpm without a problem, but again, don't intend to.  so maybe i just keep my licenses out of nostalgia or something.  never did want to change my boring call sign either Smiley   

to be honest, i'm astounded there are so many licensed hams out there - i personally don't know any where i work, or among the many folks i meet on my travels, but the numbers can't lie. 

well, i'm rambling; again, i find this thread interesting - le plus ca change, le plus ca reste la meme chose Smiley
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N2EY
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Posts: 3925




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« Reply #66 on: September 02, 2011, 03:12:56 PM »

Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on September 1, 2011 was:

Novice:            14,875    (2.1%)
Technician      341,305  (48.8%)
Technician Plus         0    (0.0%)
General          159,574  (22.8%)
Advanced         58,322    (8.3%)
Extra              125,421  (17.9%)

Total              699,497

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB1SF
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Posts: 414


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« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2011, 08:01:34 AM »

How are we going to run out of the 40 and 50 year old demographic? That number is constantly being refreshed by an influx of people who are currently in the 30 year old demographic today.

Perhaps.

But would you please explain what motivation a tecvh-savvy 20 or 30 year old of TODAY...you know those persons who now routinely use I-Pads and I-Phones, and who "tweet" regularly via such things as Twitter and Facebook...are going to have to want to join our ranks when they get to be 40 or 50 years old...particularly when all we still insist on offering up as our "mainstream" modes of communication are Morse code, SSB and analog FM voice?

Quote
if this was the case then you would see decreasing numbers of folks who are earning their technician license in decline. The drop in numbers is primarily in novice and advanced class licensees.

Not according to the numbers I'm seeing coming out of the ARRL VEC these days.  

The truth is that the number of "new hams" of ALL license classes added to our ranks in the United States peaked in 2009 and has been headed downward ever since.

Quote
You cannot look at just a few data points and make a trend out of that. "That way leads to insanity" and is similar to the unbridled optimism or doom and gloom predictions of folks who watch the hourly report on the stock market to make long term forecasts.

Agreed.

But, by the same token, the disturbing downward trend in new licensees I've noted above should still be cause for alarm.  

And when was the last time that YOU were actually on the air?  With the possible exception of 75 Meters and contest weekends, my personal observation is that our HF bands seem to be dead from end to end these days.  Now, I know propagation hasn't been all that great lately, but I also recall our HF bands being FAR busier in past years than they are today.  

And when was the last time you attended a major hamfest and counted all the expanding waistlines and graying (or balding) heads wandering around therein?  

My estimate is that the average age of a person attending the Dayton Hamvention this year was late 50s or early 60s. Another sad testament at Dayton this year was the large number of people moving around in "scooter" chairs...more so than I recall in all the years (going back to 1977) that I've attended Hamvention.  Indeed, the "scooter" concession at Dayton this year was doing a land-office business.  I find it telling that when I first attended Hamvention, they didn't even HAVE a "scooter" concessionaire!

And while all such data is, admittedly, anecdotal, nevertheless, it suggests to me that our hobby simply isn't attracting today's youth in the same numbers that it was when you and I first got our licenses.  And it's those people (us aging oldsters) who now make up the bulk of the population of the hobby.  

But, clearly, as our generation continues to age and die without also being replaced by youthful "new blood" it will most certainly impact our continuing ability to hang onto our frequencies going forward. Just how much of an impact that rapidly aging and dying demographic will have over time remains to be seen.  

Unfortunately, when the bureaucrats and politicians who decide such things ultimately decide who gets what access to which parts of the radio spectrum, "quantity" has a "quality" all its own.  And, as I've repeatedly said, without continued access to our frequencies, our hobby dies.  

It's that simple.

So, once again, I suggest we all make a date to meet here in 10-15 year's time and see who got it right.  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 08:10:50 AM by KB1SF » Logged
W3HF
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« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2011, 09:03:13 AM »

But would you please explain what motivation a tecvh-savvy 20 or 30 year old of TODAY...you know those persons who now routinely use I-Pads and I-Phones, and who "tweet" regularly via such things as Twitter and Facebook...are going to have to want to join our ranks when they get to be 40 or 50 years old...particularly when all we still insist on offering up as our "mainstream" modes of communication are Morse code, SSB and analog FM voice?
Today's "20 or 30 year old" won't be "40 or 50 years old" for another 20 years. Why do you presume that when that happens, 20 years from now, "we [will] still insist on offering up as our "mainstream" modes of communication ... Morse code, SSB and analog FM voice"? Someone could have made that same statement in 1985, and now we can (and do) offer PSK31, JT65 and numerous other "sound card" modes (made possible by the improvements in personal computers), messaging like APRS, digital voice like D-STAR, and I'm sure others that I haven't thought of (or don't know about), in addition to the "mainstream" modes (which continue to be popular). 
And when was the last time that YOU were actually on the air?
Monday. 20/30/40m PSK. The 20m PSK subband has been quite busy in the evenings recently.   

So, once again, I suggest we all make a date to meet here in 10-15 year's time and see who got it right.
Deal.
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W5ESE
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« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2011, 11:24:19 AM »

But would you please explain what motivation a tecvh-savvy 20 or 30 year old of TODAY...you know those persons who now routinely use I-Pads and I-Phones, and who "tweet" regularly via such things as Twitter and Facebook...are going to have to want to join our ranks when they get to be 40 or 50 years old...particularly when all we still insist on offering up as our "mainstream" modes of communication are Morse code, SSB and analog FM voice?


Maybe because they're unlikely to experience sporadic E, skew, or scatter on an iPad or iPhone?

Quote
And while all such data is, admittedly, anecdotal, nevertheless, it suggests to me that our hobby simply isn't attracting today's youth in the same numbers that it was when you and I first got our licenses.  And it's those people (us aging oldsters) who now make up the bulk of the population of the hobby.

I was licensed as a 14 year old near the end of 1975.

Most new licensees back then, by far, were middle-aged or older.

Several of the folks from my Novice class are SK now.

But there are still about twice as many hams today as there were in 1975.

73
Scott W5ESE
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N2EY
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« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2011, 08:15:03 PM »

AA5JG & W5ESE, you both nailed it.

I will add just a few small things:

1) It's not that most people aren't interested in "radio", it's that most people aren't interested in "radio for its own sake". They care about what it does, not how it's done. Hams care about the doing more than the content.

2) I've been a ham since 1967 and the gloom and doom were old hat then:

- They said SSB would be the end of ham radio. Too complicated for most homebrewing, sounded awful, SWLs couldn't understand it at all, and it cost too much.

- They said "incentive licensing" would be the end because the average ham couldn't pass the tests.

- They said cb would be the end because nobody would bother with a license.

- They said Japanese/miniature/solid-state gear would be the end because it was too small and complex. 

- They said the counterculture, oil crisis, small cars, FM and repeaters, computers, inflation and condos would be the end of ham radio.

- They said Bash books, VECs, Technicians, autopatches, cell phones, the internet and Gen X would be the end.

And yet, here we are.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AB2T
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« Reply #71 on: September 10, 2011, 02:25:25 AM »

How are we going to run out of the 40 and 50 year old demographic? That number is constantly being refreshed by an influx of people who are currently in the 30 year old demographic today.

Perhaps.

But would you please explain what motivation a tecvh-savvy 20 or 30 year old of TODAY...you know those persons who now routinely use I-Pads and I-Phones, and who "tweet" regularly via such things as Twitter and Facebook...are going to have to want to join our ranks when they get to be 40 or 50 years old...particularly when all we still insist on offering up as our "mainstream" modes of communication are Morse code, SSB and analog FM voice?

As young people say, FAIL!

I am an amateur linux scripter who will immediately pick up the key again when I move out of the apartment blocks and back to a place with natural green carpet (still stationless by necessity).  Do I not count?  Should I hate CW because I enjoy bash shell scripting and programming in general?  The avocations are mutually exclusive.

Keith, the world champion very high speed CW operator is a twenty-something.  I'm just in my thirties, and I'm a few years shy of my 20th ham anniversary.  Both he and I got started in ham radio very early on in life.  The earlier a person starts in the hobby, the greater the chance he or she will be receptive to CW or ham radio in general.  The goal is to get people interested as early as possible.  Computer proficiency or lack thereof is quite irrelevant.  The cultivation of intelligent or very intelligent operators is paramount.

Intelligent people will always gravitate to CW, just as many of the most intelligent passionately take up the cognitive-spatial challenge of chess or exercise similar cognitive and intellectual abilities by taking up a musical instrument.  Not everyone will appreciate CW, but the hams that do will be the stellar operators.    

As Jim said,

1) It's not that most people aren't interested in "radio", it's that most people aren't interested in "radio for its own sake". They care about what it does, not how it's done. Hams care about the doing more than the content.

There will always be new hams interested in radio ars gratia artis.  We need to capture them before you and other naysayers convince them that CW is out of date or difficult.

Twitter and Facebook will come and go, but Morse and Vail have weathered the test of time.

73, Jordan
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 02:31:11 AM by AB2T » Logged
KB1SF
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« Reply #72 on: September 10, 2011, 06:45:48 AM »

There will always be new hams interested in radio ars gratia artis. We need to capture them before you and other naysayers convince them that CW is out of date or difficult.

The question is whether (or not) we will be able to capture enough of "them" going forward to offset the increasing number of "us" who are now rapidly ageing and dying...or who have otherwise lost all interest in the hobby.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

It is also quite apparent that YOU haven't actually heard the increasing silence on our bands lately, either.  So, before you and others continue "shooting the messenger", perhaps you should first tune across the bands for yourselves and honestly report on what YOU are hearing on our bands as compared with just a decade or so ago.

As I've said, OUR hobby, unlike many others, relies on faceless politicians and bureaucrats to grant us continued access to scarce frequency spectrum in order for our hobby to even exist.  And it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that without that continued access, our "hobby" dies.

And the truth you and others here seem to want to continually deny is that the world we live in is increasingly relying on digital communications techniques.  I can envision any number of digital techniques and applications (such as spread spectrum, to cite just one example) that would prove to be utterly incompatible with most of the current analog modes that we desperately cling to.

Indeed, my retired FCC staffer contact tells me the "everyone in their own slice of spectrum" way we are currently being regulated is, itself, evolving into a much broader approach where frequency spectrum is shared among multiple services using, for example, advanced digital multiplexing techniques.

In the grand scheme of things, the technologically ancient analog modes we routinely use (AM, FM, CW and SSB) are fast becoming little more than hold-out relics of an ever-more-distant past.  They are fast being replaced by a whole plethora of new communications modes, some of which are still evolving, but most of which are absolutely incompatible with the largely analog modes we are using now.  

Unless we can quickly drag our hobby out of the sociological and technological 1950s, (and then "clean up our act"), I believe that we (and our Service) are ultimately headed for the trash heap of technological history, much like wind-up watches, pulse dial telephones and analog TV sets.  

Indeed, most of the so-called "modern" communications equipment we still use today in our Service probably belongs in a museum.

Quote
Twitter and Facebook will come and go, but Morse and Vail have weathered the test of time.

But, as the old saying goes, "The times they are a changin'."

That's because portable digital electronic communication devices (like the IPod, IPhone and IPad) are here to stay....as is the Internet itself. Unlike in times past, when amateur radio was the ONLY personal wireless medium (besides the portable telephone which only the very rich could afford), the youth of today now have INNUMERABLE ways to communicate wirelessly.  I also find it telling that most of these modern advanced wireless communication concepts (and devices) were all invented OUTSIDE of the crucible of Amateur Radio.

And whether we like it or not, internationally, one of the expectations of those who grant us continued access to our frequencies is for us to carry on "technical investigations".  The FCC has further defined those "investigations" to include "advancing the state of the communications art".  

When we stop doing that...and I believe we largely have stopped doing that by desperately clinging to arcane 1950s-era regulations and communications technologies as the "gold standard" by which all experimentation in our Service must still be measured...we run the very real risk of our spectrum being taken away from us and given over to someone else who will.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 04:12:07 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #73 on: September 10, 2011, 07:03:36 AM »

Twitter and Facebook will come and go, but Morse and Vail have weathered the test of time.

Before there was Facebook (founded 2004) there was Myspace (founded 2003). For a time Myspace was *the* dominant social network site, but in the past few years it has declined precipitously while Facebook continues to grow.

Some say that Facebook will eventually jump the shark and/or be replaced by something else.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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N2EY
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« Reply #74 on: September 15, 2011, 09:01:43 AM »


Updated numbers from:
http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on September 14, 2011 was:

Novice:            14,849    (2.1%)
Technician      341,317  (48.8%)
Technician Plus         0    (0.0%)
General          159,626  (22.8%)
Advanced         58,278    (8.3%)
Extra              125,468  (17.9%)

Total              699,538

73 de Jim, N2EY
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