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ARRL Petitions FCC for HF Phone Privileges for Technicians

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K4KYV, Mar 1, 2018.

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  1. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Karl-Arne, THANK you for this background as to Sweden's regulatory situation. From what you have provided, there are indeed some comparisons available with what the ARRL's attorney has proposed in the Petition the FCC has accepted into its database. Of chief interest to me are case studies, like the one in your country, that DO NOT show a resultant "growth" in the hobby, either from expansion of licensee numbers, or long-term retention. Both of these aspects are what the League's Petition asserts will benefit from their proposal.

    K4KYV and AC0OB like this.
  2. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the US telecom regulation landscape will even remotely resemble what we have experienced here in Europe,
    it is very likely that sooner or later the FCC will throw up its hands in despair over amateur radio, and try to find a way to
    off-load the administration of licences and issuing callsigns to "someone else".

    This "someone else" will almost certainly be the ARRL.

    In order to both try to keep existing members and maybe attract some more, a "juicy bone" has to be thrown at the potential membership, and I would call it a "low odds bet" that this will be a single licence class with full privileges and a quite elementary exam, and all previous classes will be merged into this new class.

    Some older amateurs will most likely vote with their feet. But, seen in the perspective that they soon will be gone anyway, this may be tolerable. It is also quite likely that their departure may, at least in the short term, be offset by an influx from existing Technicians that suddenly are faced with a vast increase in privileges. This "voter base" appears to be largely untapped.

    This is in effect a regulatory solution to a marketing and "membership maintenance" problem that the ARRL is facing.

    Faced with an imminent rapid fall-off of older members simply by demographic related attrition, it is very probable that most IARU societies will grasp at the last straw.

    It will however remain to be seen if a stable increase in membership numbers may come out of such a move.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    W0PV likes this.
  3. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I made a graph of amateur licensees as percent of general population, over the past 20 years. It looks like we are peaked right now at around .229%. I don't see these numbers increasing from here forward, due to the fact that so many are getting older, and those that are getting licensed are not remaining active.

    ham graph.jpg
  4. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The "older" demographic constantly replenishes and should be where the marketing effort is spent.
    WD4IGX likes this.
  5. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page


    If marketing efforts are directed to the remaining about 45-65 year age segment, that constantly will be replenished, instead of "youth programmes" which only generate short-term effects, the downward slopes of the membership curves may be less pronounced.

    KR3DX and WA3VJB like this.
  6. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is a history dating back at least 30 years where the people who were running the ARRL chased elusive "youth" as a recruitment target, and have had very poor results for a given amount of expense and effort. The 1980s was when I first became aware of their obsession when they cooked up a comic book campaign featuring the hobby at a time when young people were very much into comic books.

    With organizations catering to the older demographic, such as the American Association of Retired Persons which starts recruiting supporters at Age 50, there's a tremendous opportunity to team up with "leisure time" groups and peddle the hobby to a receptive audience.

    Who else would most prefer a stable, simple-to-understand means of communicating? That's our strong suit, NOT the rapidly evolving, complicated communications platforms and social media that young people prefer.
    KR3DX and WD4IGX like this.
  7. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the reason that older people are coming to ham radio is because of some interest or exposure in their youth. So, people that are 50+ today grew up around radio, be it shortwave, ham, CB, GMRS, or AM radio listening. 30-40 years ago these things were common.

    But people under 40 had much less exposure to these things. Hence, I don't think we are going to continue to see the same demographics of age as we are seeing now. In recent classes and tests that our group has given, the average age was well over 60. Not a lot of 30 somethings really interested, and they won't necessarily be more interested in 20 years from now. Our hobby grows more and more anachronistic and "quaint" each year.
    AC0OB likes this.
  8. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't have to be that way. There's a lot of people experimenting with local area networks, personal area networks, satellite communications, and so much more. Only they are doing this in Part 15, or illegally on whatever frequency they can tune up onto. These people can be recruited into Amateur radio but they have to feel welcome.

    Young people today are still growing up around radio technology but they may simply not recognize it as such. I believe these people can be reached but they need to be shown that a radio is not something that is beyond their comprehension.
    WD4IGX likes this.
  9. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The fact remains, there's very little active recruitment of older people by a group that positions itself as a "national" organization. Even if I accepted your suggestion that today's module of older people has a specific affinity for "radio" that won't persist into the future, we as a hobby are neglecting the opportunity to bring them in.

    My theory is that many of those folks would have directly shared their hobby with family descendants, inspiring many of today's younger people to consider taking up Amateur Radio when they get to be the age of their elders today.

    WD4IGX likes this.
  10. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Karl-Arne, I don't think the U.S. regulatory environment can take much guidance from what's happened in Europe. The FCC has no compelling reason to feel despair and discard the regulation of Amateur Radio, since the hobby can meander along with minimal expense and logistic burden to the agency.

    The unfortunate risk when Petitions like this one come along is that FCC staff may be persuaded that the proposal represents the broader community of active, concerned licensees. The ARRL holds only 20 percent of the database measured by paid subscriptions. The rest includes those who are apathetic and others who are opposed to some degree of where the League has tried take the hobby.
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