[amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

John Geiger aa5jg at lcisp.com
Wed Jul 16 08:35:08 PDT 2008

I was licensed in 1980 and I have been hearing how ham radio is dying for
the past 28 years.  So far, it is still here and doing better than ever.
Over these 28 years, this dying hobby that is in danger of losing all of its
frequencies had been given 5 new bands (60m, 30m, 17, 12m, and 33cm) and has
lost small parts of 2 bands (220-222mhz and 1215-1240mhz).  We adjusted very
well to those loses.

One reason we may not see as many young hams at hamfests is due to the
internet.  Those of us pre-Algore-internet invention hams relied on hamfests
to buy and sell equipment and see new rigs.  That is no longer needed as you
have ebay, QTH.COM, eham.net, and QRZ.COM as 24 hour a day hamfests where
you don't have to pay $4 a gallon for gas, plus extra for unhealthy hamfest
They don't appreciate hamfests because they really don't need them as we do.

Also, we have seemed to sink into this mentality that everyone gets licensed
as a kid and stays licensed there entire life.  Therefore, if you don't see
many young hams, it means that no one is becoming a ham and we are losing
operators. Untrue!  Many people get licensed as a retirement hobby or empty
nest syndrome hobby. These are perfect people to market the hobby to. They
have plenty of disposible income to spend on the hobby and lots of time to

As someone who was licensed at age 13, there are somethings that suck about
being a young ham.  You don't have much money to spend on rigs and antennas.
You live in your parent's house so you are at their mercy for what antennas
you can put up.  You have school and homework to compete for your time.  You
go to college which greatly limits funds and time, and then you go into the
raising a family (I am there now) which greatly limits funds again, as well
as operating time.

So, I think the hobby is doing just fine. We just need to get over this
obsession that only kids should become new hams.  In my area most of the new
licensees are 40 or over, but we are bringing in plenty to replace those who
become SKs.

73s John AA5JG

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <K5GNA at aol.com>
To: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 2:52 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Vanishing Hams

> Hi All,
> I read the article yesterday that Frank had referred to and forwarded it
> a few friends.
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> I received this URL today.  Read number 16.
> _http://www.walletpop.com/specials/top-25-things-vanishing-from-america?i_
> (http://www.walletpop.com/specials/top-25-things-vanishing-from-america?i)
> cid=100214839x1205495530x1200282778
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> Every time I go to an annual swapfest, the average age of attendees is one
> year older. We need to spend some time reaching out to a younger
generation  or
> #16 on the list will come true.
> Many years ago, it was in the national interest to have  a cadre of
> radio operators. Today, with CB, Cell Phones, cordless  phones, FRS,
etc. -- 
> everyone is a radio operator. Now, military  communications is done with a
> keyboard or microphone -- pretty much universal  skills now.
> As the article mentions, the airwaves are valuable property and we could
> lose them.  Although the Amateur Radio Community shines when there is loss
> communications during a disaster, with newer technology, even that could
> A few years ago at the 2002 AMSAT meeting in Ft. Worth, Tony, AA2TX was
> giving a talk on his antennas made from cardboard boxes and aluminum
foil.  There
> was a grade school class in attendance with their  teacher.  When the talk
> was over, the kids swarmed over the boxes and  aluminum foil to make
> with great enthusiasm.  Very inspiring  -- this is the kind of reaching
out we
> need.
> Instead of our self serving pursuit of DXCC, WAS, VUCC, WAC and  others,
> maybe the ARRL needs to sponsor an award for bringing new Hams into the
> community. Otherwise, someday, no one will remember what those letters
even  stood for.
> 73 & TNX,
> Bob
> **************Get the scoop on last night's hottest shows and the live
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