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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. G3SEA

    G3SEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    While an 'acquired taste' it does have some healthy nutrients :cool:
  2. KN6NWZ

    KN6NWZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love vegemite. Marmite is only ok.
    G3SEA likes this.
  3. M0MNE

    M0MNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    The new rules have effectively put a stop to me being able to operate from home. My property is simply too small and I live on a gable end and exposed to the public on three sides. Effectively it limits my power to 10W. Couple that with my compromised antennas very low to the ground, it has effectively prevented me from operating altogether. Vertical antennas which are visible are out of the question. I used to go on the radio every day but now I do it out portable somewhere maybe once a week. So I started the hobby maybe 2 years ago and now it is already coming to an end.

    When I had my Foundation licence, I really struggled to find QSOs. I managed Canada once when I was out portable, but from home was like banging your head against the wall. It was an incentive to get 50W Intermediate. That's when the QSOs started coming in but still a struggle and mainly on 40m inter-G. That was SSB. Then I discovered FT8. But FT8 is, well... really boring!

    By the time I reached Full level, the new EMF rules came in, so now I'm effectively back to 10W again at home.

    Austin. M0MNE
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
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  4. M0MNE

    M0MNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it would need to be a free iPhone
  5. M0MNE

    M0MNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think people are really selling it. The local clubs in my area are largely keeping it to themselves, like tea and biscuits on a Sunday morning, it's for the ones in the know.

    The clubs need to be posting in schools, colleges and universities or perhaps even visiting them with a field day demo!
    Local museums and community hubs too.

    Encourage STEM and show that there are STEM hobbies too.


    Whose fault is that?
    Radio Amateurs.

    Somehow they find the hobby, but then they keep it to themselves because they can't explain it.

    The most common questions I get asked about amateur radio are:

    What are you doing?
    Why are you doing that?
    Who can you talk to?
    What do you talk about?

    Find good answers for those questions guys and tell everyone you know.

    Who was the last person you told about amateur radio? Did it go well or was it a bit awkward because you couldn't explain it very well?
  6. G0KDT

    G0KDT Ham Member QRZ Page


    I empathise, the revised licence system is a serious set of regulatory hurdles to get past. You did well to make it.

    I returmed to radio after a long break because work took over everything until I retired. I'd just got going and wham they started the 'so called consultation' and now as you say have hammered a lot of amateurs. Several people I know are doing as you are finding ways to to go /P or /M. I am a bit more fortunate but finding an efficient antenna at home is a serious problem.

    GL in your adventures I hope you find a way that can sustain your enjoyment of the hobby.
  7. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    In my experience, clubs are the places new hams go to die. When i first got licensed, I met quite a few new comers on air, we all did radio and had fun. But, those that took to going to the club, soon replaced doing radio with going to the club and eventually they all quit going to the club to, because of, you know, clubs.

    And we all know how clubs go, newbie turns up, newbie is full of passion and excited, newbie wants to do things, get jobs done and wants to liven things up and change the world for the better, the old school club members do not like this and culture war ensues and the newbie says F the lot of you idiots and leaves. And that is the end of the hobby of ham radio for said newbie, because ultimately they were not in it for the radio, they were in it to make friends.

    I have kept pretty much everyone in ham radio at arms distance for that very reason, familiarity breeds contempt, and I like my hobby and do not want to feel contemptuous about people in the hobby. Thats not to say I have not made good friends, but, I am in this hobby for the radio, people are almost irrelevant.

    I have been invited to give talks as clubs, I have been asked to be on one of those ham tv shows and podcasts. I have declined all such offers because whats the point of talking to a room full of old men and the soon to be deceased who are never going to go out and do anything with what I am talking about. I am passionate about my hobby and I have places to go and things to see and much to learn and understand. Talking to a room full of people who are just not interested is not something I ever want to do. There were 50+ hams within 10Km of where I used to live, I have heard exactly 3 of them on air and none of them more than a few times, but they go to the club and enjoy their man time.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  8. M0MNE

    M0MNE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey, let's do a field day!

    Oh but we've done those for 60 years young'n, it won't bring any newcomers and besides it's all risk assessments and PC Police nowadays

    Hey, let's start the radio net up again!

    I think everyone is happy with Zoom for the time being. We've done nets before and people just don't want to play radio

    Hey, let's encourage some younger folk into the hobby!

    Well, you're welcome to try, but we've been doing that for 60 years and now look at us.

    Younger person joins the club...

    Does all three levels, leaves. Doesn't tell anyone else about the club or the hobby.
    VK4HAT likes this.
  9. G0KDT

    G0KDT Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are clubs and clubs. Old man's Dominoes comes sittin' around drinkin' tea and I may even turn up the hearing aid but some do better and do try and engage in training and events. Risk assessments may get a tad more of a hassle for public events and schools.

    The one old tv scene that came to mind was Tony Hancock the radio Ham episode... I always cringe when I think about it...

    Its tough to compete with Internet but there are a few enterprising younger amateurs about. I'd like to see them enjoy it not be hounded out by cliquey fuddy duddy ism or deliberate over regulation.
    VK4HAT likes this.
  10. JF1IRQ

    JF1IRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Olivier

    Thank you very much.
    That's what you say.

    73 JF1IRQ
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  11. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    John, lucky you, able to fly planes.
    Flying vs AR
    1. everybody already took a plane
    2. everyone know Aviation History
    3. aviation has a strong comercial relevance
    4. aviation is an industrial sector in itself
    5. for aviation and space dreams are alive, including luxury
    6. aviation is crucial to emergency responses
    7. people know when a plane crashes. Last time heard of radio in a media was on Belgian TV, they were replacing their FM (no HF anymore) antenna explaining to audience how though the job was meanwhile FM reception was blank. Nice job from Belgian reporters and technicians. France would never do that so simply.
    8. imagine all altitude slices taken over by invasive drones, it's how we feel in HF.
    9. aviation and our hobby are more ennemies than you may think, e.g. France neo-socialist gov claiming, two years ago, the 2m band for planes trafic, rebucked by Germany, for how long?
    10. both hobbies need technical background. But apart from falling from a tower or HV zapped, how risky is ours? Not many nerdy plane designers flying their own machines.
    That's it, just wanted to reach 10, there might be some other ideas.
    Thanks for reading, hope was a concise response to «Aviation and Radio as Hobbies.»

  12. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Oliver, thanks for the comments. But I believe much on your list actually underlines more parallels to the situation of Amateur Radio (AR) then differences.

    My examples of other citizen amateur activities, which are often in competition with commercial objectives and subject to government regulation, were not meant to be perfect analogies, but I still think they are relevant to this discussion.

    Of course the claimed history, recognition, and privileges of GENERAL Aviation (GA) ie, licensed amateur flying, vary greatly between international cultures and jurisdictions. My main points are biased toward the perceptions and freedoms of GA currently found within the USA.

    The point of your list would seem to be an argument that GA as it is in the USA should not exist. Yet it does. And it certainly doesn't seem to have as bleak of a predicted future as some are making here for AR.

    Not because GA isn't "attacked" by interests competing for the resources it utilizes. The USA regulator, FAA, spends a LOT planning for and managing it (unlike the FCC for AR) all subsidized in some way by the Public. Certainly commercial airlines and cargo haulers would love to not have GA traffic around as a distraction or safety hazard.

    AR ought to look at GA as an example how to sustain within such a competitive environment, perhaps even become more allied in each others advocacy.

    GA in the USA and Amateur Radio already coexist quite well. Examples are of course the US Air Force Auxilliary / Civil Air Patrol, and many many USA amateurs that participate in both in various ways. One ham not long ago made headlines with a dramatic solo circumnavigation by Brian WB6RQN, followed by his public service work in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.

    I completely disagree with the last part of your #10. There is a large corps within the definition of GA composed of "nerdy plane designers flying their own machines". Not surprisingly, many are also radio amateurs. It's well represented by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which may be a good example for similar org's within AR, like the ARRL, to follow.

    73, John, WØPV
  13. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some good parallels to GA, but GA includes a lot of flying by and for businesses, and flight training for the next generation of pilots. So there is a constituency for government services that doesn’t have a parallel in amateur radio.
    PU2OZT likes this.
  14. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed, the GA analogy is not perfect, from the wiki definition it should exclude the following,

    Corporate Aviation
    Fractional Ownership Operations
    Business Aviation

    But certainly include these, which I bet involve many more people,

    Personal/Private Travel
    Air Tourism
    Recreational Flying
    Air Sports

    In regards to training, despite the fact that AR is no longer needed for many OTA "radiomen" in commercial operations, there are exceptions, such as the military (MARS, and beyond).

    The STEM aspect has taken the place of that (hence no code requirements); where do future really good RF EE's come from?

    Expert Ulrich Rohde N1UL has an opinion on that.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  15. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMO your post is spot on.

    I was first FCC Amateur licensed just prior to the last great "elitist" push, the great "Incentive Licensing" fiasco of the late 1960's.

    That made me realize that having had an effective "elite" past is no excuse for carrying forward an "elitist" exclusionary attitude abusing credentialing requirements such as Morse code that no longer have qualifying application relevance. And that's from a former NTS brass-pounder & one time 40 WPM op.

    Regarding CBers, lets not be too harsh on them either. Again, in my naive youth I was indoctrinated that anything related to 11 meters was "bad" and anybody who came from those roots is tainted and suspect.

    Eventually I realized how much rubbish that can be. Despite the distasteful antics, informally licensed CB can be a reasonable entry point for many into amateur two-way radio.

    Tuning around yesterday I came upon an example that radio amateurs are indeed CBers and that 11 meters has become just another recycled ham band. o_O

    Audio clip from one-side of "QSO" between KO4QOJ and KO4JVJ on 27.435 LSB. CB! :eek:

    I'm glad to have fellows like that cross-over from origins on CB. :)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
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