4 Reasons why we need more hams

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KJ4RYP, Sep 16, 2014.

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  1. KJ4RYP

    KJ4RYP Ham Member QRZ Page

    [FONT=&quot]Yeah, I know,smaller pileups on the DX station I’ve been trying to work all weekend, and fewer people calling CQ right on top of my on-going QSO with a QRP station would be easily accomplished if there were fewer folks on the bands. But seeing a coworker’s 3rd grade son recently get his ticket, and his excitement at working W1AW as his first contact, got me thinking that maybe we need MORE hams… and maybe it even behooves us ALL to be constantly recruiting those new hams for 4 good reasons:<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1) Innovation. I can appreciate the nostalgia of a Hallicrafters HT-44 or a matching Collins set, but the real beauty in most of those vintage radios is the innovation they embodied for that era and the innovation they inspired in future generations of hams who continue to do new things within the hobby. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, checkout AmateurLogic.TV and you’ll see how computer programming, basic electronics, HF, VHF, UHF, analog, digital,photography, video editing and astronomy all come together in many different ways to make for a pretty fulfilling hobby for George, Tommy, Peter and their growing audience. More new hams bring in more inspiration and more innovation to make for a pretty exciting hobby.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]2) Spectrum. Much of the bands afforded us by the FCC are underutilized and if we don’t use them, we’ll lose them. It’s that simple.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]3) Fellowship, fun and continuity. Yeah, those all add up to just one reason why lucky hams like me live in an area with an active local ham club, a thriving ham store, a ton of repeaters with awesome coverage, and new ideas constantly evolving the local ham scene (not to mention the best Hamfest in the world!). Unfortunately, I talk to too many hams across the US whose local club meets monthly now instead of weekly; whose town’s backup ARES repeater hasn’t been operational since the last storm because the guy who used to maintain it moved away last year; and whose local ham store closed after 50+ years of business when the owner retired because there wasn’t enough local support to make it a business worth anything to a new owner. The difference between these two scenarios is simple: fresh blood… new hams! To me, ham radio is as much fun OFF the air as it is ON the air, and that wouldn’t be the case if we didn’t have a constant influx of new hams.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]4) Vanity. I’ll admit this may be a bit selfish, but I would appreciate all the help I can get from the Southeast portion of the country in creating 243,255new hams as soon as possible. At that point, we will have exhausted new 2x3call signs starting with “K” and I can suggest to the appropriate governing bodies that we move promptly into a 1x4 format. “W4CARL” has a nice ring to it,don’t you think?<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Seriously,though, next time an opportunity presents itself to share the hobby with someone new, don’t pass it up. Whether it’s showing some Scouts how to work satellite stations from an HT and an Arrow Antenna, or taking a friend along to a club meeting, let’s all do our part to share the hobby.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]If you have examples or ideas of how to introduce new people to the hobby, especially younger people, I’d love to hear them!<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
  2. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, with about 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S. - and about 2.5 million world-wide - the numbers seem to be at their highest ever!

    I have "specialized" in educating hams how to work FM satellites with minimal equipment. About 80 presentations to clubs, ham fests, and conventions the past few years. As well as orchestrating an ARISS contact with an astronaut aboard the ISS for students here in Jurupa Valley, CA.

    Young students are our future. I support a local middle school ham club. I have sent antennas and an HT or two to other school clubs to help out. ANYTHING we can do to get students involved will only help our cause! (grin)

    Clint Bradford K6LCS
    ARRL instructor
    http://www.work-sat.com - "How to Work FM Sats With Minimal Equipment"
    http://www.iss-flabob.com - "Students Interview an Astronaut"
  3. AA9G

    AA9G Ham Member QRZ Page

    No secret really in reaching kids. School presentations (ISS and sat coms), have club set up tables at county,state, maker and 4H fairs. Don't have your field day out in the swamp, set up where you are visible and provide a sign that says who you are and have a GOTA station and people ready to talk to the unwashed.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We're currently at about 723,000 individuals with current, unexpired, FCC-issued amateur licenses. That's pretty much an all-time high.

    When I became a ham in 1967, there were about 250,000.

    But the real issue isn't the raw number of hams. It's the number of active hams.
  5. WB4AEJ

    WB4AEJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You left out that amateur radio could be used for communication in the event of a national emergency that took down the phone grid and even the power grid if we used generators.
    That is by far the most important and the only one that the general public would be sold upon.
  6. KF7PCL

    KF7PCL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am going to go out on a whim saying we have a lot of hams but a whole lot of them are not active.
    What we need is more inactive hams getting on the air.

    My thought exactly. Too many hams that rarely or never get on the air
  7. KG4ZAR

    KG4ZAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    But isn't that part of the current problem? We've sold the "emergency communications" bill of goods so well and therein lies the largest number of inactive hams(coupled with the pre-cellphone" tickets). There have to be activities that involve hams on a regular basis as a hobby to really to get true involvement by new people and even many of us older ones.

    Sorry but I'm a former firefighter and Search & Rescue and the Ham Radio/EmComm just does not fly with me the way it's being promoted and pushed as a part of "homeland security". It's a hobby people! If we can use our radios for the good of the community,that's great,and many of us do! To try to call it anything else brings visions of Barney Fife!
  8. W4HTP

    W4HTP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    While those gross numbers are the "highest", the number of HAMs has not kept pace with population growth. As I see it, per capita, Amateur Radio Services is shrinking. HAM Radio is shrinking more rapidly if you exclude non-participating "prepper HAMs" that bought a pair of Baofeng HTs to store in a ammo box and have no true interest in the hobby/service or RF knowledge.

    That's just how I see it looking at the "licensees vs participants" and "per capita vs gross" numbers.
  9. KW0U

    KW0U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good discussion. Figuring out how many hams are active would be tough (and I'm not quite sure how you'd even define the term). You'd also have to control for the number of decedents still licensed (as we know, there can be as much as a 10 year lag), and look at the age distribution of licensees to get any sort of projection going. For what it's worth, here's an extract from a January 2014 ARRL article:

    “The three current license classes also peaked at the end of 2013,” notes ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM. “FCC-issued club station licenses are also at an all-time high in the FCC database at 11,363. The number of new licensees has increased by 7 percent over last year (28,886 in 2013 and 27,082 in 2012).” Somma said that a significant number of Technician licensees were earned through large emergency communication and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes.

    The breakdown by license class shows Technicians as the largest group, at 349,163 licensees, followed by General licensees at 167, 257, Amateur Extra licensees at 133,391, and Advanced licensees at 54,293. There are still slightly more than 13,000 Novice licensees on record too. The FCC no longer issues the Novice or Advanced class license. Technician numbers have grown by 8.2 percent over the past decade, with an impressive comeback since 2007 after the population had plummeted from a peak of 338,334 in March 2000. The General class population has risen by slightly more than 18 percent over the past 10 years. But the Amateur Extra class has shown the most remarkable growth over the past decade, climbing by slightly more than 27 percent, with no dramatic spike after the Morse requirement went away.

    While Amateur Radio application volume slipped somewhat overall, that was not the case at the ARRL VEC. “ARRL VEC served 34,896 exam applicants in 2013, up slightly from 32,866 in 2012,” Somma said.
  10. W5LMM

    W5LMM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Barney Fife. LOL!
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