FCC Amateur Radio License Totals

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by N2EY, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page



    the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on December 3, 2012 was:

    Novice: 13,845 (2.0%)
    Technician 345,082 (48.7%)
    General 163,088 (23.0%)
    Advanced 56,428 (8.0%)
    Extra 130,608 (18.4%)

    Total 709,051

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Enough is enough.:p
  3. KR2C

    KR2C Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Too many. I'll never be rare DX with those kind of numbers. ;)
  4. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sadly, almost 50% are at the Tech level. The step up to General isn't that big. I strongly suspect that most of the Techs are inactive, or not interested in 'mainstream' ham activities.
  5. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    That 45 to 50 percent of licensed amateurs are techs is nothing new. Go back 15 years, and the percentage was about the same - 46% IIRC.
  6. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the Techs get their two-meter rig and get stuck on the local repeater . . . I was amazed not to see them on 6 meters; I found mostly Extra Class hams, like me.

    Back when I was a Novice, we lost 2 meter phone privileges when incentive licensing went into effect in 1968. Seems the novices were 'stuck' on 2 meters with their Benton Harbor lunch boxes and goonie boxes (Gonset Communicators to the newbies) and not upgrading in the two years given them.

    Electronic manufacturers finally are getting their way -- sell a gazillion 2 meter mobiles/handhelds, with new models every 6 months or so. I remember when a ham on HF would get a fairly nice rig, and keep it until they carried him off in a pine box to the hamshack in the sky. Can't make money that way, can we??

    Gary WA7KKP
  7. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    From the same source, 12 and a half years ago:

    As of May 14, 2000:

    Novice - 49,329 (7.3%)

    Total Tech/TechPlus - 334,254 (49.5%) [Technician - 205,394 (30.4%) , Technician Plus - 128,860 (19.1%) ]

    General - 112,677 (16.7%)
    Advanced - 99,782 (14.8%)
    Extra - 78,750 (11.7%)

    Total all classes - 674,792

    For comparison, on December 3, 2012:

    Novice: 13,845 (2.0%)
    Technician 345,082 (48.7%)
    General 163,088 (23.0%)
    Advanced 56,428 (8.0%)
    Extra 130,608 (18.4%)

    Total 709,051

    Not only has there been growth overall but the license class distribution has changed dramatically.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  8. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm curious on the activity level in the 60, 70, 80s era compared to the activity on hf. Was it busier or about the same?
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hard to say.

    Back then there were fewer bands, fewer modes, fewer antenna restrictions, and fewer distractions. Rigs cost a lot more and did a lot less. There was almost no manufactured gear for the bands above 70 cm. Techs had no HF at all and Novices had limited-term nonrenewable licenses with only a few bands and no HF phone. The HF 'phone subbands were much narrower - when I started out in 1967, 75 phone was 3.8 to 4.0 and 40 phone was 7.2 to 7.3. Compare that to today!

    Before the repeater boom of the 1970s, there was almost no manufactured gear for the bands above 2 meters. Most hams started out as Novices on HF CW, particularly 80 and 40. Because their license terms were so limited, they kept the "Novice bands" busy as heck.

    It was not unusual for even experienced hams to concentrate on a single mode, a single activity, maybe even a single band, because equipment was so expensive.

    Much of the ham gear of those days had poor selectivity and fast tuning, so when you tuned across the band it sounded busier than the same band would sound today.

    So in many ways it's an apples-and-oranges comparison.

    73 de Jim, n2EY
  10. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My goal is to be the last living Advanced class holder. I have 56,427 to go.
  11. AB2T

    AB2T Ham Member QRZ Page

    After license reform, the licensing numbers should look something like 25% Extra, 25% General, 50% Tech. When I got my Extra in 1995, about 10% of hams were Extra. I can't believe that even after all the simplification, the number of Extras has only risen approximately 9%. Sorta discouraging. I thought that after licensing reform hordes of Generals would upgrade. Doesn't seem to be the case :(

    Yes, I am a proponent to auto-upgrade Advanceds to Extras and Novices to Technicians. I don't want to start a flame war, but I really could care less if a license rationalization were to take place. I would not consider a rationalization to be a slight against the fact that I earned the Extra by taking all five tests.

    73, Jordan
  12. K7IOA

    K7IOA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have found many techs are not interested in HF, just repeaters and perhaps remote control toys (and they can be expensive toys). And plenty of them are older shut-ins that have little ability to operate HF because of costs and housing restrictions.
  13. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're slowly getting there. Looks like almost half the Advanced licensees let their licenses lapse, died, or upgraded in the past twelve years. With a half-life of 14 years, how long will it take to get down to two? At that point it's a 14 year death watch to see who wins! ;) I'm guessing near about 250 years. :eek:
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  14. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Perfect! I'm 45 now, and with advances in medical science, I plan to live to be about 400 years old. This will be easy.
  15. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    But will anyone be able to afford them?

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  16. AE1P

    AE1P XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's 709,051 licensed hams.... about 9,051 Active hams...yes..that's about right....
  17. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Of course, Novice and Advanced numbers will continue to decline as there is no way to get either of those licenses currently.

    Why don't more Extras "upgrade" to a commercial telegraph license and a degree in Electrical Engineering? Likewise, if someone is enjoying amateur radio at their present license class, who are we to wring our hands over it? People obtain/upgrade as they desire and in their own time. Live and let live, I say.
  18. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    My reference point starts in 1986. VHF (primarily 2 meters) was very busy in the 1980s. Repeaters had nets, autopatches, drills, etc. 2 meters was the chat room of today.

    HF, hard to say. The bands were structured differently. For one, the WARC bands were brand new and not known to many. Two, 80 and 40 meters were nearly 1/2 CW band. Three, as others have mentioned, technology has changed. It is easier than ever to dial up a QSO.

    IIRC, in 1986 or 1987 there were about 525,000 US hams. So the number has increased by about 33%. Has activity increased 33%? Certainly not on VHF, and doubtful on HF.
  19. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back then the internet and cell phones just didn't exist for most people.

    Most of the gear actually being used by hams didn't cover the WARC bands, either.

    When quoting old license numbers, one must be careful of the "source characteristics". Here's why:

    1) Many historic license numbers include not only individual hams but also club, military, RACES, repeater and second-station calls. (In the old days there were lots of station-license-only situations.)

    2) Many historic license numbers include not only current licenses but those in the grace period.

    3) Some historic license numbers include all US licenses, others exclude possessions, territories, etc.

    All these can add up to a sizable error factor.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  20. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    It seems many Techs are getting a license at the urging of CERT, to provide EMCOMM communications, and aren't really interested in the radio art at all. So they are amazed at some of the new radios (especially H-T's) with all sorts of bells and whistles they will never use, get that shiny new H-T programmed via computer at the local store, and that's all they do. Come an emergency, they have NO idea how to program their radio to use a different simplex or repeater frequency that's not pre-programmed, and can't find the owner's manual if their life depended upon it (and in an emergency, it MIGHT!)
    So, we have Techs and even Generals, that simply check into the local EMCOMM nets weekly, and have no further use for Amateur Radio. Unfortunately, they are not inclined to upgrade, nor do they have an incentive to do so.

    (Then again, in a couple of weeks, it will all be a moot point if the world comes to an end on 12-21-2012. My question IS: would that be UTC or local time?)
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