[amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

Edward Cole kl7uw at acsalaska.net
Wed Jul 16 23:20:34 PDT 2008

An interesting viewpoint.  You may have hit on a change in how people 
are coming to ham radio.  Many of us did get our start as teenagers 
and I did have the challenges you mention.  I have had periods of 
more or less activity; more or less time/money for it.  I wonder how 
old you were when you became a ham 28-years ago?  Are you an example 
of your theory?

But the statistics do show a decline in total numbers in the US and 
the average age is advancing steadily which does seem to imply that 
we are lacking a regular influx of younger newcomers to replace the 
OM's (we are really resembling that).

But perhaps the demographics are shifting to this becoming a 
retirement hobby vs a life-long one.  Time will tell!

Ed - KL7UW

At 07:35 AM 7/16/2008, John Geiger wrote:
>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
> > K5GNA
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > **************Get the scoop on last night's hottest shows and the live
> > scene in your area - Check out TourTracker.com!
> > (http://www.tourtracker.com?NCID=aolmus00050000000112)
> > _______________________________________________
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