Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 [2] 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: 4 Keys to Bring More Youth--and People in General--to Amateur Radio  (Read 69359 times)
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2011, 01:59:08 AM »

With cellphones, you are calling to talk with a specific person.  With ham radio, one of the thrills (at least on HF) is that you don't know who you are going to find out there.  While ham radio can certainly be used to fill a communications need in time of emergency, the vast majority of hams use it for fun and relaxation, not a means to an end.  As so many people have said, it's not about the destination but rather about the journey (ie learning, experimenting, etc).

K2CMH, I agree with everything you stated--so far as ham radio is in the present time. However, why not pursue advancing it to include a valuable daily means to an end while continuing with all the other wonderful things that it already is? Thanks. ~ AC7WH
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2011, 02:07:28 AM »

Of course, if all else fails to draw in youth, maybe we could get Snookie to be our spokesperson ;-)

73,
Chris
AK4KZ



You know, it wouldn't hurt to get some other big names to help promote ham radio among young people. That might not be a bad idea. Ha, ha! ~ AC7WH
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2011, 02:28:21 AM »

With cellphones, you are calling to talk with a specific person.  With ham radio, one of the thrills (at least on HF) is that you don't know who you are going to find out there.  While ham radio can certainly be used to fill a communications need in time of emergency, the vast majority of hams use it for fun and relaxation, not a means to an end.  As so many people have said, it's not about the destination but rather about the journey (ie learning, experimenting, etc).
   Exactly!  Today's kids really need to get a "taste of radio" in order to experience what it is all about.  Back in the day, many hams got their start either through shortwave radio listening or CB.  I would not be surprised if a teacher somewhere went out and bought a bunch of old CB radios on eBay and handed them out to the students, that some of those kids might go on to get their ham tickets.

I agree that teachers can certainly help to inspire children and youth to go out and get into ham radio. It would just be nice to see greater numbers drawn to it because of something else they are already interested in (like texting and the internet).
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2011, 02:37:20 AM »

Either you've got the interest, or you don't.  Today, with the wealth of information available over the internet and the ease of communication compared to amateur radios' heyday, the interest in radio communication is slowly fading away.  Young people are more likely to get interested in computers and handheld "do it all" telephones.

No matter how you try, getting a person interested in ham radio is a battle--unless they are interested in radio in the first place.  Sadly, not so many young people are.

Although I essentially agree with everything you stated, I still believe that people of all ages will be drawn to ham radio IF it provides for free (other than the cost of equipment similar in price to an advanced cell phone, or at most a computer) various data and voice services that they are currently paying a high price for.
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2011, 02:43:07 AM »

Odd that many aren't interested in radio because its old technology. Yet the key to all of their new, interesting widgets is wireless connectivity which is - RADIO.  Huh



Exactly! The difference is that their cell phones do something for them that is a tangible benefit on a daily basis. I would like to think that ham radio has that same--and even greater--potential.
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2011, 02:55:37 AM »

Many of us were shown how to tune in distant AM radio stations at night and/or interesting programs and transmissions on shortwave radios when we were impressionable. For me, this was back when long distance communications were either exotic or expensive (or both). I wouldn't bet much that a kid who grew up with free long distance via cellphones and the internet would think that me getting excited about exchanging callsigns with someone in New Zealand is a big deal.

HF radio has been losing relevance since the first communication satellites were launched a long time ago and the internet has quickened the pace. It's still fun and interesting from both a ham and a SWL perspective. But it's going to take a special kind of kid to see it that way. I'm sure they're out there, but how to reach/teach them?
    They need to be able to HEAR us!!  How 'bout an app that lets them listen to ham radio operators in real time on their Iphones or other devices?

I respectfully disagree with that! When I was a young SWL I very rarely listened to hams. Mostly did just to practice tuning in SSB signals. Pilots on international routes, ship to shore radiotelephone, utility stations, international broadcasters and pirates were much more interesting to me. Listening to hams talk about their radios, antennas, weather, politics and health conditions is quite boring to kids. Of course, now that I am one, I rarely listen outside of the ham bands, but I'm more invested in the amateur bands now, you could say. It's more fun now that I can talk back but passively listening to hams as an outsider is really dull. Drunk CBers is another story...

I think the kid angle would be kit building (making things and DIY is big right now) and somehow instilling a love for radio for the sake of radio. Let's not tell them about how boring (and possibly incomprehensible to an outsider) a typical conversation is just yet. Focus on the thrill of DX, the challenge of CW, the wonders of space weather, the joy of kit building etc. My 2 cents...



Interesting perspectives from both angles. I can relate quite a bit to the SWL side of things. Yet I would also like to see some really well done ham radio apps geared toward new hams. There probably are some out there already that I'm not aware of right now.
Logged

~ AC7WH
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2011, 03:03:18 AM »

They need to be able to HEAR us!!  How 'bout an app that lets them listen to ham radio operators in real time on their Iphones or other devices?

There are some scanner apps that are out there and some of those guys put up ham freqs. Of course, you can listen to HF all day long on a computer thru websdr and some other sources. Then again.. listening online removes all of that "RF wonder" from the experience.

Ham will never be a replacement for the Internet but it can be an alternate. There's so much work to do for curious young minds. Satellites. Digital. Programming. Antennas. Perhaps some electronics. Using ham radio for the sake of radio will lose it's luster. But are we saying that it's gone as far as it can? Nothing left to do?? Packet was a great technology that seems to be waning. Maybe it needs an application. APRS is kind of cool but could use some expansion. LOTS of programming to do and ideas to be tried. Satellite?? How about being able to use a big, expensive repeaters that's.. uh.. HUNDREDS of miles in space! How cool is that? Especially if there's something to DO with it. SDR is another wide open area. Signal processing has a huge way to go before we can say we're done.

You know, if all there is to do is talk to 79 year old Gus in rural New Mexico every week or so, it's gonna be a hard sell to anyone.. no matter how great Gus is. Ham offers SO much more. But I guess that's driven by ideas and invention. I'm constantly coming up with.. "you know, I wish I could do <whatever> with my radio". Some kid somewhere knows how to make that happen.

It's an expensive hobby to get into anyway you look at it. And that's a problem. And I can imaging there are a lot of kids who would like to play but can't afford it.

But the "draw" isn't going to be Gus. Or the fact that we can talk.. "over the airwaves.. neat huh?". Ham's not dying because of the technology. Every technology reaches a level of maturity. Cars (until recently) haven't changed much but everyone has one. It's the application of the technology. And it's the application that'll draw people at this point.

Of course, we'll have to get past the point of scoffing at people who come with crazy ideas. I saw one conversation where a guy had an idea and was met with all kinds of "you can't do that" or "why would anyone want to?" or.. "that's what the internet's for". Hey.. you know what? It's an interesting idea and you may not get it off the ground but.. work it out. After all, why would anyone want to be a ham? That's what the internet's for. ;-)

73,
Chris
AK4KZ






Chris, I don't think I could have said it any better! Thank you so much for your input.
Logged

~ AC7WH
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 5885




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2011, 05:39:43 AM »

One thing that has to be remembered is that amateur radio is a small--no, let's make that VERY small percentage of any market, even one that has its primary offering in the radio field.  A good example of that is the 220MHZ band.  The useage of that band is just about confined to North America, and as a result, there is little to no steady  manufacturing of equipment for that band except by one or two companies.

Even the phrase "If you build it, they will come" is superceded by "If they're not interested in what you offer, you don't exist."
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 05:42:02 AM by K1CJS » Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12696




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2011, 01:30:27 PM »

There's an old saying in engineering: "It takes 20% of the money to reach 80% of the goal and 80% of the money to reach the final 20% of the goal". I think that applies today and we are above the 80% goal level.

Back when radio technology was new it was well within the realm of a single person experimenting in their garage. We have reached the point today where new advancements often require teams of engineers working in specialized laboratories. The engineering costs have grown so much that it now often takes hundreds of thousands of paying customers to re-coupe the engineering costs. That's why amateur radio, for the most part, is no longer on the cutting edge of technology. For example, amateur radio mfgs don't develop new high speed DSP chips for their transceivers. They wait until the commercial marketplace has developed a new DSP chip and built enough to bring the costs down and then the amateur radio mfgs use them in their radio designs. That leaves amateur radio on the tail end of technology. Its primarily all about the money and there isn't much that we can do about it. Hams complain that the $39 per year ARRL membership is too high - I doubt that many are willing to pay the costs of cutting edge technology development  Roll Eyes

Logged
N3OX
Member

Posts: 8853


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2011, 02:34:32 PM »

But why can’t ham radio produce a new technology or benefit to mankind? I believe that it still has that potential, but it would mean a lot of focused change and development.

Focused change and development by WHO?  I agree with AA4PB. The reason why we're not leaders in radio technology anymore is because development in mature technological field in 2011 requires the efforts of thousands of specialists and millions or billions of dollars in order to make measurable progress.  When ham radio started, there was a  LOT of basic, fundamental contributions that could be made by a hobbyist who was employed in another field.  In a FEW cases in ham radio, this could still potentially happen, but it will be fairly rare.  We are not permitted to make money using ham radio, so we can't quit our jobs and work full time on ham radio advancement, and we're "competing" against large teams of professional engineers and armies of radio equipment installers.  I put "competing" in quotes because I think that it's comparing apples to oranges to say we're in competition with the professionals.  We're simply DIFFERENT from the professionals, but you seem to want to set us up in competition instead.

Quote
I agree that a lot of infrastructure would be required, but we as hams have developed a certain degree of infrastructure for satellite communications. So why not in other areas of communication? I believe that if there is a step forward with infrastructure that it will in turn bring a step forward in support and advancement which will help encourage the implementation of even more infrastructure.

Who will pay for the infrastructure?  Look at what goes on in repeater clubs and multiply their problems tenfold or more.  High speed internet links to mobile phone like devices will be a difficult venture requiring many sites.  

Quote
You are exactly right that the cost of cell phones with a contract is embedded in the cost of the service. However, there are several instances where consumers will pay the full retail price in order to avoid a contract. Of course I realize that I did not specify in my original post which price I was referring to. It was more of a rough approximation.

"Full retail price" is still reduced tremendously by economies of scale.  Apparently the iPhone 4S sold four million units in the first weekend.  That's nearly six units per licensed ham in the U.S.  If you could actually modify an existing phone to the ham bands via a firmware upgrade and a few small changes in the analog circuitry, THEN maybe we'd have a start to this.   But a custom designed and custom manufactured product coming close to even the "full retail" phone price? I can't see that happening.  

I guess if we were willing to use up all the UHF/microwave spectrum by flooding it with free-internet seekers, the early adopters could subsidize the latecomers.  It would probably be a net savings to pay $1500  up front for a device that would provide free internet access, provided that internet access was mostly reliable.  Of course you have to pay for the infrastructure too but maybe you could charge the early adopters for that too.

I'm not saying it's a good idea, just that maybe you could make your business plan briefly work out even with the high cost of the hamphones.  If you could get the whole thing to fly, though, I think the early adopters would be disappointed when Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, etc. sued to get the enterprise shut down.

Quote
As for my ham radio mobile internet idea, I believe it could be implemented quite easily with existing technology. It didn’t take very many years of development for the special form of mobile internet on cell phones--of course they do have a big budget. Still, in my opinion it can be done with a much smaller budget by engineers with the proper expertise. I would even go so far as to suggest that perhaps some of the regulations should be altered for ham radio when it comes to internet use. Even D-STAR allows for full internet access with all advertisements and commercial websites.

I don't WANT the rules altered!  Ham radio is not a free internet service, and the rules appropriately reflect that.  You're not supposed to use it to bypass commercial services.  You want the internet in your pocket, pay one of the cell phone companies.  You want to get laws changed to make that easier and cheaper, get the FCC to make sure that truly fair free-market competition exists in the mobile phone market.

Ham radio is NOT really a communications carrier service.  It's a radio experimentation service. If you want to experiment with cellphone like data devices and repeaters laid out in a cellular network, fine, great.  Serve up some ham-radio specific information for the sake of having something to shuttle back and forth.  But the moment a bunch of people start signing on because they want cheap or free mobile access to the wider internet, it's not ham radio anymore.  Totally inappropriate.  There's a reason why ham radio has strict commercial restrictions.  It's because ham radio is like a national park of radio spectrum.  Any citizen of the U.S. is permitted to freely access this spectrum, some of which would be extremely valuable if it were on the market.  The commercial restrictions aren't some archaic inconvenience.  They're fundamental to the purpose of ham radio... it's important that there be spectrum that's allowed to be used for commercial competition and spectrum that is NOT allowed to be used for competition with or between commercial services.  

Trying to get a bunch of people to sign on to ham radio for free internet is in direct competition with commercial services and should not be attempted.  If attempted, it will probably fail for many technical reasons.  If it is successful and many people sign on, it will probably be stopped by lawsuits as soon as it gains any substantial traction or it will be snapped up by people who figure out how to make a profit from "free" stuff.  You can't offer "free" services for something that has so much demand and expect it to actually stay free.

==================

I do think that we should be doing something more substantial with our large swaths of  UHF/microwave spectrum, but it needs to be consistent with the purpose and rules of amateur radio.  Free access to the wider internet is not, in general, consistent with this. Changing the rules is fraught with problems.

The law now is good, because it basically stipulates that you are not allowed to compete with existing telecommunication services using the amateur radio bands.  This is simple and direct and PROTECTS us from many sorts of legal snafus and probably PROTECTS our spectrum and keeps it available.  If we were to lobby to become yet another internet provider we'd get eaten alive by Verizon or AT&T.  At best we'd just be told to stop doing that.  At worst we would lose the bands to commercial interests.  The telecom companies have a major vested interest in making sure teenagers have expensive cellphone plans, and  you're proposing to use our bands to circumvent that.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 02:38:36 PM by N3OX » Logged

73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
AC7WH
Member

Posts: 12




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2011, 07:04:25 PM »

Thank you all. I greatly appreciate everyone's comments; they have given me a lot to consider.

73
Logged

~ AC7WH
ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1735




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2011, 09:40:34 AM »

Of course, if all else fails to draw in youth, maybe we could get Snookie to be our spokesperson ;-)

73,
Chris
AK4KZ



You know, it wouldn't hurt to get some other big names to help promote ham radio among young people. That might not be a bad idea. Ha, ha! ~ AC7WH
   Good point!  Are there any modern celebrities who are hams?  I know that we had people like Barry Goldwater years back, and I think a prominent rock star from the '70s, but what about now?   Maybe if we had a Lady GaGa or some other contemporary celebrity telling all their fans how much fun ham radio is, we'd see a youthful increase in the ranks!  Smiley
Logged
KF7LCE
Member

Posts: 24




Ignore
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2011, 04:42:23 PM »

I've wondered, with all the complaining people do about how the mass media is so horrible, why they don't listen to more shortwave broadcasts? If shortwave was to make a comeback, an uptick in the popularity of ham radio would very quickly follow.
Logged
K3WEC
Member

Posts: 260




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2011, 09:45:29 PM »

First up is finding a way to get around the image of the average ham from a young person's perspective.   Go to any hamfest and what do you see?  Mostly nerdy dudes sprinkled in with overweight old dudes wearing ball caps embroidered with their call signs...not exactly the makings of an Apple Store.

This isn't an indictment of the ham community...however it is reality and there's no need to sugar-coat it.  Kids want to be cool.  Hanging out with gramps who has 3 walkie talkies hanging from his beer gut isn't cool.  

Some poster above was right...it takes a certain kind of kid to get interested in this stuff, and this type is in the minority (probably the .25% you referenced as total operators in the US).

Also, it seems that if you make ham radio into everything that cell phones are...then what you have is another cell phone.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 09:55:16 PM by KF5JAT » Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 5885




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2011, 01:03:55 AM »

One point occurs--all of this discussion and idea swapping is really about what amounts to be a non-issue.  The ham ranks are growing.  They've topped 700,000 in the US now, and it stands to reason that all of those newbies are NOT middle aged men with beer guts!
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 [2] 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!