Likely Future of ham radio

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KR0O, May 5, 2021.

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  1. KR0O

    KR0O Ham Member QRZ Page

    So I am a young ham waiting to become older to get my freedom and am worried ham radio will become completely useless by then... What are your thoughts?
    KO4ESA, KD2UHD, VK6APZ and 1 other person like this.
  2. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had the same thought in the 1960s when I was a young ham. So far, so good.
    KO4ESA, N5HXR, KD2UHD and 9 others like this.
  3. K2CD

    K2CD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think amateur radio has a fairly long way to go before it becomes useless. I'm not even sure what your concept of uselessness is. What do you wish to achieve?
    KO4ESA, PU2OZT, K0UO and 1 other person like this.
  4. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some of us got into it specifically because it was already useless.

    (I call it fun!)
    KO4ESA, US7IGN, VK6APZ and 9 others like this.
  5. KR0O

    KR0O Ham Member QRZ Page

    See I'm only 13 and want to achieve quite a few things in which those things I can already do at my age but I also want to do their stuff too including, becoming a VE and a few others
    KO4ESA, K0UO and KC3PBI like this.
  6. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My thoughts are this. Once we get into deep space missions, you will have to upgrade to Subspace Radios and they won't be cheap and you likely won't be able to build / repair them at home!
    KO4ESA, KR4EE and KA4DPO like this.
  7. K2CD

    K2CD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ok, I understand. You specifically mentioned becoming a VE and unfortunately that is one of the things that has an age limit of 18. I have a strong feeling that the program will still be going five years from now. I know that five years can seem like an eternity when you're 13, but believe, you will get there and wonder how you got there so fast.
    KO4ESA, WQ4G, WZ7U and 1 other person like this.
  8. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congratulations on your achievements (in all things) and especially Amateur Radio.

    The future has always been fraught, since the dawn of civilization.

    Who we are and what we can become, both as individuals and as an avocation, has always been a tenuous balance among opportunity,
    hard work, and plain dumb-luck.
    If you truly value Amateur Radio, as many of us here do, work hard to become the best Amateur radio operator you can
    be--and by that set a good example for others. For good, and bad, that is how ham radio has survived--limped-along despite the
    bad examples and persisted because some hams have always demanded standards for themselves and from others.

    Do not be swayed by those who diminish your chosen pursuit by saying, "It's only a hobby." That's partially true, and your life should
    have balance; but make it a hobby with standards of self-discipline and desire for self-improvement.

    Work on yourself to make Amateur Radio the hobby you want it to be, and it will continue to be there for you.
    And oh, by the way, you will frequently come across non-dues-paying members of Dimwits on the Dial, who among other things, will
    tell you you're "off-frequency."
    Don't engage, spin the Big Knob, and find someone to talk to who deserves your time and energy.

    Last edited: May 5, 2021
    KT4PH, KO4ESA, K6LPM and 7 others like this.
  9. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, at your age you could easily be active for another 60, 70 or even 80 years - things will have changed a lot by the time you power the shack down for the last time! I had my first QSO almost fifty years ago and the current hobby is very different to what it was back then. There were no computers available to us, so all QSOs were communications between two human beings - either by a Morse key or a microphone. Amateur radio is going digital - with increasing rapidity - and an increasing fraction of the communication is between computers with the human operator largely standing by, watching. I don't think that is a particularly good thing - the question is whether or not it is a trend that will continue, or will enough people get bored with watching their PCs winning DXCC awards on their behalf and remember what the microphone is for? There is a school of thought that the rise of FT8 is just a reaction to a particularly long and deep solar minimum and, in another couple of years when the sun looks like a teenager with a bad case of acne, the bands will be buzzing with conversation again... We can but hope!

    If you are still active sixty years from now, my guess is that the levels of activity will be lower because all us old farts will have hung up our keys and the number of replacements from your generation will be less than we were. I also suspect that the geographical distribution of hams will be different. Radio communications has largely lost its WOW factor in the affluent, largely white first world and that is making it difficult to recruit people of your age. But at the same time, the populations of the third world are becoming more affluent and better educated. It's also easy to forget that the possession of radio transmitters can be restricted in countries with less than perfect democracies. Fifty years ago when I was first licenced, the levels of activity in Eastern European communist countries was pretty low - their governments did not like them having the means to communicate without restrictions. As the Soviet Union collapsed, we saw a rapid growth in amateur radio activity - to the point where three quarters of the stations we hear round here in a contest are from old communist regimes. A lot of those third world countries with improving economies have also been subject to a lot of censorship and, as they democratise, this will boost the WOW factor for citizens who are suddenly trusted to own a rig and talk to anyone, anywhere in the world!

    So, what is the likely future of ham radio? Probably a lot less conversation and a lot more PC-to-PC communications. And probably less activity within the current centres of the hobby, but at least partly replaced by activity from countries that are currently fairly silent on the bands...

    Martin (G8FXC)
    KT4PH, KO4ESA, N4FZ and 3 others like this.
  10. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You are the future, JJ. Be the change you want to see.
    KT4PH, KO4ESA, KR0O and 16 others like this.

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