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Manager - N2MG
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Survey Question

Question

Why do newer hams fail to become truly active? Pick your best answer and elaborate (and remain civil please!)

Results (778 answers)

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Survey Comments

Lack of good propagation,
Apartment living,
Lack of Real Estate space,
Deed restrictions,
Other technologies,
There are many valid reasons.
W5IDX


Posted by W5IDX on 2018-05-22

Other Modes

When we were sitting around at coffee break the other day at work, the team discovered that I am a ham. They asked about how big the antennas are, how far I can make contacts and how to buy radios. The biggest interest seemed to be in the non-voice modes (I guess as others have stated, talking on a cellphone has that already covered for the newer generations). I answered a few other questions about digital modes and QRP too. In fact the topic that was most interesting to them was CW! Yes, it was. and the fact that it can get through when voice cannot. I was surprised at how many of them had heard about Morse code and its effectiveness, how it was no longer mandatory for water vessels and military, etc, but it is a lot of fun. Their interest in the CW topic was a surprising eye-opener for me.
Posted by VE3WGO on 2018-04-28

Survey Comment

Well, the best one to comment on this is a newly licensed ham that did not pursue the hobby. Just like any hobby, interest is intense at the beginning they either continue or move on. So, the question to a new Ham, is "Why are you interested in Ham Radio?"
I have been a ham since 1968 and what peeked my interest verses a new ham today is likely to be different. A long distance call used to be a big deal, now you can talk, text or social media all over the world. I remember, not too long ago, that people would ask me, "How far can you talk?", well that just does not have the same meaning anymore, nor do I get that question. For example, I have had many people say to me that Ham Radio is not useful anymore, with cellphones, etc. In fact, I had to make a BIG sales pitch to include Ham Radio in a local running event, the Race director was not the least bit interested, since she felt cellphones would meet emergency needs. Personally, I would have to agree, that obtaining a license is easier now thus there is a percentage of new hams that are likely to never be active. 73, Tim WA5YOM
Posted by WA5YOM on 2018-04-19

Survey Comment

Well, the best one to comment on this is a newly licensed ham that did not pursue the hobby. Just like any hobby, interest is intense at the beginning they either continue or move on. So, the question to a new Ham, is "Why are you interested in Ham Radio?"
I have been a ham since 1968 and what peeked my interest verses a new ham today is likely to be different. A long distance call used to be a big deal, now you can talk, text or social media all over the world. I remember, not too long ago, that people would ask me, "How far can you talk?", well that just does not have the same meaning anymore, nor do I get that question. For example, I have had many people say to me that Ham Radio is not useful anymore, with cellphones, etc. In fact, I had to make a BIG sales pitch to include Ham Radio in a local running event, the Race director was not the least bit interested, since she felt cellphones would meet emergency needs. Personally, I would have to agree, that obtaining a license is easier now thus there is a percentage of new hams that are likely to never be active. 73, Tim WA5YOM
Posted by WA5YOM on 2018-04-19

Lack of activity on the air

I'm a new technician - have had my license for about a month. In that time, I've only made five or six voice contacts because 10 meters and 6 meters are not active at all in my area of the country.

On the other hand, I've made a hundred or so contacts via CW on the portion of 40 meters that I'm permitted to use. I'm fortunate and enjoy CW, especially with the help of HRD / DM780 / Signalink USB!

I'll be getting my General in a month or so and am looking forward to participating in some HF nets and am really looking forward to operating digital modes on active bands.

Like any other hobby, hamming is what you make of it.

73s! KN4KXA

Posted by KN4KXA on 2018-04-18

Inactive Hams

1. They are so called peppers and only got licensed to get a radio, and have shelved it
for the end of the world to arrive.

2. They haven't learned enough of what they want to learn to feel comfortable enough
to operate. Buy the ARRL operating manual, in my humble opinion, it is PRICELESS!! I
am learning more about things I am interested in than I could from the Elmers I have
available to me. I know from the Extra exam, that JT-65 is for EME communications.
But what are the details fo JT-65, how does it work, what do I need to start doing it?
The book lays it out in nice details and makes it simple to understand.

ARRL has a 3 book special if you buy the handbook and the antenna book, you get the
operating manual for like free. 3 books every ham should have as they say.

3. Having a Ham license doesn't make you a Ham, even having the Amateur Extra
ticket, is just a license to learn. I am finding out there is a lot to learn!

Elmer's need to find out what captures a Ham's interest, and guide the Ham in that
direction. He may be the wrong Elmer for that Ham, and he may need to direct him to
another Elmer.

Contesting may be fun for some, but there are others that would just like to rag chew
for a few minutes and swap QSL cards.
Posted by KK4RIY on 2018-04-18

3 issues

1. If I wanted to listen to a bunch of
old folks complain about their medical
issues and rant about how all Mexicans
should be shot, I'd just go to my local
Elks club. At least they serve really
good booze. Boorish idiots spraying their
politics all over the airwaves is a huge
problem, especially for younger hams who
don't share the viewpoints of those
ranting, whether anyone wants to
acknowledge it or not.

2. HF is unworkable unless you live on a
plot of land where your neighbors can't
see you. Oh, I can put a great HF antenna
in my backyard. There's nothing my
neighbors can legally do about it. But
they'd be pretty upset. Problem is, I
like them and enjoy their company. Not
going to throw away twenty year
relationships to stick a spiderweb of wire
in my backyard. That's a solvable problem
but a difficult one. (The answer appears
to be magloop, for now). Manufacturers
need to step up their game regarding HF
antennas that aren't seemingly designed to
send neighbors into fits.

3. Anyone under fifty (and probably a few
over) are working with computers. Please
don't respond to my questions about FT8
and soundcard interfaces with rants about
Morse and tubes. I don't care about your
antique tech, I'm trying to do something
interesting that hasn't been done a
million times before. Remember, silence
is the best cover for ignorance.
Posted by KK6HUY on 2018-04-17

So Who Needs An Elmer...?

Back when I got licensed some 47 years ago now, the very
first operating Ham station that I ever physically laid my
eyes and hands upon was --- MY OWN.

I never had any Elmer, as such --- although in hindsight,
it probably woulda been a nice, easy way to get a ticket.

But you make-do, with whatever resource(s) you might
have on hand --- and the best resource in this regard is
surely your very own, inner determination to somehow
"make it," on your own or otherwise...
Posted by VE3CUI on 2018-04-15

Truly active

I think we need to define first what does
it mean "truly active". One of the
questions on the test is "What is HAM
service for?", to which the answer is "for
self-study or technical studies" (at least
in my country).

Therefore an 'active' HAM is that one who
in their time work DX QSOs, upgrades their
rig all day long, who attends field days
and contests, etc. ?
In my opinion, that's all part of the
hobby, but not the main or the most
important part to everybody.

I'm almost 15 years on the air, but did my
exams only 2 years ago. Why? For me it's
simple - I needed some frequency space
where I can play with digital modes. As
for the company, I find the CB, PMR446 and
LPD433 enthusiasts much more sincere and
easier to talk to in general. Most HAM
encounters on 2m here start with "QRO! I
can't hear you." which brings me to
another paragraph.

I voted that existing HAM operators are
off-putting, which is partly true - by
that I don't mean rag-chewing, but guys
and gals that had their thing going on for
10, 20, 30+ years, they start by telling
you how long have they been doing it, who
have a group of friends on 80m and not
really want to talk to anyone else.
Another group would talk all day long
about weather, what they had for dinner,
how their marriage suck, etc.

Posted by ANDREW30 on 2018-04-15

Lack of Activity

Many newer hams are on the upper bands (10M and up),
mostly on 2M. They gravitate to repeaters. Cheap Chinese
hands-talkies abet the situation.

Yet, as there is so little activity on repeaters, they find little
reason to proceed. Kerchunking does not raise another station.
Trained to not call CQ on repeaters, they remain silent.

How about calling on the repeater "This is XX3BBB. Anyone
around?" Mike fright deters that.

But do it once, and see how easier it is to make the second call
and a new QSO!

Hey, repeater monitors: Give a response!

73, GL, and welcome.

VE1YY
Posted by VE1YY on 2018-04-14

Every Day

I have been hamming since 1957, just at the beginning of my
teen years.

The hobby has changed.

Yet, it still is the greatest hobby in the world!

My secrets to happy times? Like meeting people and sharing
ideas; try different modes and bands; challenge yourself to
test newer technologies; build something; and, keep the XYL
engaged in what you are doing and how you enjoy the hobby.

73,

VE1YY
Posted by VE1YY on 2018-04-14

Elmering(lack thereof )

I have been continuously licensed & active
for 61 years. It is my opinion, based upon
personal experience, that while Ham Radio
clubs have provided excellent tutoring for
persons interested in getting licensed, &
have enjoyed great success with same, it
ends there. Once licensed , the new ham is
on his/her own. We as a group, speaking in
generalities, usually fail to provide one
on one instruction in setting up a station
(physical hook ups, inter connects,
accessory attachments etc) & the erection
of a suitable antenna with which to "get
on the air". Generally, we also fail to
talk people through their first few
contacts. There are of course, exceptions.
I have been called upon numerous times to
sort out a "getting on the air" problem, &
found simple problems to be usual. A 75
metre dipole that the varnish on the wire
had not been removed before soldering. A
few minutes job to repair. Controls or
switches improperly adjusted etc. I offer
my observations not as criticism, but as a
"heads up" for the next course
instructors, who may never have thought
about the start up problem s for a new
ham. Thanks for reading this, & vy 73 de
Brian, VE6XX
Posted by VE6XX on 2018-04-13

Server comment

Tomorrow,on April fourteenth, I will be taking my tech
test. I hope that I will never “outgrow” ham radio.
Posted by TYLER on 2018-04-13

Many OM do not like new ideas!

73, Alfred, OE5AKM
Posted by OE5AKM on 2018-04-11

Survey

I tried all day to find someone to talk
to- but I don't believe I was doing it
right- so the problem may have been my own
lack of experience- In the evening I found
a "net" out of The Pasadena Radio club and
the woman running the net was so very nice
and made me feel much better that my new
radio and brand new call sign worked.
Tonight I am going to join a local club
and try and get involved- maybe because
I'm older and retired that I think this is
going to be great hobby. So far I'm a
happy camper. So mewer (younger) folks may
be too used to instant everything and when
it's not- they just move on- just my 2
cents
Posted by KM6RWB on 2018-04-11

Long term view

From my perspective, you could pick one
(or more) reasons for why a given
individual is not active with ham radio.

I have been licensed most of the years
since 1963 and had to put in a fair amount
of effort over several years and also the
expense to visit the distant FCC examining
site in the Twin Cities for my General,
GROL, and then Extra.

Many years later, my wife, who is totally
not technically oriented, was able to take
local exams, without code, and receive
Tech, then General, and eventually her
Extra.

Neither of us are very active now, and our
daughter let her Technician Class license
expire. Our family used to use ham radio
for activities, to keep in contact, such
as when travelling or on bike rides or
needing emergency help which happened
several times before the availability of
cellphones or in areas that cellphones did
not work.

In the past, I have been active with many
VE test sessions in several locations that
I have lived, and held a number of classes
for the Technician and a few for the
General class to get new and upgrading
hams licensed. Also, have been active with
a local club (now defunct) and active with
emergency communications with local
government which is now very minimal.

While the cost of basic ham equipment is
much lower than what it cost years ago,
the equipment is also much better compared
to the past. (Multiply by about 8 times to
compare 1960's prices to today).

But, you do have to have a certain level
of commitment to spend money for a new
hobby, so expense is relative for each
person to decide. (Compare ham radio to
buying a snowmobile which may only be used
a few (or this year zero) weeks each year.

Over the past 50+ years, I definitely have
seen:
- an overall reduced commitment of new
entrants
- less interest in advancing to higher
class licenses for HF operation
- less experimenting and building and that
even includes basic antennas which are low
cost
- less participation in traffic handling
and net activity

We have had some new entrants tell me they
only did it to see if they could get a
license (which they later let expire) and
others primarily get licensed for
potential use as a prepper but then don't
really prepare by actually using ham
radio.

We all know how technology has drastically
eclipsed much of what ham radio had to
offer at one time that was simply not
available any other way.

Ironically, our family is considering GMRS
because of the availability of newer
transceivers that are reasonably priced
and with one license (now good for 10
years instead of only 5) and even though
somewhat pricey, is good for the entire
family, and many relatives (parents, kids,
grandparents, in laws, etc). Detachable
gain antennas can still be used with
powers on UHF up to 50 watts output.

Even FRS is now allowed to increase power
to 2 watts ERP, but no external antennas.
Some of the other recent changes in the
rules mean that non-family friends can
intercommunicate on most of the channels
between FRS and GMRS.

This makes it practical to use between
family members when traveling, camping,
especially in remote areas where the
ubiquitous cellphone is useless. Almost
none of these family members would have
any interest in a ham license so ham radio
can not be used for such family
activities.

Having said that, GMRS is also rarely used
in my rural area so you are mostly going
to use it for the above mentioned
activities and not to contact others like
you do in ham radio. But you have
relatively private communications much of
the time.

So ham radio is definitely challenged from
when I started out. It still has a place,
but not as prominent as it once held.
Posted by MGW1963 on 2018-04-10

Simple Answer is...

Video games, cell phones and the general dumbing down of society.
Posted by KT0DD on 2018-04-08

New hams

As with any hobby unless you're TRULY into it you'll not
find a way to justify the cost in time, effort and money
regardless of elmering. on the other hand when the bug
bites people seek out and ask questions and that's when
the elmering becomes paramount.
Posted by N3LTX on 2018-04-08

Old hams not friendly

The other day I heard a new ham tell a 1X2 that this was his first HF contact. The 1X2 answered, "59 in Texas, 73." That is why they don't stick around.

Ham radio is becoming less friendly. New hams are made to feel "less than". People want to belong to hobbies where they are made to feel welcome. If these arrogant old fools would drop the "you don't know code" stuff and try to help the hobby a little we would keep a whole lot more people.
Posted by KC7MF on 2018-04-07

OWNING THE FREQUENCY

I was down in the extra portion of 40 meter phone a while back listened and heard nothing for 15 minutes. I Asked if the freq was in use someone came back and said yes it is. I listened for 5 or 10 more minutes and heard nothing and again asked if the freq was in use. Same person came back and said yes it is with no ID. I asked for his call sign and heard nothing so I called CQ and a guy came back to me and we were having a great QSO until all the carriers and music playing began. We both just gave up and signed. Silence after we stopped talking. Now that is off putting. Like the channel masters back in the 1970's CB craze. Redneck roundup. It's a shame this hobby has degraded this much. Good luck with this mess.
Posted by BOOMBA on 2018-04-07

Off Putting

When I was first licensed, I would pass by a
Ham's house to see if I could catch him
outside. Finally seen him outside and
stopped to talk to him. What a pompous
arrogant person he was. I left disappointed.
Joined a club,most,not all thought they were
something special. I tried telling them
about JT65, nobody would listen. I quit the
club. Imagine my surprise to see them
working FT8, I thought WSJT-X was sooooo far
beneath their level of superiority.
Posted by KC9RNK on 2018-04-06

Survey

Many new hams are not really interested in radio . My
daughter and spouse went to a weekend class and
came out with a tech plus ticket just on a lark. They don’t
a thing about radios or electronics and have never had a
single qso but still show up on the data base.
K5jyd
Posted by K5JYD on 2018-04-03

COST OF HAM GEAR

It's not just the cost of ham gear, especially for HF, but everything that goes with it. ESPECIALLY ANTENNAS!

I was discussing antennas with another ham and he suggested one of those flag pole vertical antennas in the front yard.

Then there's the concrete base for the antenna. Conduit through the wall of the house for the RF feed, AC power for the tuning motor and the control lines.

Digging up the front lawn for an awfully small and irregulary shaped radial field. Then restoring the front lawn.

What started out as about $800 for the antenna delivered had BALLOONED to about $4,000.

We're standing out in front and discussing the size and layout of the radial field when I ask:

"HEY WHAT ABOUT A FENCE SO NOBODY CAN TOUCH THE ANTENNA WHILE I'M ON THE AIR?"

DUHHH!

ANOTHER $3,000 FOR THE FENCE.

PARTING ADVICE: "MAY BE YOU SHOULD JUST STICK TO YOUR HT!"

MORAL OF THE STORY: IT'S ALWAYS EASY TO GET ON THE AIR WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR $$$$$$.
Posted by N9LCD on 2018-04-03

I was trying to get involved on this site. I posted that I could not use the battery in my Honda fit to power my Icom 706 as the battery is too small to let me pull 20 amps. the other person was telling me I was wrong, I have the car and the battery so I know it wont work. I put a full size marine battery in the car to power the radio, works great. I saw no reason for me to be told I was wrong and don't want interactions like that. He could have said a lot of constructive ideas but he was positive I was wrong
Posted by KF6DBZ on 2018-04-01

A MESS

I think off-putting hams is a rather tame description of what you hear on the air now days. Horrific language intentional QRM I mean it sounds like CB radio. And no enforcement of rules. As a new ham listening why would I want to jump into that mess?
Posted by BOOMBA on 2018-03-31

Boring, expensive, reward null

Solid-state assembled radios killed radio-communications. My view is that in past times you could experiment much more than today, buildind REAL radios with an Elmer's help. Today's electronics are boring and not cheap, depending on where you live. No way to grab discarded components and homebrew something on top of vacuum tubes and variable air caps. Buying a new MF/HF transceiver in current propagation conditions is nothing but a waste of money. Building a second-hand station is very risky and not even cheap, aren't many sellers greedy? Digital modes, HT, VHF, UHF are ersatz of radio-communications. Arduino etc...give me a break! Amateur-radio as I idealized it is a dying hobby.

Oliver, rant mode
Posted by PU2OZT on 2018-03-31

I wish we had the option to check more than one.
Posted by W7WQ on 2018-03-30

Talked down to

I worked for eleven years in an
architectural and engineering office. I
worked - from an executive secretary - up to
the office IT person, purchasing agent,
trainer, project tracker, and budget
tracker.

I volunteer by managing the IT for a library
computer lab and their Wi Fi and do a
newsletter.

Years ago, I went to a repeater club
meeting. Not one officer introduced him or
herself to me.

Lots of hams think lack of knowledge in ham
radio matters translates into lack of
knowledge-period. I went to one meeting, a
few years back, and felt like I was treated
as a total dummy.



Posted by KD7AWG on 2018-03-30

Fiction, Facebook & funny!

There are some that get a license only to
hide behind it. They believe having a
license legitimizes their illegal CB
equipment.//
Posted by KG4CLD on 2018-03-30

Lack of ?

Lack of commitment and lack of ethical and pioneering standards. They seem to want/need everything handed to them instead of working hard to learn all about ham radio and helping others in need such as other hams newly entering the hobby.
Posted by N2AYM on 2018-03-29

Other


A couple of additional choices like "Disgusted by QRMers and other lids" and
"I don't know" would have been nice. Also, it would be nice to see how the "inactive" hams answered, rather than active hams who may be engaged in sheer speculation. Me, I don't know. I'm sure the given choices are all valid, but for all I know there may be others.
Posted by WA4FOM on 2018-03-29

Elmering

Can we please get rid of this stupid term "Eldering"
and "Elmer." No one outside of ham radio knows what
it means. Let's start using generally understood
English terms like "mentor" and "mentoring" so the
rest of the world can understand what we say and
write.
Posted by WB8NUT on 2018-03-28

A flash in the pan

I think a lot of these guys see it for the
first time, might think it is interesting, but
finally get bored with it and find another
hobby. These are the consummate "new hobby
seekers" who try and take part in as many
different hobbies before they die.
Posted by WA8MEA on 2018-03-28

New Hams not really "ACTIVE'

Amateur equipment really is too expensive in the US,I wish I knew people in the Armed Forces that could buy the stuff dirt cheap in Japan Yaesu ,Icom & the like & ship it to me just like the 'ol days with audiophile grade hi-fi equip. 73's KB3WGE Tucson,AZ. p.s. I'M doin my best to share & advocate the fun & praciticality of Amateur Radio to newbies
Posted by KB3WGE on 2018-03-28

VE3CUI Correct Correct

To Edward VE3CUI

Yes, you are 100% correct....

And through the hard word on obtaining the
license, came knowledge, commitment,
discipline, which in my case resulted a 42
year career in satellite communications

If given the same circumstances, whereas I
was 15 years old, and took the exam (Today),
I would never be able to launch a career in
satellite communications...

Back in 1973 I had to read to much material,
and had to understand a ton of
information...and drill down on the
understanding fundamentals, to this very day,
I carry these understanding in communication,
and engineering..

And the code, one can argue not needed, but
just the fact you had to pass the exam show
character commitment and discipline...

I am not saying today's Ham are any less of a
Ham than those of yesterday, I am saying
since the exams are easier, no code, takes
away the satisfaction of passing such a hard
exam, and in my case a career.

We all know why the exams became easier. The
simple fact that Ham manufacturers needed to
sell equipment, hard core lobbyist for these
manufactures pushed for lowering the
standards..This may back fire, as it may had
provided short term sales, but as we can see,
the new ham operators are not active(No
Sales),...If they kept the standards higher,
maybe the numbers of Ham operators would be
lower, but the new Ham operators would
actually stay in the hobby and buy the Ham
equipment.

I will see you on the bands...

Best

Tom, NN2X







Posted by NN2X on 2018-03-27

VE3CUI Correct Correct

To Edward VE3CUI

Yes, you are 100% correct....

And through the hard word on obtaining the
license, came knowledge, commitment,
discipline, which in my case resulted a 42
year career in satellite communications

If given the same circumstances, whereas I
was 15 years old, and took the exam (Today),
I would never be able to launch a career in
satellite communications...

Back in 1973 I had to read to much material,
and had to understand a ton of
information...and drill down on the
understanding fundamentals, to this very day,
I carry these understanding in communication,
and engineering..

And the code, one can argue not needed, but
just the fact you had to pass the exam show
character commitment and discipline...

I am not saying today's Ham are any less of a
Ham than those of yesterday, I am saying
since the exams are easier, no code, takes
away the satisfaction of passing such a hard
exam, and in my case a career.

We all know why the exams became easier. The
simple fact that Ham manufacturers needed to
sell equipment, hard core lobbyist for these
manufactures pushed for lowering the
standards..This may back fire, as it may had
provided short term sales, but as we can see,
the new ham operators are not active(No
Sales),...If they kept the standards higher,
maybe the numbers of Ham operators would be
lower, but the new Ham operators would
actually stay in the hobby and buy the Ham
equipment.

I will see you on the bands...

Best

Tom, NN2X







Posted by NN2X on 2018-03-27

VE3CUI Correct Correct

To Edward VE3CUI

Yes, you are 100% correct....

And through the hard word on obtaining the
license, came knowledge, commitment,
discipline, which in my case resulted a 42
year career in satellite communications

If given the same circumstances, whereas I
was 15 years old, and took the exam (Today),
I would never be able to launch a career in
satellite communications...

Back in 1973 I had to read to much material,
and had to understand a ton of
information...and drill down on the
understanding fundamentals, to this very day,
I carry these understanding in communication,
and engineering..

And the code, one can argue not needed, but
just the fact you had to pass the exam show
character commitment and discipline...

I am not saying today's Ham are any less of a
Ham than those of yesterday, I am saying
since the exams are easier, no code, takes
away the satisfaction of passing such a hard
exam, and in my case a career.

We all know why the exams became easier. The
simple fact that Ham manufacturers needed to
sell equipment, hard core lobbyist for these
manufactures pushed for lowering the
standards..This may back fire, as it may had
provided short term sales, but as we can see,
the new ham operators are not active(No
Sales),...If they kept the standards higher,
maybe the numbers of Ham operators would be
lower, but the new Ham operators would
actually stay in the hobby and buy the Ham
equipment.

I will see you on the bands...

Best

Tom, NN2X







Posted by NN2X on 2018-03-27

Ham Radio Isn't Just a Hobby Anymore:

My fellow amateur radio operators, a lot
has been said on this issue a lot of good
points have been made it is in my humble
opinion however the biggest issue of
retaining people into amateur radio is the
testing. It has become so easy to test and
get the license at the same time the
expectations are so high by the new people
coming in I don't think they can balance
themselves out. I had to earn my license
therefore I appreciate my license I had to
earn my upgrade therefore I appreciate my
upgrade. I've done considerable reading on
the numbers associated with new licensees
coming in and going out along with old
licensees going out and it's just a simple
matter of people either losing interest
getting too ill to stay at it or being
disappointed that it's not what they
thought it was going to be. I am totally
for assisting new amateur radio operators
helping them get settled into the pan that
they want to take. However they do need to
show some interest and respect for the
amateur radio service. Now, I do use
amateur radio as a hobby as do many others
purpose of amateur radio is however a
service it is a service that we all commit
to making available should the need arise.
It is also Our obligation and I do mean
Our obligation to ensure that amateur
radio does not become just another walkie-
talkie. That is my two cents worth. I am
very disappointed that the ARRL want to
now make it even easier for amateur radio
enthusiast by expanding privileges for
Technician class licenses, their attempts
to reduce or eliminate the need for
licensing has already proven to be quite a
failure as far as the quality and
dependability of amateur radio enthusiasm
and now here they go again furthered
aggravating the amateur radio service with
this type of proposal and it only makes
one Wonder how long before you don't even
need a license and it reverts back to some
of the other services that have failed due
to this kind of logic.
Posted by KW5M on 2018-03-26

Ham Radio Isn't Just a Hobby Anymore:

My fellow amateur radio operators, a lot
has been said on this issue, a lot of good
points have been made, it is in my humble
opinion however, the biggest issue of
retaining people into amateur radio is the
testing. It has become so easy to test and
get the license,no one respect it. at the
same time the expectations are so high by
the new people coming in I don't think the
two can balance themselves out. I had to
earn my license therefore I appreciate my
license I had to earn my upgrade therefore
I appreciate my upgrade. I've done
considerable reading on the numbers
associated with new licensees coming in
and going out along with old licensees
going out and it's just a simple matter of
people either losing interest, getting too
ill to stay at it or being disappointed
that it's not what they thought it was
going to be. I am totally for assisting
new amateur radio operators, helping them
get settled into the path that they want
to take. However, they do need to show
some interest and respect for the amateur
radio service. Now, I do use amateur radio
as a hobby as do many others, the purpose
of amateur radio is however a service. it
is a service that we all commit to making
available, should the need arise. It is
also Our obligation and I do mean Our
obligation to ensure that amateur radio
does not become just another walkie-talkie
service. That is my two cents worth. I am
very disappointed that the ARRL wants to
now make it even easier for amateur radio
enthusiast by expanding privileges for
Technician class licenses, their attempts
to reduce or eliminate the need for
licensing has already proven to be quite a
failure as far as the quality and
dependability of amateur radio enthusiast
and now here they go again further
aggravating the amateur radio service with
this type of proposal and it only makes
one wander how long before you don't even
need a license and it reverts back to the
likes of some of the other services that
have failed due to this kind of logic.
Posted by KW5M on 2018-03-26

Lack of Finances

I have served at 100 VE sessions and have Elmered a few individuals. I believe the root cause of minimal interest in HF operations is lack of finances. The ability to buy a HF capable property and to equip the station is beyond the vast majority of those newly licensed.
The Golden Years of enhanced propagation are only a memory for a few aged former operators.
I enjoy the challenge of HF contacts both Digital and Phone. VHF / UHF FM repeaters used to be the GLUE that held a local community together.
At age 71, Hopefully, I have what I consider reasonable expectations for the next two decades of my Amateur Radio operations.My DXCC Entities count is 196, I don't expect to get to 200! I can no longer find myself chasing DXpeditions or prolonged contest operations. I have been fortunate to understand some of the technical aspects of the hobby. My built my first HF Transceiver KIT in 1961.Just as water seeks it's own level, newly licensed operators will gravitate to some level of FINANCIALLY based activity. 73 Joe O, K I 5 F J, NNNN
Posted by KI5FJ on 2018-03-25

It's up to us... Engage and be nice.

For those of us who already in the hobby,

We need to mentor and make newbies feel welcome and get them
engaged. Cranky old crotchety hams hurt and cheapen the
hobby they so deeply love. Keep it up angry OMs and you'll
see your radio sport go right down the tubes.

There are big changes on the near horizon which I've had
mixed feelings about myself, but I've decided it's a good
thing to give the Tech class operators somewhere other than
10 meters to operate on. Especially while propagation is so
poor. I for one will be working the Technician portion of
the bands and looking for newbies to engage. I know there
are lots of us who will join in.

vy. 73 --KZ4P
Posted by KZ4P on 2018-03-25

Crotchety Ol' Codgers...

There were ALWAYS "...crotchety old guys" in the ranks of
Ham radio --- even when I started-out in 1971…they
were generally the guys who held vintage, original 2-letter
suffixed call-signs, to everyone else's three letter calls.

But did THAT beat any of us "newbies" into submission…?
Hardly. We all went about our ways, absorbing all of the
OTHER aspects that Ham radio had to offer --- and never
looked back.

What a great pity that to-day's newcomers are all so
seemingly frail & fragile when it might come to their
individual make-up. A great shame that the psyches &
egos of this latest generation are so very easily crushed &
disposable, at the very first sign of any discourse, isn't
it…?

~73~ de Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ


Posted by VE3CUI on 2018-03-25

Survey comment

Too bad there weren't multiple choices available on this one.

For people like me, ham equipment is extremely expensive. If you're one of the 'new radio every 6-
months' crowd, you may not understand this. But a positive aspect of this challenging situation is
that I've learned to love experimenting with parts I scavenge from other equipment and try getting
that on the air.

I really *really* wished that there had been an Elmer to help me when I started out (or even now).
At the time I got my license, life was extremely challenging and looking back, it's a wonder I got
into the service/hobby at all.

In my experience, other hams that I've reached out to for help, advice or even just a reply back to
e-mails, have been less than friendly. Maybe one person in twenty have replied to me when I
contacted them through e-mail or similar. I have not yet had any HF contacts, so e-mail or through
ham-radio websites is the only way for me so far.

While I don't necessarily have 'mic fright', I *do* have an auditory-processing deficiency due to a
disability. I've known how to *send* CW since I was a young person, but copying it is extremely
difficult.

Blessings and 73! :-)

Will B. - AF7EC
Posted by AF7EC on 2018-03-25

Survey

I notice “Lack of Elmering” is ranking highest.
Personally, I disagree with that view. Far too many of the
new hams I’ve encountered cop an attitude when you try
to elmer them, whether on air, in person, or in a forum.
Granted, it’s not all new folks, there are those who
genuinly want to learn, and appreciate the help.

As for being expensive, again, I disagree. Someone new
to amateur radio can get into a good used HF rig for
under $500. Granted, it may take some a little time to
save up for it, but you don’t have to drop a grand or
more on your first radio. You also don’t need an
expensive amp or beam antenna either. LEARN from
building your own dipole or other wire antennas. Also,
there are some hams who are willing to lend out an HF
rig to someone just starting out to get their feet wet.
Posted by W8LGZ on 2018-03-25

Not Enough Activity?

Many new hams seem to picture a 2 meter HT as "the essence" of ham radio these days. And if the repeater is silent, they think no hams are around, then give up. It would be good if new hams were to think of HF bands as much as they think of 2 Meters, so they would be inclined to be more optimistic about how much activity there actually is on the air, and a lot of it is beyond the horizon!
Posted by VE3WGO on 2018-03-24

Easy to obtain the Ham Ticket

It took me 12 months of study of theory
and code to pass the Tech, General,
Advance, and another 12 months or more to
pass the Extra.

After the above disciplined of passing,
and going through all the steps, you had
to be enthusiastic about Ham radio..

It was not just something you were
interested over a bored weekend, you had
to be truly committed, which therefore
produced Ham operators that once passed
stayed with the hobby..


Posted by NN2X on 2018-03-24

Easy to obtain the Ham Ticket

It took me 12 months of study of theory
and code to pass the Tech, General,
Advance, and another 12 months or more to
pass the Extra.

After the above disciplined of passing,
and going through all the steps, you had
to be enthusiastic about Ham radio..

It was not just something you were
interested over a bored weekend, you had
to be truly committed, which therefore
produced Ham operators that once passed
stayed with the hobby..


Posted by NN2X on 2018-03-24

You have to Elmer Elmer and Elmer. Else, you will loose them to the instant gratification of today's smart phones. Code is a challenge - dare them. It is nearly a secret language - inform them.

Get them on the air on HF with a simple modern rig and a dipole or two. Show them how to get certificates (nearly instant gratification) on a Saturday afternoon.

If they are technical minded, intro them to digital. If social, get them going on rag chewing. Don't scare them with DX and all the garbage there.

Invite them to your station - make them part of what you are going. Don't just sit them into a chair and ignore them. They will not understand and quickly bore.

I started with a handbook and no ham Elmer over 60 years ago. It was hard - small rural town.

CB radio of the day taught me a lot - including the value of Elmers. I soon had friends on the CB radio - many of them went on to ham radio with me. Some I still talk to all these years later. I went on to get my commercial licenses and actually used them.

Once licensed, they have to be nurtured. Else they will perish.
Posted by W2BLC on 2018-03-23

Whining

Way too many keep preaching how new hams are not real hams.

They followed the rules and did what was required. How can they not be real hams?
Posted by W9FIB on 2018-03-23

Didn't Really Wanna Be A Ham In The FIRST Place...

Are you KIDDING me…!

When I first got my ticket in 1971, it was a REAL personal
challenge & battle for me: the Department of
Transportation (our licensing body here in Canada at the
time) required that I pass a minimum 10 WPM code
sending & receiving test, draw 7 schematic diagrams of
radio gear from memory (non-superhet receivers & one-
tube 1929 Hartley oscillator rigs need NOT apply!), answer
questions orally that might be asked of the diagrams, &
pass a written essay-type exam on both theory AND the
national/international regulations…

When I passed the examination, I felt that I really & truly
DESERVED to get on the air, at long last, after MONTHS of
learning & practising. I wasn't going to waste all that
trouble & struggle for NOTHING!

So what's with the new crowd to-day…? Far too easy to
get a callsign anymore, to the point that newly-minted
"Hams" maybe no longer see it as being a worthy thing to
have strived for --- such as the "struggle" may be these
days, at any rate --- as my generation once did…?

You know the old saying: "EASY COME --- EASY GO." If
your heart really isn't into it, like ours were back in our
beginnings, then you simply don't have much "…skin in
the game" to begin with, right from the get-go --- so
you've got nothing to lose by electing to remain non-
active...
Posted by VE3CUI on 2018-03-23

HOAs, CC&Rs etc.

1) The ARRL has done everything to lower the bar and make getting a license easy, but that is just half of the equation.
2) Once a ham obtains a license, now with all of the HOAs and CC&Rs that do not allow the newly licensed hams to mount an antenna. What good is a radio and a license without an antenna
3) No elmer support system
4) No recruiting to younger hams so that the younger hams can bond on the air with people their own age
5)The solar cycle is at the bottom of the cycle
6) Younger hams do not see SDR applications for their cellphone and websites look so outdated. The impression of amateur radio is that this is a hobby for only old men. There is no true marketing to the younger generation, so that they can relate to the hobby.
7) Ham radio is not classified as a cool hobby. In the past I was proud to say that I am a ham. As I work in the Silicon Valley, amateur radio is associated with old people. If you say you are into IoT or some other cutting edge technology, then you are cool. Amateur radio is not cool to the new generation of engineers and many people say "ham radio-people still do that". Also in the Silicon Valley and the whole state of California mobile ham radio is illegal due to distracted driver laws. One more restriction, one less motivation to join or stay in the hobby for people under the age of 55.

Good luck to the hobby 20-30 years from now when all of the baby boomers die off.

Action needs to happen now or else ham radio will be something for the history books.


Posted by KB6QXM on 2018-03-23

Survey Comment

When I received my technician class license in 1985 my intrest
was 2 meter FM. I had little desire to work HF. Then in the
early 2000's the General code speed was changed from 13 to
5 wpm making me a General class holder.

Since then I have found little satisfaction working phone in the
80 to 10 meter bands after spending money on transcivers and
antennas.

Today I continue to work 2 meter FM and UHF DStar.
Posted by W2UIS on 2018-03-22

new hams

I see that FEW new Technicians are being taught what ham radio's big picture is. Those Technicians I speak with tell me that no one has ever shown them a list of all the facets of amateur radio, so they feel quite lost, as if "Okay, I have my ticket, now what happens?" It's important to explain to them that there is a road map, and by establishing some simple goals, one can branch off into a field that they never knew existed. I used to think ham radio was basically HF guys talking, but then I became interested in six meter propagation and, quite by accident, I found that there were many hams with the same interest as myself. If I had known this at an earlier age, I might've become a ham at a much earlier age, and begun my electronics education earlier and, most importantly, with a clearly defined goal in mind. This is what many new hams today are lacking. Our amateur radio teachers need to establish a very clearly outlined curriculum that includes this "road-map to ham radio" information. We need to learn how to spark a persons interest, show them the platter and all of the choices available to them 73, Mike N5FPO
Posted by N5FPO on 2018-03-22

Lets get them activated

The big reason why most tech’s don’t renew seems quite obvious to most. If I were a brand new tech, the first radio I would buy is a 2 meter or 2 meter.70 cm handheld radio. Looking at what goes out the door after a test session seems to verify that thought. What do they do next, usually ask what’s the best/most used/ good repeater to program in? Many just program them all in. then they listen and many never hear much of anything and if they do it’s a weekly net. That’s it? They ask themselves what else is there? They look around and find that most of our repeaters are hardly ever used and when they are in use it’s the same old 3-4 people talking to each other, kind of eves dropping on a phone call. They never make a call for other stations, they never ask if someone else would like to use the repeater, no it’s rather a good old boys club and outsiders don’t seem to be welcomed.
That is the current state of repeaters, don’t believe me? Just drive over to the nest state and start calling on most any repeater out there and you will hear>>>>>>>>>
The sounds of silence.
That is exactly what the typical newly licensed tech will also hear. Any wonder they don’t get on and the don’t renew? We as “seasoned” hams have our own interests, HF, Digital, Ecom, contesting, rag chewing with our friends etc. Ask yourself this: when was the last time I invited a new guy to join our conversation? When was the last time I invited a new tech to come over and get on HF? When was the last time you took the time to talk and LISTEN to a new tech?

Remember what you do and how you do it greatly influences the new guy/gal.

Posted by KB9ZB on 2018-03-22

Hams fail to become truly active?

Getting a TECH license is just a beginning.
New Hams often make the decision after
receiving their own Callsign. Plain 2-meter
FM handheld operation combined without an
interest in joining a local Club -or- knowing
someone nearby who is already a Ham with a
Station in their home. Motivation is a
personal desire-- many of these new Hams will
upgrade years later -or- just forget and let
their License lapse.
Posted by AA7LX on 2018-03-22

Never Really Involved

I have assisted at MANY exam sessions and in
talking with new Tech licensees, most have no
plans to do anything other than talk on
repeaters. I would venture to say the bulk of
new Techs fall into that category.
Posted by KG4RUL on 2018-03-21

Other

I think it is a combination of many things.
Last night I was talking to a brand new Ham
and he told me he has yet to make a contact
because he fears "Sounding Stupid". He also
commented that he does not hear a lot of
chatter on the local repeaters. I am going to
contact him before the next club net and try
to help in jump in.
Posted by KR5QA on 2018-03-21

Keeping new hams interested

Several new hams I have worked on HF told me that when they
got their tech licenses and tried VHF FM, it was not the ham
radio experience they were seeking. Upgrading to general did
provide a path to the ham radio experience they wanted, but
for many people, making that upgrade without really knowing
what to expect afterwards is daunting. Let's face it -- the
current tech license and the on-air privileges it provides is not
sufficient to entice many new hams to stay in the hobby. I like
the ARRL's proposal to give techs more HF privileges. It would
become the new novice license of its day and entice more to
stay by giving them a better glimpse into what ham radio has
to offer, especially if they upgrade.
Posted by N4KZ on 2018-03-21

VHF'ers

I think alot of them just are interested in
the VHF side. How boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by N9AI on 2018-03-21

Preppers

Well, most people I talk with are interested
in VHF/UHF only; some are already into GMRS
and GMRS repeaters which basically serves
their needs. Giving Techs a lot of SSB
won't mean crap to them, they aren't
interested in SSB or HF. As other have
mentioned, they are preppers or those who
want to get into Emcomm. Since the ARRL has
been pushing EMComm for years, this is no
surprise. reap what you sow ARRL! Giving
Techs SSB is NOT like the old Novice license,
they were CW only. Yes there is the
generational divide between 20 year olds and
60 years olds too, but that should not be an
excuse. Bottom line is ham radio is not
worth the effort to them since other bands
(GMRS, FRS, MURS) do what they want.
Posted by WB4M on 2018-03-21

Technician license was a mistake

The Technician license was a mistake from the
get go. I do not want a bunch of guys crowding
up the band. Just take the test plan an
simple. Study 2 hrs a night for a week take
the General.
Posted by KA5ROW on 2018-03-21

Technician license

They've been saying the Tech license was a mistake since before I got mine in 1975. For me, it was a quick entry to get licensed as fast as possible - I upgraded to Advanced six months later. What is a mistake is the rush toward a "classless" one size fits all ham license that seems to be underway. There used to be a time when technical knowledge meant something in ham radio, and now we have people who I refer to as "no-theory-techs" who barely know enough to pass the test with HF privileges looming on the horizon? The ARRL does not seem to value our HF spectrum as much as some of us. But back to the poll - I can imagine the arguments between the old timers and the newbies on HF over not reading the manual and so on. A lot of old timers resent new hams not having to do the work and the studying that they did, and some are not very patient. Me, I'll help anyone who asks.
Posted by N3EG on 2018-03-21

Survey Comment

I agree with N2MG, all the above.
I selected 5 because often when I talk to someone they make the comment that they hardly ever turn their radio on because when they do they don't hear anything. Apparently they don't understand that a radio that's off is a doorstop and that is why they don't hear anything.
Posted by WU0F on 2018-03-20

New ham becoming active

By far, the most important factor is the lack of Elmering. Think about it from a new ham's perspective and you see an intimidating array of equipment to choose from, a lack of practical knowledge in putting a station together, anxiety associated with actually making contacts according to protocol (especially voice and CW), and simply figuring out where to start when it comes to bands, modes, home brewing, how much to spend, etc. Those who continue in the hobby do so because they find an Elmer who is positive, encouraging, knowledgeable, and helpful. For those hams reading this, I'm confident you wouldn't be doing so unless you too began with an Elmer. There's so much more to ham radio than dead 2m repeaters. Elmers can lead the way.
Posted by VE6TL on 2018-03-20

No Elmer here

I didn't need an Elmer to keep me in the
sport. Practically everyone I communicate
with I consider an Elmer. All the articles I
read were written by Elmer's. You don't need
an OM to talk you through it these days.
The only off putting I hear is from the
legacy hams who live in yesteryear when code
was a requirement. IMHO code doesn't make a
good ham. Common sense and good operating
skills make a good ham.
I've had my ticket for only 10 years. That
makes me a newbie to some and a seasoned
veteran to others but who cares. It's a
wonderful hobby with room enough for all.

73's
Posted by KC9MWD on 2018-03-20

Existing hams off-putting

I became a Volunteer Examiner VE. Contacted the local club I
belonged to and was told we have our VE Team, we don't need
you. No longer a member of that club and will not attend their
hamfest.
Posted by W2UIS on 2018-03-20

Wrong expectations

The vast majority of new hams are coming
in with a prepper or emcomm mindset. They
want to be able to phone home when the
SHTF. They are not the SWL/electronics
geeks of the past who were interested in
the science of radio. The tests are
geared to technical subjects as is the
stuck-in-the-fifties ARRL. The modern ham
isn't interested in learning about the
polar coordinates of a complex impedance,
Colpitts oscillators or grounded-grid
amplifiers.

So, they get their Tech and don't advance
to General because the test material is
too foreign and they don't care about HF.
The lack of Elmers means they never really
understand what they are supposed to do
even on VHF. They can't program their $30
HT so sits in the box until the battery
dies. End of story.


Posted by K4IA on 2018-03-20

Existing hams off-putting

Taking the test as an athletic 20-something,
everyyone in the local clubs are three times
my age and twice my weight. We have nothing
in common and they have no interest in my
thoughts. At field day a small group was
playing around with some sort of navy
satellite dish with gyroscope. They claimed
that they would have it reprogramed to follow
AO85 across the sky and use the dish for a
contact (2m) contact. When I asked how they
would change it from pointing in the exact
same place no matter what to following a pre-
planned path across the sky, and convert it
to 2 meter use, I was basically told that
they had 50 years experience and would make
it work, if people would stop asking
questions...
Posted by KL1T on 2018-03-20

Many reasons

Quite frankly I think many of the reasons posed as
questions here are the reasons many hams never really
get active.
Posted by K7AAT on 2018-03-20

Emergency prep and more

As a VE, I hear most new hams say they are getting a license for emergencies. Then They get a low priced HT and feel they are prepared. Actually all answers apply. Experienced hams need to step up and Elmer without looking down on new hams as know nothings. Recommend good quality equipment that won't break the bank. and encourage them to get on the air. If you are with a club, hold nets that encourage new hams to use the PTT button. There are so many reasons new hams are not on the air.
Posted by NA5XX on 2018-03-20

Lack of Involvement

This is actually a multiple answer question. First I believe it is a lack of Elmering - the lack of visiting a ham and observing the activities is totally lost. I still believe there needs to be an entry level license that is non-renewable so one can get their feet wet and see if they really like the hobby. Also the price of new and used equipment is becoming truly outrageous. Most everyone is afraid to look under the hood, so to speak, with today's equipment. Almost no one really knows how to work on electronics or even build a simple antenna - just buy it!

The second is when New Hams get on the air, they make mistakes - we all did - but the older hams are not forgiving! This, IMHO, is a sign of the times and current upbringing - people are NOT taught RESPECT, it is just Me First and that is the End of the Subject!

Lastly - this idea of Community/Emergency service is all well and great, but the actual participation is low. Also the National Organizations are putting too much emphasis on it and going on and on about the new digital technologies - getting away from the basics of fun voice to voice or cw to cw communications!
Posted by WA0TML on 2018-03-20


I think all of the above is the right
answer, but I chose (1)

1) The rash of new licensees because taking
the exams is relatively easy overstates the
real interest. Face it, when one had to
learn Morse code and travel dozens/hundreds
of miles to take a test only those truly
interested were getting licensed.
2) Once licensed, the lack of access to a
true Elmer is clearly a concern.
3) And lots of those potential Elmers can be
off-putting LOL
4) Equipment prices *can* be a concern,
especially for HF (which requires a good
antenna and of course propagation!)
5) Yup the bands can seem dead: repeaters
are often under-utilized, HF dependent on
non-existent sunspots, etc.
6) Mike fright can be overcome if there's an
Elmer, and some of the other issues above
are nonexistent.

73
Posted by N2MG on 2018-03-19

Survey Comment

I think many newer hams don't become truly active is deed restrictions and HOAs. I know the tired argument that we all have choices about where to live...but sometimes it isn't practical to do so. For instance, let's say someone in middle or high school gets their license only to discover they live in a deed restricted neighborhood. I doubt mom and dad are going to put the house up for sale and move to another neighborhood just so their child can get active on the air.
Posted by K7CB on 2018-03-19

QSO’s

Since I started into the hobby there seems to be fewer
and fewer people looking to make casual contacts. I
don’t do contests! I enjoy DX and what seems to now be
old fashion exchange of cards. 73
Posted by KD4INV on 2018-03-19