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Author Topic: Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – 5 Part Series  (Read 4482 times)

Posts: 25

« on: April 11, 2013, 11:41:11 AM »

When I was sitting back remembering how Ham – Amateur – Radio changed my life the other day it is a pretty remarkable story. I think my story is for another time but thinking about it made me want to sit back and give back to the hobby that I love so much and has done so much for me.

The best way I thought today was to think of ways we could work together and Save Ham Radio together. I of course am in no way saying I have all the ideas or answers and I would love to hear from others but I thought I would start with my opinions.

Ham Radio isn’t dead for sure: Radio Days Are Back: Ham Radio Licenses at an All-Time High | Fox News

But are we doing all we could to promote Ham Radio to a generation that loves technology. They are glued to their tables and smartphones – they love to text and communicate. I bet – with the right motivation and experiences many of them would be interested in Ham Radio.

Over the next few weeks I am going to sit down and provide the roadmap that I have followed to help give exposure to others on radio, the safety and emergency communications aspect and the pure fun of building something new.

My first part of this series is on Sharing Ham Radio News with others:

Part One of Series –

Posts: 22

« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 03:03:18 PM »

Great post, I look forward to the rest of the series.


Posts: 6251

« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 05:14:39 AM »

I wouldn't start saying radio days are back until I looked at the rate of amateur radio licensing and the rise of the number of ham licenses versus the population growth.  I've been meaning to do just that, but it isn't at the top of my list right now.

I venture (no, I'm not certain) that the US population is growing faster than the ham radio licensees are.

Posts: 20


« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 06:55:41 PM »

It's a noble cause Nick and I hope you succeed.  The problem, as I see it, is getting younger people involved.  I believe most of the growth in our ranks is Baby Boomers, who will be gone in a generation.

73,  Ron.

Posts: 547

« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2013, 08:03:48 PM »

If you read old QSTs or CQ magazines, you will find a common thread about the decline of Ham Radio.  They have been saying it for years or decades in fact.  I know that that young people are not getting involved like they did during the 'early days of radio' but what is it that will make them think of Ham Radio.  I had an older gentleman ask me what it was I had mounted on the back of my pick up truck. When I told him it was an antenna for ham radio or amateur radio he looked at me and said what is that.  I asked him if he remembered when growing up, the guy somewhere down the block who had that big tower in his back yard and caused your TV go go out on the blink?  He said yes and then said "they still do that?"  So, my point is this; it may not be a problem of getting younger people involved, it may be more of getting the general public to know about Ham Radio and what we can do.  I don't mean just talking to people in far away places, I mean using computers to talk to others in far away places, the International Space station using ham radio, and the fact that ham radio is in the public intrest.  We need to talk up Amateur Radio and what one can do with it, not for the person doing the talking but for the person doing the listening.  What is it that they are looking for.

Rick  wn2c

Posts: 528

« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 12:01:37 AM »

Apparently there were complaints about the lack of young people entering ham radio prior to WW2. See May 2013 QST, p98, in "75 years ago."

There certainly were those complaints in the UK in 1948......

One Past President of RGSB commented to me that there never were that many young people entering ham radio......he was a teacher by profession, too.

So the complaint seems to be a hardy perennial.

Posts: 6251

« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 12:12:14 PM »

Oh for crying out loud.  Ham radio is a niche hobby.  It attracts some, but not all.  Some of those stay, others leave.  Some come back others have been around since God knows when.  Ham radio is always on the decline, then it's always picking back up--while all the time it's just holding its own. 

It's never going to need saving, since it will never totally go away.  It's simply a hobby that appeals to a select few that has stood the test of time.  Cell phones have been around for over twenty years now (I say this because cell phones--right now, anyway--are the ultimate personal communications device) and ham radio STILL has not died off.  It never will, either.

Posts: 53


« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 04:15:00 PM »

Ham radio is a hobby in relative decline.  I don't think that's a huge problem (even if it may not be our wishes).  It seems that there is still a decent inflow of new hams to keep the hobby vibrant and interesting.

The reality is that the Internet replaces a lot of the things that ham radio can do.  Communicating across the world is no longer expensive nor difficult.

Does that mean that there is no point to ham radio?  Of course not!  It's still fun - and it's as direct a contact as you can have with another person short of them actually hearing your voice directly from your mouth.  Many are going to enjoy the technical challenges of it.  Many are going to be attracted to the ability to easily meet likeminded people and to make friends across the world.

I just got my license a few days ago - I don't feel at all that I'm wasting my time.  To the contrary, I'm looking forward to getting my HF privileges so that I can make these distant contacts.  Speaking to someone in Australia over the air is far more appealing to me than chatting with an Aussie on IRC or sending him an email.  I'm also hoping that I can make some on-air contacts in places that I visit regularly, like Toronto and San Diego, and in places that I plan to visit soon, like Australia.

This ignores the emergency communication potential of ham radio which obviously has some benefit.  But we need the fun element to attract people to the hobby and to then be available for the emergency communications role.

It's not a hobby for everyone - many people won't want to take the time to get a license (which, even now that it's simpler than ever in many countries, is still an investment in time and effort).  But if we can keep advocating the hobby and trying to interest people who might benefit from it, it'll continue to be around for a very long time.
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