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Is Ham Radio in Australia on the Decline?

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

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  1. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    And technology made the elite radiomen irrelevant and reduced communications to a job a monkey can do. To stay in a past that no longer exists is to doom the hobby forever. What is needed Karl-Arne is not the past, but a future that is built upon the best bits the past has to offer while removing the redundant parts.

    The hobby has a future, and what made us great in the past will make us great again in the future. Its not about being elite, its about embracing self education in radio, electronics and communications and making that the focus of what we do. I agree, we need less wackers and preppers and more who desire to home brew and learn CW. These are the things what made your elite great and we can do those things again without being elite, we do it out of desire and sense of history.

    These are the things we need national societies to embrace and promote, anything less than that and we might as well be CBers.
    VK3CRS, M0MNE, W0PV and 1 other person like this.
  2. JF1IRQ

    JF1IRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please tell me in an easy-to-understand manner.

    73 JF1IRQ
    PU2OZT likes this.
  3. G4OBB

    G4OBB Ham Member QRZ Page

    More drive and knob twiddling will give you 1 KW problem!
  4. G0KDT

    G0KDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    An interesting debate. Here we seem to have had a huge influx of returnees to Amateur Radio. It has has even made Tv and Commercial Radio time during the Covid period.

    Now the complete mess of ICNIRP 2020 for EMF licence conditions have hit. I agree with Karl -Arne in that it seems to me that there is a move against radio users. I say users as the regs apply to all radio users. The issue is the way it has been consulted and delivered in that even the regulator has not presented clear rules on ICNIRP 2020. Combine that with the proliferation of 5G cell phone tech and, no licence exam and a phone that does such a lot ... dare we even mention the likes of Peanut or other comms modes also from a phone and it is hard to see how to draw new blood into the amateur radio world.

    And all the while it is getting more difficult for older amateurs to keep up with changes. The regulator doesn't even want to write to licencees they expect them to chase and stay on top of changes themselves or to subscribe to internet email bots. It just isn't a sign of a healthy engagement.

    It maybe me, but watching the 'used/secondhand' webpages of some radio suppliers but there seems to be a recent flood of newish hf kit appearing... people quitting and giving up?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  5. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    By «Past» we may interpret as mastering A1A (likewise an ex-Radio-Officer) and fully understanding Tubes, Transformators...
    ...and by «Future» everything about programing, most modern components, boards, I/O, protocols...

    As you've gathered $5k worth parts, you retire inside your $200k lab/workshop for a couple weeks and build the nicest glowing 2kW amplifier.

    JF1IRQ likes this.
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Conforming to the ICNIRP 2020 rules is quite easy for mobile telephony operators, as their antennas with very few exceptions are quite far from residential spaces, and very seldom directly aimed at them.

    In my professional practice evaluating EMF exposure, I have only once come across an mobile telephony base station causing more than 10% of the limit value for exposure of the general public in the UHF and lower microwave ranges.

    As local broadcasting stations are relatively rare and low-powered this kind of exposure has been considered as largely insignificant by the regulators. In the rare case of applying for planning permission for a higher-powered broadcast transmitter, an EMF evaluation may be required.

    The major concerns for EMF exposure usually come from occupational safety considerations, and military radio installations, both fixed and mobile, are routinely evaluated in order to get their system safety "sign-off".

    Most end up in prescribing "do not stand so close to the antennas that you can reach out and touch them..."

    In theory, amateur radio is also required to show compliance with the ICNIRP rules, but after evaluating typical amateur installations the radiation safety agency decided against demanding a compulsory self-assessment.

    They found out that the number of amateurs actually measurably active was so low that their total contribution could be neglected. Further, their analysis showed that the majority of "high-power amateurs" lived in detached houses and did not expose the general public to EMF. The reduction of the general permitted power level to 200 W two years ago may also have contributed.

    Returning to the original question, a "though-experiment" may be appropriate.

    Consider a hypothetical situation where amateur radio had not existed before. How would you formulate a "sales pitch" to make the regulators allocate large swats of spectrum to this new radio user group?

    PU2OZT likes this.
  7. G0KDT

    G0KDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mobile is not an issue really. Home HF Setup is quite another matter here.

    The regulator has this:-

    And RSGB have this:-

    At 10MHz which is as low at the calculators work (and they are both still using 1998 table criteria!) the required compliance distance is 4.7m .... modern housing have small gardens or living in a flat/shared accommodation and it gets even worse.

    As I say I'm seeing quite a lot of HF kit that is relatively new appearing in 'used' advertisements.
  8. M0MNE

    M0MNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I totally agree about the power uplift. We have the same system in the UK, Foundation, Intermediate and Full. The power restriction on the Foundation licensees would have been ok in the 1970s when you would really struggle to find a clear channel because ham radio was so popular back then. Nowadays, 10W is a big impediment to enjoying the hobby, particularly with new comers. Now, don't get me wrong, I have contacted CANADA with 10W power SSB, but that was out portable, in a remote location and high up on a hill and it was not without a bit of good fortune. 10 Watts is a real struggle these days, and it is really off putting for someone starting out in the hobby. I think the power limits for Foundation, Intermediate and Full should be 50 watts, 100 watts and 400 watts respectively. I would also advocate a 1kW variation which can be applied for provided your station is as far away as possible from other property, like, 1km for instance, so if you live in the countryside, 1kW should be allowed on certain bands. Life is too short for QRP.
    KE0EYJ, KF4ZKU and PU2OZT like this.
  9. K3RW

    K3RW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An undeniable problem worldwide seems to be a competition between the perceived 'free riders' of the amateur community, versus the paying commercial community. Any perceived encroachment on 5G, broadband over powerline, RFI, etc., always comes back to negatively affect the amateur community.

    Perhaps a more argumentative leading to decline is the perception that older ham wish to continue the gauntlet licensing experience they endured, no matter what the purpose or relevance it has today. At what WPM do I become a 'master'? When I can do 30wpm will I silence the No Code critics once and for all? If the code requirement only freed up more spectrum for the old timers to splatter all over HF, what is then the purpose there? If we have fewer amateurs altogether, we have a diminished voice everywhere.

    Radio has the potential to be a big deal with the STEM and builder community, if it wants to be. But if even in Australia (like the USA), it lends itself to a grouch old guard, it will fade moreso than it should.
  10. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course it wont. When i started learning CW I had 2 locals telling me i was doing it all wrong and that I was hopeless at code and would never be as good as them because they HAD to sit a code test to get their licenses. Neither owns a key or has used CW since passing their exam. Of course they got rather upset when i told them that it sucks to be them because they had to pass an exam to become CBers, a giant waste of time and effort and I choose to use CW because its interesting and a challenge.

    If there is one thing I have learned, is that those who think they are some elite are never going to accept you, and if you are in fact better than them in pretty much every way, they will resent you. Quite a few people hate my arse and this makes me smile :)
    K3RW and PU2OZT like this.
  11. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The sales pitch would be the same now or in your hypothetical. Ham radio is about self education in radio, electronics and communications and that hobbiests need some spectrum to be able to design, build and test their own work and communicate with others who do the same. There would be no commercial transceivers allowed, no power above 100w allowed, a basic safety and operating procedure exam followed by building your own transmitter and making a contact with it, code would be mandatory but not examined and HF only. To keep your license you need to have X number of confirmed code contacts per year, say 50, even if they are at 2 wpm. Use it or loose it.

    My ham radio would not be an elite, it would be a passionate.
    VK7HH and PU2OZT like this.
  12. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice thread discussion.

    It's seems relevant to me that other leisure (amateur) pursuits such as General Aviation, Recreational Boating, and Natural Conservationism, practiced by a similar minority of the Public, with similar self-educational and STEM features, utilizing admittedly more tangible yet also non-private resources of the air, water and land, have endured, survived and even prospered, without particularly special largess or neglect from their regulators, as allegedly some say in the near future Amateur Radio shall need or be subjected.

    There's little doubt that even only 10 years from now AR will look even more different to us "code-class" licensee's. But I am not overly concerned about its fundamental existence in some form.

    Gals & guys will still wonder how it all works and figure out how to do it. :)

    73, John, WØPV
  13. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Rob,
    Yes I appreciate that too. Social media can be a difficult one to handle, I should know, some of the comments on my channel prove that haha! On air, at least down here, the problem does exist at times. And if you chat around the club it's even worse with some individuals.
  14. KN6NWZ

    KN6NWZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would a free jar of vegemite with every ham radio purchase help turn this around?
    N0TZU, PU2OZT, G3SEA and 1 other person like this.
  15. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    HAHAHA, the comment section is a nightmare ;) thankfully i no longer have those problems, QRZ is the only ham site I am on. Best thing i ever did was quit all the VK facebook groups, they are a nightmare literally from satan, nothing more than a bunch of whiney man children trying to be relevant. A pox on all of them LOL

    I have never done the club thing, so i cannot comment on what they are like up here. But the few club guys I met from Redcliffe club were always very supportive of everything I have done.

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