[amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

D. Mynatt dave at mynatt.biz
Thu Jul 17 08:19:05 PDT 2008

That's right too. The 'nerds' are still with us, just that percentage-wise 
they are fewer. IMHO and in the opinion of others in this discussion, we 
need to get away from rag chewing and into making the hobby a way for new 
information to be shared. Humans need 'newness' and that's what we need to 
spark the younger generation.

Someone earlier mentioned that cost is a problem to entry and that's why the 
hobby has shifted to an upwards age. Right on. That could change if we get 
involved at the school level, do science (at least data analysis), and look 
for ways to share things. Americans in general don't like to share, but we 
must overcome that aversion and build antennas, access points and such and 
then have real 'work' being done; the kids will follow that. They love 
remote robotics, imaging challenges and things like that.

We can build hobby 'access points' so that anyone could internet in and 
catch a satellite transmission. Receive only, of course.  Most colleges and 
some HS have large dishes from years past and they are free for the taking. 
I'm building a 3m dish into an access point and allowing students to connect 
and watch the satellite data stream. MANY groups are working things like 
this; Delphi via RASCAL software is one example we could follow.

Besides, what's the *real* difference between an access point for internet 
that the kids love, and a Field Day?

Mark Spencer from ARRL is in charge of the Teacher's Institute. He teaches 
about 'wireless' technology and now, in a stroke of genius, also has a 
segment on robotics.  If we build a program so that it reaches the teachers 
and is about science -like imaging, data extraction, etc- we'll come back 
because it will be a challenge to do again. Getting them into helping us 
build an 'access point' will do this, as will sharing satellite 
data/information and not rag chewing.

The vision is simple; AMSAT sponsors a series of antennas located at 
colleges or someone's yard/community location, with slew capability, manned 
by AMSAT volunteers, receiving data and images from the ASMO program, making 
software free, allowing anyone with an internet connection to watch. Kids 
join because they want to be the ones with the hands on the controls (i.e. 
antenna slew controls) , using math and science to calculate things, and 
watching and interfacing with data/image streams. It will work. At least I 
think it will and I'm putting my energy into it.

Otherwise AMSAT and all other hobbies will be mired in an older age. 
Literally. And what will AMSAT be then?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Edward Cole" <kl7uw at acsalaska.net>
To: <amsat-bb at AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:20 AM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

> 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 
>>frequencies had been given 5 new bands (60m, 30m, 17, 12m, and 33cm) and 
>>lost small parts of 2 bands (220-222mhz and 1215-1240mhz).  We adjusted 
>>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 
>>to buy and sell equipment and see new rigs.  That is no longer needed as 
>>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 
>>They don't appreciate hamfests because they really don't need them as we 
>>Also, we have seemed to sink into this mentality that everyone gets 
>>as a kid and stays licensed there entire life.  Therefore, if you don't 
>>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 
>>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 
>>being a young ham.  You don't have much money to spend on rigs and 
>>You live in your parent's house so you are at their mercy for what 
>>you can put up.  You have school and homework to compete for your time. 
>>go to college which greatly limits funds and time, and then you go into 
>>raising a family (I am there now) which greatly limits funds again, as 
>>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 
>>licensees are 40 or over, but we are bringing in plenty to replace those 
>>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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>> > author.
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>> >
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> _______________________________________________
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