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Author Topic: How do we get Youth Involved?  (Read 7485 times)

Posts: 23


« on: June 18, 2001, 05:12:54 PM »

Hello Everyone,

   I have a topic to introduce that everyone who uses this forum can contribute to.  The question is simple, yet extremely important to think about for the benefit of our hobby:

   How do we get more Youth involved in Amateur Radio?

   Obviously something out there is working to get young people involved right now, otherwise we would not be licensed ourselves.  That something may be just the pure fascination in talking to people over the airwaves.  Or perhaps the desire to help out the community in an unique way during disasters.  Or perhaps someone might just be interested in electronics and RF and what those career fields have to offer later on.

   But what extra steps can ** WE ** as youth, and other older hams or clubs do to convince other young people that this is a hobby they should join and be active in?  If you weren't licensed today, what would you like someone to do to excite you about joining ham radio? What kind of things have you or someone else you know of or your local club done in the past to get youth involved?

   Your ideas are welcome, because we need to be thinking about these kind of things as the average age of our hobby ever so slightly continues to creep up higher and higher.  And not only do we need to think about these things, but we need to do our best to turn these ideas into action.

   Afterall, we - the youth - are the future of Amateur Radio, and we hold the key to its success.

   Post your thoughts, ideas and experiences here!

Brian, N5ZGT
Albuquerque, NM  

Posts: 1

« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2001, 12:26:15 AM »

Here's what I did/am doing...
I built a portable station, here's a URL to see it,
its overkill but it works (now) on 28/144/440/1.2/2.4
and can be easilly towed to Hamfests or "schools".

With your own kids...  Is the answer to your question.

My son Age 12 is in a private school (but that shouldn't matter) and here's what I am doing with them and ham radio.

It was "Science Project Time" and my son was already excited watching me play with the "Birds" and having his turn with my neighbor (Jim) AA4MD who BTW excited me after many years of intrest but no motivation.
He didn't understand why after watching me operate on local repeaters then on the Sat "Why I had to adjust my HT to different frequencies as the bird passed".

A "Science Project" was born... "The Effect of Doppler on Sattelite Communications".  We tape recorded passes of "LEO" Low Earth Orbiting Sats and plotted the frequency shift over time (Him doing all the work and Jim and Myself running Jim's Sat rig (Mine was under construction).

He didn't win first prize but the headmaster/principal was facinated (and confused on what the project was actually about since "normal" people do not have to figure Doppler into their day to day cell phoning...)

I set up a date and brought a HT with an Arrow dual band yagi, my laptop running NOVA for windows and did a demonstration... I discussed the tie in you can get --via- amateur radio to include earth science weather ,Space ,Science ,Math ,Writing, Art (QSL cards!) .... its endless if you think... what are they trying to teach them and apply a cool way to get the information via radio.

In the end they are looking for someone (probably me, to hire and act as a custodian/operator of the new school Ham site.  I told them I require a teacher (2 actually) to be licensed and then to ability to use the existing "after school care" program (of athletics and clubs etc) to add a "technician class licese course/Ham club".

We will see what the new school year brings us.

But you tie in the SAREX/ISS into the mix and the schools get excited.

You add the fact that there ARE GRANTS to purchase youth oriented HAM gear and then get your local club involved to help operate it and keep them "excited" then it will happen...  

Sats are not that hard to do and the "youth" related rewards are great  esp.... if they work twards a coveted ISS scheduled contact.

Thats my 2 cents......


Rich Clark KG4ITU(not a youth.... but acting like one)


Posts: 24


« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2001, 08:36:37 PM »

getting youth invovled
tell them how good it looks on your resume and how it can land you a job as something other then a fry cook

Posts: 65

« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2001, 06:52:00 PM »

A ham radio ticket no longer equates to technical competence. In the 50's and 60's a ham ticket meant something to an potential employer, but not today. I have two boys and two daughters. Only one learned the code and then gave it up and the rest said, I have a   cell dad, dont need that stuff and dont see what you see in it!

« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2001, 11:26:02 AM »

Much of what K6XR says is true (if negative). However, ham radio is not (and never was) for everyone. Just because your kids are not interested, doesn't mean that all kids are not interested. If they are never exposed to it, they will never know. The reason that the hobby does not have more participants is that nobody knows about it or those that used to know about it, think it's still old guys sitting in rooms full of tube equipment and beams on towers (which admittedly for a few, it still is). It is also percieved that you need to have thousands of dollars worth of equipment (which with many good used radios available, QRP radios, kits and wire antennas etc. is not the case).

Regarding the aging ham population, much of this has to do with older (retired) people having much more time to participate in the hobby. Many people do not get into ham radio until they retire (thus skewing the statistics).

I think it will take a real initiative by the ARRL (in the USA) and its affiliated clubs to spread the message via school and public awareness programs. They already have a pilot program up and running (in Texas ?) I believe.

We of course have to do our part too !

Posts: 12

« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2001, 12:17:25 AM »

I think it's true that youth really need a reason to take another test. My personal reason was that I was (am) involved with a Jamboree Troop that was(will) be using HT's to communicate rather than those crazy FRS radios. There really needs to be a strong motivation, and saying that you can talk to people around the world may not be enough. In fact it probably won't. however, if you show them a rack of QSL cards, and point out one from some remote DX location, that might spark some interest. As someone said, Ham Radio isn't for everyone, but I think everyone should give it a try. Maybe with a Ham by using their callsign. Maybe by joining the few and far between Ham Radio clubs in high school. or maybe by seeing a demonstration by a Ham in their school.


Posts: 3

« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2001, 06:39:52 PM »

To me, a ham license stands out on a resume.  It invites further exploration.  It says this kid has done more than just sit in front of a t.v. with all his spare time.  It may not be worth much if all (s)he has done with it is to use the vhf on rare occasions.  However, if I discover the ham has done public service, built a qrp rig, set up a satellite station, etc., it's worth a lot.

Before we worry about getting youth involved in Ham Radio, we need to get them involved in Life.  How do we get them to invest themselves in their world as opposed to sitting passively in front of the t.v. or hanging out at the mall?

Posts: 4

« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2001, 10:25:40 AM »

Ok i agree with you.
I myself am 13 years old and have been licensed 3 years. What got me interested was my day showing me his QSL cards and telling me how I can talk to people all over the world using my voice or using morse code. When he told me that I was really excited. Then when he told me I had to take another test O mann I wasn't as excited. But when he showed me the radios and people talking I couldn't wait to start studying. Now i am a Tech- Plus and studying for my General. My point is sure the fact that we have to take a test with all the other ones we have to take isn't very appealing the thing you can do in Ham Radio is a lot more appealing then taking a test isn't.

Posts: 1

« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2001, 03:22:56 PM »

    I have found that many youths can get a great thrill from putting together with their own hands some simple electronic device (even from a kit, using the usually simple instructions that those provide, but also sharpening their language skills, as well), and then having that final thrill of having it work and perform some great feat that even simple modern electronic devices can do! I realize that few of today's hams build their own complex gear with which they carry out their many QSOs, but I have seldom encountered a youth (including my 9-year-old grandson) who would devote the couple of hours of their time needed to build such a device and then see it perform it's "magical" feat who did not experience that thrill, all while learning something while having FUN!

My own first project was in constructing a trivially-simple "crystal set", then seeing that it could tune in several stations.  That let me listen (in quiet, with a little headphone) to whichever of those stations I wanted to listen to, and all without having to spend future "allowance" money for even batteries!  I later went on to build less simple devices, sometimes adding all that I could afford, only two or three components per week.  These included a super-sensitive (for its cost) regenerative short-wave receiver, thus introducing myself to the worlds of SWL and ham radio.

Those young "kicks" simultaneously motivated me in both my school work and in my hobby to go on to finally (with relative ease and fun) get my first ham ticket at age 16 (minimum required age back then) AND  a few years later achieve my BSEE degree (Communications major)!

Posts: 2

« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2001, 12:48:38 AM »

I would have to agree with KC2DUA because the test was always the scariest part for me.  The things that got me interested in Ham Radio was the activities Ham operators got to do.  In Ohio my dad and mom would always be going places and helping with different events.  For example my dad went one time to help with the floods down in Cincinnati and even though he was part of the Red Cross he was sent down there for communication.  I thought that was the most interesting thing I would've loved to do.  In order to get people interested in Ham Radio they have to know what it is.  One day when I was going to my Scout Meeting with my radio they asked "Hey Tony what's that radio???" is it a walkie talkie???  And I told them that it was a Ham Radio but they didn't understand what a ham radio was.  I think local Ham clubs need to get more involved with the community or else how are youth supposed to get interested???  I especially think Hams should get more involved with Scouting.  That's probably the biggest source of Youth that could be appealed to Ham Radio.  It was partially Scouting that got me to become a Ham.  One night I was on the computer and my dad was asking me why I wasn't interested in Ham Radio and then he gave some great reasons like if a Scout had been on a hike and got hurt and the cell phone couldn't get to a tower of something what would I do???  That's when I finally thought about it and decided to start studying for my test.  Now since becoming a Ham I've gotten more involved than ever I am now a part of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue team : known as the Communication group and we stay very active.  I never thought as a Ham I would be as active as I am.  So mainly the ARRL or local HAM clubs need to get more recognized.  That's just my opinion and I hope this is useful.  

73's KG6ETS

Posts: 6

« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2001, 03:47:30 AM »

Im 17 and am just getting involved in the hobby. My  fascination with scanners drew me into the ham scene several years ago , but the requirments looked too hard. Just recently I saw the movie frequency, where a father communicates with his son in the future over ham radio. However non-realistic that made me remember my interest.

I dug up my Old Gordon west cw tapes and began to read literature.

I think that getting youth involved is a fairly passive process. You can't make kids become hams, but they may not find out about the neat hobby without exposure to it.

I first learned of vhf/uhf radio while backpacking in the New Mexico Mountains. A school trip that all freshman must under go is supervised every year by ham handhelds, for safety purposes. Back then I had no idea that the radios were hams, I just thought they were walkie talkies, but I was selected for my mountaineering skill to help carry / setup the schools peater to a mountain top. A ham who teaches at school taught us all about ham radio on the 12 mile hike up the mountain, which was 12 miles more than the rest of the kids went. My friend and I were especially fascinated by packet operation,  and HF worldwide bands. That was my beginning of my fascination.

Now with the new license structure it is really easy to get a license, and once finding this out I decided to go for it again.

Ham radio offers many facets of learning and challenge and I think that all industrious, curious, and technologically oriented youths of today need is exposure to the hobby. From there it is up to them.

Just my youthful perspective



Posts: 5

« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2001, 08:54:24 AM »

Hello Brian,

My name is Mike and my call is KD5LPE.  I am 13 years old and blind.  One way you can get youth involved is to get ham radio taught in schools!  First of all, it needs to be taught in schools because the youth need to learn more about it so they might become intristed.  Secondly, they are teaching other things, so there is no reason to keep ham radio out of it.  I heard of a club that incorperates ham radio into math, geometry,  and english.  Good luck,

Posts: 413


« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2001, 01:28:13 PM »

I had the privilege of operating the 10m SSB station for the K7UGA special event a week ago.

Logged lots of contacts, coming in fast & furious at times, but when I got called by a "Jamboree on the Air" station, I decided to chat awhile with the various Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts they had there.

I felt real good about doing that for them, because I remember a ham doing nearly the same thing back when I was a scout and there was an event station set up.

BTW, nobody complained either; they patiently waited for me to finish with the scouts!

Dave AD7DB

Posts: 17

« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2001, 02:55:55 PM »

I'm in my 30's now, but I can still tell you what it would've taken to get me involved.

Being given the opportunity.

I wanted to be a ham starting when I was 9, but didn't know how to go about it.  It took me 14 years to do it.  Had somebody announced in one of my HS Science classes that an Amateur Radio class was being offered, I would have been there, and so would many of my friends.  I'm certain that the same is true today.

Just recently, one of our local instructors was asking another on the air about how to get some younger people to sign up for a new Tech class being offered.  I came back and suggested that they contact local HS science departments and ask them to mention it in Electronics and Physics classes, or in Physics Club.

Would you believe that nobody had thought of doing something that simple?

Posts: 250

« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2002, 10:01:18 PM »

A system that would allow local hams to come out and give exams to people.  Many people can not get to an examination.
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