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Author Topic: Age? Is ham radio slowly dieing?  (Read 4868 times)
N4IAG
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2019, 02:31:10 PM »

Is ham radio slowly dying?

Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Yes, it is.

 Cheesy
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I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
KD4UPL
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2019, 03:19:17 PM »

I was licensed at age 16. Back then it was really neat to be able to use the autopatch on the repeater to make phone calls when out camping. Now everybody has a phone.
I'm now 42. I'm just about always the youngest ham at a gathering. My wife got her license at age 32 so that she could communicate with me when I work at places with no cell phone coverage.
I was much more active in my 20's then I am now. Right now I have a wife and 3 young kids. Contesting is out of the question. "That's right honey, I'm going to sit here at this radio for the next 48 hours. Please keep the children silent. Have a nice weekend."  isn't going to cut it.
Really, most any home operating is difficult. At least 2 of my children are making noise at any one time. Any time I turn on the radio one of them will try to grab the knobs or the mic. So, most of my operating is mobile VHF/UHF. There are a good number of local hams on the repeaters that are 40 to 50 age range but not many any younger. Why, I don't know.
But, there is lots of activity. Is the hobby dying? I don't know. We have activity around here on DMR, 220, 2m, 70cm, Fusion, APRS, 6m, HF, and I don't know what all else. One local ham in his late 50's mostly just monitors one local 2m repeater. He's always complaining that there is no activity on it. I bet he thinks ham radio is dying.
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KG9ZTX
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Posts: 65




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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2019, 11:28:22 PM »

Here’s actually my IMHO thoughts.

I am active in several hunting camping off road groups. While many in those groups refuse to get ham for various reasons and use GMRS and CB, many do have ham licenses. Also there all of them that do, except for 3-4 out of 50-60 that have ham licenses do anything more then just for our activity. Meaning the other 46-56 other hams only use ham for our group activities. Age range of the 3-4. All over 45. The age range of the rest, 20-35.

There are still a lot of us around over 45 so the the bands will still be crazy busy, so will the repeaters as well. Are there still youngsters even kids getting into the hobby still. Yes of course there is. Although personally at least here in the USA less youngersters are getting into it then prior to the internet.

I do believe the internet, cell phones chat rooms texting etc... has had a negative impact on ham radio.

YET....

For those people that know and worry about disasters, some known as “Preppers” ham radio will always be needed. Never met a preppier that didn’t have a ham radio license, GmRs license and a CB.

Same thing goes with those who are storm chasers, or for those who know they need alternative communications when we have bad weather. I used to be a Paramedic in my younger days. Have worked many a disaster, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, bombings, where the “phone” grid goes down and cell phones are useless, and so is internet in the area. Thus communications were provided by ham radio users!

So will ham completely die. No I don’t think so. Even if we move to more satellite based communications, even satellites fail.

However, ham is dieing in other areas and in other forms. Morse is starting to become a lost art form. Less people now know Morse then 50 years ago.

As several here put it... the need of free communication when we had to pay for long distance, is no longer needed, the need for autopatch phones  and now we all have cells.

However... at least in the western USA and Canada, there are still vast areas that still have no cell coverage but have ham radio repeaters.

Crazy world we live in though....

Is it dieing though... yes.... will it die out completely? Not for another 50 years or more I don’t believe.
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NN4RH
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2019, 03:20:28 AM »

I don't think ham radio was ever as full of young people as we sometimes think.

Agree. I think that's a myth. 

And many young people back in the day didn't stay with the hobby for very long anyway ... but some returned to it decades later when they have fewer other young-person distractions, and have more money to put into it.


Ham radio has been dying of various ailments for at least the past century ...
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KS2G
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Posts: 1033




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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2019, 06:03:04 AM »

Is ham radio slowly dying?

Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Yes, it is.

 Cheesy

Except for the 30,000 new licenses issued by the FCC each year.

http://www.arrl.org/news/us-amateur-radio-population-grows-slightly-in-2018

 Wink
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AA4PB
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Posts: 14962




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« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2019, 07:30:47 AM »

When I went into the Navy in 1963 I saw evidence of very active base radio clubs well before my time. In Quonset Pt., RI I found a club ham station. I was told that I was the first person in several years that had ever accessed the key to get in. There was a BC610 and an old worn out Hallicrafters receiver and a working Yagi & rotor. There was a separate class room where it was obvious they used to hold ham radio classes. Student desks with keys attached, tape machine, and books still on the shelves. I brought in my SB34, hooked to the antenna and had a private ham shack on base.

Later I went to NAS Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fl. I found the radio club station hadn't been accessed in years. The receiver was an old Hallicrafters that had seen so much use that the main tuning gear teeth were worn down to nubs. I hooked up my trusty SB34 and the station was back on the air again.

My point is that apparently 10-15 years before my time there were some young sailors who were really active in ham radio on those bases. The question is, what happened? Why were the stations abandoned? My guess is that the stations were established soon after WWII ended. Perhaps as military pay increased, many had the funds for other "off base" activities and lost interest in the ham radio clubs.

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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K0UA
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Posts: 4056




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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2019, 07:41:24 AM »

I have been licensed for pretty close to the 50 year mark. While I have always had an interest in Amateur and held a license, that doesn't mean I was always very active. I have ran hot and cold thru that 50 or so years with stints of activity and lapses in activity.  I have been more active in the last two years than I have ever been.  My "semi" retirement has allowed me more free time to pursue it. I run two HF rigs at the same time now in the shack. I have done something I always wanted to try and that is mobile HF radio. It was always something I could not justify, but I am really enjoying it now. I was very interested in radio from about age 12, but I was 16 before I became licensed.  Yes, now I add to the "old pharts" total of licensee's but I am as radioactive now as I have ever been.
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N9FB
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« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2019, 07:49:04 AM »

"slowly dying"... Huh


source: ARRL
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N9FB
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2019, 08:01:57 AM »

disclaimers:

while the number of [USA] hams continues to grow, i am not sure what the trend is worldwide...

when i was 1st licensed as a young teen, it was looked at as quite an accomplishment that i earned the Advanced class license.  The majority of hams taking the tests at the FCC office were pretty old, and the normally stern-sounding & solemn-faced FCC office employee even appeared to convey a touch of surprise & humanity when he informed me that I had passed -- which seemed to hinge on the fact that i was so comparatively young. The hams I encountered on air (CW or phone) seemed on average as old then as they do today.  it was rare that i came across a ham my age.   

that said, the overall population seems to be slightly aging (greater longevity), so it would only go to reason that hams may be slightly aging too...

i think it is fair to say though that the general perception of the hobby today is that it is a bit antiquated, whereas in the 1970's it was still viewed as technologically advanced.
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N4IAG
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2019, 08:23:42 AM »

Is ham radio slowly dying?

Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Yes, it is.

 Cheesy

Except for the 30,000 new licenses issued by the FCC each year.

http://www.arrl.org/news/us-amateur-radio-population-grows-slightly-in-2018

 Wink

Yeah, but how many of these new hams even own a radio, have an HF antenna or will ever have a single QSO? The ARRL promotes getting a license for EMCOMM and saving the world. When an active ham dies do you really think he will be replaced by one of these preppers on the air? In that context, ham radio is slowly dying, literally.

Ham radio will never die completely, just as sailing and horseback riding will never die, but there will less interest and activity as time goes by.  IMHO
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I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
KB4QAA
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Posts: 3333




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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2019, 11:10:27 AM »

Is there less interest among young people in radio, and HF radio in particular?  Yes.

Is the US ham population aging?  Among HF'ers, yes.

Is ham radio dying?  No.  As long as there are two hams, it will be alive. As long as there are three hams, there will be contests.

Neither the 'success' nor the quality of ham radio is measured by how many licensees there are.

The hobby was great in the 1930's when there were 25,000 licensed US hams.  If the number declines again to 25k, it will still be a great hobby and 'alive".  

Compare how many people ride horses, or even better drive horse pulled buggies the number in 1915.  Millions fewer riders, but still a nice hobby and not 'dead".
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 11:15:23 AM by KB4QAA » Logged

KA0HCP, ex-KB4QAA Relocated to Ks. April 2019.
N9LCD
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Posts: 88




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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2019, 12:54:26 PM »

I graduated high school '65.  There were about 432 guys in the Class of '65 and 2,250 in the school.

I was active in the Radio Club in my Junior & Senior years.  There were about 10 - 12 members out of a student population of 2,250.  About 5 or 6 club members were licensed hams.

Code & licensing class were every Friday, 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Nobody "got" licensed.

When I was licensed -- Tech -- in '92, I spent a couple of months tracking "Radio Bug" -- the former club president.

"Tom, I finally passed the licensing exam.  See you on 2 meters one night."

"Jer, I BURNED OUT on Ham radio long ago.  I haven't been licensed for about 15 - 20 years now!"

Dying Out?  Maybe.

Burning out?  Yeah!  A ham gets to the point where he or she gets tired of pouring money down a hole and getting nowhere.  Then, IT'S QUITS!

Count me among the "BURNT OUT".  I now find two hours a week of serious weightlifting a heck of a lot more satisfying & relaxing than two hours on the air.
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KS2G
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Posts: 1033




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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2019, 01:17:05 PM »

Is ham radio slowly dying?

Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Yes, it is.

 Cheesy

Except for the 30,000 new licenses issued by the FCC each year.

http://www.arrl.org/news/us-amateur-radio-population-grows-slightly-in-2018

 Wink

Yeah, but how many of these new hams even own a radio, have an HF antenna or will ever have a single QSO? The ARRL promotes getting a license for EMCOMM...


I find it interesting that any time this subject comes up the Nay Sayers always point to HF.

News Flash! Interest/involvement in HF isn't a measure of the "health" of Amateur Radio.

Yes, many (most?) new licensees these days come to Amateur Radio because of their interest in using it for emergency and public service communications and they have little/no interest in HF -- and therefore little/no interest in upgrading to General of Extra. GET OVER IT!

Amateur Radio is CHANGING, not dying.  Wink

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N4IAG
Member

Posts: 97




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« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2019, 04:37:49 PM »

Is ham radio slowly dying?

Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Yes, it is.

 Cheesy

Except for the 30,000 new licenses issued by the FCC each year.

http://www.arrl.org/news/us-amateur-radio-population-grows-slightly-in-2018

 Wink

Yeah, but how many of these new hams even own a radio, have an HF antenna or will ever have a single QSO? The ARRL promotes getting a license for EMCOMM...


I find it interesting that any time this subject comes up the Nay Sayers always point to HF.

News Flash! Interest/involvement in HF isn't a measure of the "health" of Amateur Radio.

Yes, many (most?) new licensees these days come to Amateur Radio because of their interest in using it for emergency and public service communications and they have little/no interest in HF -- and therefore little/no interest in upgrading to General of Extra. GET OVER IT!

Amateur Radio is CHANGING, not dying.  Wink



Really? You admit that the majority of new hams won’t upgrade, probably won’t even operate, and their primary interest is waiting for doomsday or assisting trained personnel with their walkie-talkies and blinking lights. And you think that’s healthy for the hobby?

You say vhf/uhf is the future, not HF. Good. Maybe all the dead repeaters will now spring to life.

But you’re right, ham radio is changing.  Wink
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I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
W7ASA
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Posts: 541




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« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 05:01:38 PM »

So many quips targeting self made  'strawman' assumptions, yet so few reasoned debates of facts and well reasoned thoughts.
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