Resurgence for amateur radio in Australia
Resurgence for amateur radio in Australia
A lengthy well-researched article by Katie Cincotta in The Age newspaper today, distributed mainly in VK3 but also interstate, features many aspects of amateur radio that we all enjoy.
It begins with a picture of Justin Stewart VK3FLIP and Monique Golub VK3FWPZ as the youngsters take to the airwaves at Sherbrooke Community School and is peppered with personal accounts of activity.
Maths teacher Edward Seeto VK3LIP of the Sherbrooke Community School, which has its own radio club VK3KID, demonstrates on a hand-held radio, typing in a code on a keypad and accessing a web-enabled local repeater to connect to a user in Dallas, Texas. His experience at the school includes the use of a gazebo with students learning the ropes from volunteers Randall McDonald VK3RM and Jim McNabb VK3AMN.
The students have learnt to be resourceful through building their own equipment. Amateur radio is encouraging them to pursue maths and sciences, and providing social interaction. Grade 8 student Monique Golub VK3FWPZ achieved her Foundation Licence in grade 6 and now competes in amateur radio challenges such as the 160-metre Trans-Tasman contest.
The 13-year-old was the first female in the club and has since enabled others to join the fun. Another relative newcomer with five years experience is Richard Holmes VK3TXD, keen to dispel the amateur radio stereotype of old blokes tinkering in beeping sheds.
He hopes a new generation will find clever ways to evolve the hobby and embrace its global connections. One of the main things that got him into the hobby was the lure of long-distance or DX contacts.
The article touches on the serious side of things. Amateur radio proved itself to be relevant and invaluable during recent natural disasters in Australia, Japan, China, Pakistan and Haiti. It quotes veteran Doug McArthur VK3UM on his Black Saturday bushfires experiences, and even before that, the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Of course his moon-bounce and beyond exploits from the giant dish on his country property is featured.
Eastern and Mountain District Radio Club president Jack Bramham VK3WWW regards amateur radio as the original social network and likes digital technology. He’s preparing for the IARU Region 3 Championships that are being hosted late this year by the WIA.
Jack VK3WWW can be seen and heard televising broadcasts on Wednesday nights on frequency 446.500 MHz via the Melbourne Amateur Radio Repeater on Mount Dandenong.
Wireless Institute of Australia spokesman Jim Linton VK3PC says one of the biggest things to happen to amateur radio is the removal of Morse code as a minimum requirement for an operator to obtain an HF licence. The Foundation Licence is now simple enough for young children to acquire, although many progress to the higher grades as Standard and Advanced which give them more.
The two-page article featured in the newspaper’s well-read Green Guide and promoted on page 2 in the main editorial section, notes 20,000 Australians have amateur radio licences, with increasing interest being shown by younger people and women.
There was virtually no one interested before the arrival of the newest entry level. Now we have more activity on air, increased numbers being assessed and a higher level of club membership. The article which involves wide research giving a coverage to amateur radio, concludes with some useful links to get more information.
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"keen to dispel the amateur radio stereotype of old blokes tinkering in beeping sheds."
Sounds like shangria la to me, its my only respite from 4 kids and the missus:
Wonderful to read about the success of the foundation license, and enthusiasm among new operators.
And here us hams in the US were worried about new hams. Cheers to Oz
Hey!! Why am I in this handcart and where am I going?
Why cheers to Oz ?
Originally Posted by WA8LGM
In Oz , which mirrors the US and UK introductory licensing schemes the same downward trend of real Hams continues.
While the number of introductory class Op's IS increasing , the percentage that progress to higher classes is FALLING.
This is the same in OZ , UK and the US.
If this trend continues , then by 2050 there will be no more Generals and Extras (or equivalent).
AR will have become essentially kids talking on repeaters ,,, it will have become --- CB.
If you research the stats , do the math , and then do nothing about it , , the future prospects for AR looks grim.
This is a great article. Just the fact that journalists are taking the time to write about ham radio is good, we need all the publicity we can get.
The World has experienced a great many natural disasters in the last year & without exception hams have always been there to help.
Those of us in the hobby already must be prepared to accept new operators & to mentor them as they come along. This handing down of the traditions & good operating procedure will ensure a long enduring hobby.
Originally Posted by OH2FFY
I know I'm the new kid on the block here, but I see it from a slightly different perspective. I spent the majority of my military career working with and around radios, but was never a ham. The interest was always there, but I never chased it. Got involved with the EOC at work, and became focused again. I took the Technician and General test the same night, and passed them both. I do use the local 2 meter repeaters almost daily, when I'm on the way to or from work, but nights are spent with the HF rig. Not all the new folks will ignore the chance to work the world direct, although there will be some.
The point was not about working long distance via HF or short distance on VHF-UHF.
Originally Posted by KA5EOD
The point was that the MAJORITY , not some ---the LARGEST portion of new Hams that have come in through the introductory classes will NOT self educate and progress on up to the higher licensing levels.
This in turn means that in time General and Extras will be no more.
This is not be a 'perspective' viewpoint , it is based on provable statistics.
But Hams being what they are ........ , they will do nothing about it.
Meanwhile when they hear of a couple of youngsters participating in a contest station they get all excited over it , even though their participation in a contest will not provide any benefit to the hobby.
In the first post it gave the impression that AR in OZ was looking up , the facts are that stats shows the growth in Oz to be a measly 1.3% in 2010.
What I would find more exciting would be an announcement saying that every licensed Ham Elmered a new Ham into the hobby each year and now there was a growth of 100% p.a..
Now that would be something to get excited about........
Last edited by OH2FFY; 07-11-2011 at 05:17 AM.
With all due respects that's bunkum.
Originally Posted by OH2FFY
I entered through the Uk 3 tier system and not one who sat the course with me still holds a Foundation licence, I'm also a member of several internet groups (predominantly UK) and the vast majority of Foundation holders who joined at the same time also progressed.
The new tiered system does work, of course there's the minority who abuse it by looking upon the "Introduction" licence as their way of obtaining a longterm one but that mistake there lies with not time restricting it.
What's probably throwing you is, those who dipped their toes in the hobby by obtaining a Foundation Licence and quickly lost interest and left still show up in the stats so you're comparing a percentage who have progressed against a greater percentage who are no longer involved in the hobby!
...and if you're insisting you have provable statistics then what's the figure for UK Foundation holders who took advantage of the relaxation requirements only to find AR wasn't for them?