Is Ham Radio in Australia on the Decline?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK7HH, Jun 21, 2021.

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  1. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I decided to take a look at the numbers in the latest edition of Amateur Radio magazine to see whether it's really in trouble and on the decline in Australia.

    KG4BFR, GM6BAO, G3SEA and 5 others like this.
  2. WJ4U

    WJ4U Subscriber QRZ Page

    No worries, mate, it's just down under.
    KG4BFR, KC3SJE, K0UO and 7 others like this.
  3. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It’s just that down under orientation problem:

    K9EZ, K4GDJ, KI7PMQ and 16 others like this.
  4. VK6HIL

    VK6HIL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Advanced is dropping because they are dying off. Standard was a pre-requisite for Digital Modes but since that has now been granted to Standard I'd expect that to start dropping.

    I think we'd be better served by two licence classes - Introduction like a Foundation and a full licence like Advanced. Foundation needs a power uplift as well from 10W. I don't think we really have the numbers to support 3 licence classes going forward. Note that those numbers say people are going for Standard but not Advanced despite not a vast amount of difference in syllabus between the two.

    Abolishing Foundation isn't a good move - we still need an entry level but we can move it a little bit upwards to give more privileges. Also give everyone access to all the bands - the whole upgrade carrot really isn't working anymore.
    KG4BFR, G1HYD, K5MPH and 4 others like this.
  5. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Agreed - the purpose of licencing is simply to ensure that the operator has sufficient knowledge to be able to avoid causing unacceptable interference to other spectrum users. I don't think that a graduated incentive licencing scheme makes any sense in today's climate - the authorities should just define a couple of licence levels in terms of permitted power output and bands of operation and then define the level of technical and operational knowledge required to be able to work within that licence without disrupting other users. The entry level licence should give sufficient privileges to be able to operate all common modes at useful power levels. The higher level licence should permit higher power levels and, possibly, some of the more esoteric frequency bands.

    Martin (G8FXC)
    US7IGN, M1WML, VK6HIL and 3 others like this.
  6. KG5ES

    KG5ES Ham Member QRZ Page


    I like the idea of 2 Classes over 3. I think, however, viability would improve with powers of 50-100 and 1000w for the Foundation and Advanced. (That's to overcome the "upside down polarity"... haha!)
    Ted, KG5ES / USA
    W8NSI, M1WML, VK6HIL and 1 other person like this.
  7. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the eyes of the regulators, there are far too many radio amateurs.

    It would seem very counter-productive for them to make moves that would actually increase the numbers.

    WD0BCT, VK6APZ/SK2022, DD5RK and 2 others like this.
  8. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great nations still have people thinking wisely. Spot on!
    Only two classes, one for ensuring enough operating and safety knowledge, all bands/modes granting enough power propagation-wise and the other class allowing QRO.
    There are simply not enough radio-amateurs regularly-on-the-air to sustain antiquated and tricky schemes, despite those incompetent lobbies are keen to think.
    Reality check hurts you
    @Anatel @PY2AA @brazil_lobbies

    Not to mention, of course, importation duties and taxes limited to, say, 15% instead of 85%.

    With just one morning coffee cup

    To Karl-Arne, our beloved Analtel philosophy has been «No Upgrading» for two years and counting, at least they're not faking anything, filthy skum.
    N9ZTC and M1WML like this.
  9. KO2Q

    KO2Q Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    More is not better, and today's generation does not have the patience to step up through the ranks like in days of old - they want it all and they want it now.

    Here is the states, making a ham remain a novice for a full year before upgrading, like they used to do, would make a Gen-Y's head explode.
    N4VS, VK6APZ/SK2022, KE0GXN and 7 others like this.
  10. NN2X

    NN2X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I witnessed the Ham Radio exam, along with the Ham Clubs in Australia. I can say, I am very impressed, there was a practical operational component to it...I witnessed that with my colleague when he went to get his Ham ticket in Australia (Melbourne)...You really had to show how to operate a Ham radio...I can't recall if that was part of the exam, but my colleague said it was. (Maybe the Ham club told him it was this way, i had no idea, but when he went on the air, he was fully ready to operate technically, and operationally.

    In contrast, in the USA, my son (KI5FJE), studied over the weekend and passed at age 12...He passed because of Dad!

    I brought this up many times, Ham radio is aging..I know many disagree, and indicate it has always been the same, but just go to a local Ham club, and smell the bengay and one slip on a banana peel and we are off to the nursing home (I am joking here, but we are older!)..

    There are few true young Hams but it is not at the same ratio as it was in 1970 / 80s ),...

    My first job I landed (Out of college) was only because I passed the Extra class, (I had the 1ST Class phone as well), and the BSEE, but it was the Extra class I passed in 1980, that landed my career in satellite communications, There was no pool of questions, you really had to comprehend the material, and it was hard just to learn from a book, you needed to experiment some to really grasp the material, and the employer knew all of this, and said, if you passed the Extra Class, you truly have practical experience, you are hired! (Westar / Western Union / Manager Butch Katz, Vernon NJ)

    With the changes of the exam, came away with maybe more numbers of Ham (Over the weekend study), but the activity declined

    However, I will not go down any further into this rabbit hole

    I love Ham radio, I happy I had to take the path to obtain Extra class as it was back then, all I can enjoy so much more about Ham radio as I can experiment, design, and yes operate.


    NN2X Tom
    PU2OZT, VK2GD, M1WML and 2 others like this.
  11. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My views are founded in what I hear and see when dealing with the regulators.

    They have gone from "supportive" through "barely tolerated" to "openly hostile" in the 25 years I have more closely followed the evolution.

    As I am writing this there is a struggle going on between the photovoltaic power industry and radio amateurs regarding interference issues. This may very well end up in the courts, if the regulators should side with the radio community.

    Already has the public opinion been fed suitably edited information through social media from the PV lobby stating that radio amateurs are standing in the way of "green energy".

    As the shift towards sustainable energy is quite heavily subsidised by the Governments a lot of money is flowing into the PV industry, as even small homes build PV installations. Many, if not most such installations create substantial radio interference, which often becomes reported by radio amateurs.

    Should the industry be forced to clean up their act on their own dime, they will fight this "tooth and nail" in the courts, and radio amateurs is likely to be blamed for bringing their shortcomings to the attention of the regulators.

    They may even try to turn public opinion against amateur radio, which would not be too difficult.

    In the light of this, and other nuisances caused by radio amateurs, it is a very "tall order" to actually expect the regulators to do anything that may increase the numbers of radio amateurs.

    M1WML, WB5THT and PU2OZT like this.
  12. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I imagine that your regulator is like ours, and the “original sin” so to speak is ironically with them for turning a blind eye for years and allowing noisy inverters to be common in PV installations. So then the PV industry could be facing a huge bill for fixing the installed base, not a small incremental cost for better units in new installations that could be passed on to customers. No wonder they are fighting it, if the above is true.

    Is there no interest on these RFI matters from the AM broadcast industry ( if you still have one) or the military?
    M1WML and WB5THT like this.
  13. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The AM industry is non-existent, and has been for at least 30 years.

    In the late 1990s, there was an attempt to sell off the MF broadcast spectrum for local commercial broadcasting, but there were no takers.

    Public safety and air traffic control communications, low-UHF cellular operators are now recognising the threat posed by PV installations and other RFI sources, together with the few commercial HF users and the military.
    But it also takes support behind the regulatory decisions from the political leadership, which up to now has been almost non-existent, to the dismay of radio users and the EMC community.

    A year ago, the Defence Research Agency and the agency responsible for EMC matters jointly presented an in-depth study about the RFI threats for the political leadership. It was largely ignored, as the subject is poorly understood and EMC measures are mostly seen as only wasting money.

    A few law-suits about denied planning permissions for PV installations near ATC or military communication installations are underway, and legal precedent will come out of these.

    Only by joining forces with other weak-signal users can amateur radio have a chance to survive in this. On our own, we are seen as completely irrelevant and just become "thrown to the wolves"...

    UT7UX, M1WML, WB5THT and 2 others like this.
  14. K9GLS

    K9GLS Guest

    Can the decline be attributed to cost of getting a license? I saw one post that was $60 to take a test, then a yearly renewal fee... I'm sure if the USA goes that route we will see a slow decline as well.
    M1WML and N0CEL like this.
  15. W4HM

    W4HM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Quality is better than quantity.:)
    NE2E, K0PV, UT7UX and 3 others like this.

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