What’s up with the bands?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4HWD, Jun 13, 2019.

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  1. WA4KCN

    WA4KCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes. The growth in number of licensees has been falling and is now near 0. It is likely to soon go negative. The rate of growth and in particular the absolute number of licensees is a lagging indicator as to the health of HR due to the 10 year license term. A leading indicator is on air activity. And although difficult to measure, the decline is so obvious as to be self evident.

    This reality is not the fault of licensees or the FCC or ARRL. It is simply a function of a stark generational change. A change that is of a greater magnitude than others. Several things are at the root of the differing values of the millennial generation - the next group to replace baby boomers and the next group of would be hams. More millennials have college degrees than any other generation before them. This means they are weighted down financially with debt. This in turn makes them consider most hobbies as frivolous and an unnecessary waste of finances. Many late millennials live with their parents as you know. Many prefer socialism over capitalism. Secondly they witnessed and lived through the Great Recession. This period had a significant impact on their beliefs in how the economy works and or does not work and again how they plan to spend their money. They see the spending habits of boomers as excessive with to great an emphasis on hobbies, adult toys and things unnecessary to meeting the daily needs of life. A millennial says why a ham radio when I can communicate to the world with my cell phone. That is much more a statement as to the necessity of ham radio in our life than a comparative statement of technology. In other words they are not going to care about radio for its own sake. That is why I am a ham but will be laughable to the generation of spenders coming up since radio for radios sake will be seen as an unnecessary luxury. That is much different than a boomer generation that for the most part just can’t understand what radio for its own sake even means.

    Millennials are creating industry and they are destroying industry. Ham radio needs millennials to replace boomers and given their values, they are an unlikely group to ensure the continuation of ham radio.
  2. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    So let's get folks off the forums and On The Air! :cool:
  3. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    But, the fact remains, there are more hams every year, the growth continues, and is much improved from what it was in the early 90s. The hobby is much healthier than it was then--when it could certainly be argued it was "dying."

    Some millennials, those without a good grasp of what ham radio is, may wonder why it is more than a smart phone. But others don't. Plenty of Millennials show up at our VE sessions, at least.

    It's not the fault of anyone, since ham radio isn't dying.

    Ham radio has supposedly been dying since CW began replacing spark, SSB began replacing AM, FM repeaters got popular, packet radio was born, and, now, when new digital modes are on the air. I'm not surprised to hear predictions of its demise. What amazes me, though, is that some hams seem to want the avocation to die. I'm not sure why that is. They don't like Change? They don't want ham radio to outlive them? I just don't know.
    WU8Y likes this.
  4. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just checked in on 40. Slim pickings this afternoon, but the WVA QSO Party is going on, and I did work a few West Virginians (CW). :)
  5. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    SOME newbies (and even "oldies,") have no patience. Yes, we ARE at the bottom of a sunspot (Cycle 24,) but in a year or so, we will experience much better conditions. even getting better on 15, and even 10 Meters, without Es sessions, as Cycle 25 takes steam.

    As far as "cell phones" go, "Who ya' gonna call?" If you don't already have their cell number, (aside from robocalls) who CAN you call? There is no "CQ" on your cell phone, as far as I know. Amateur radio lets you contact as many strangers as you wish, and some may become frequent friends.:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
    W4NNF likes this.
  6. VK2WP

    VK2WP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    With the All Asian DX CW contest in full raging swing as I type its amazing how dead bands come alive from end to end with signals.
    W5BIB, W4NNF, VK4HAT and 1 other person like this.
  7. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Exactly. OH, there's always a little of "radio is dead," but when the bands begin to crawl out of minimum that fades into the background noise. :)
    WA9SVD, VK2WP and KP4SX like this.
  8. KG5UN

    KG5UN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thats why I like satellites, no propagation needed!
  9. WA4KCN

    WA4KCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good points (always a but) but today we don’t need predictions. It’s a reality. The bands in the 90’s were alive and well. Today not so. It’s before us. We are in the decline. The growth rate is in decline and the number of licensees is a lagging indicator.

    I am saddened by this but happy that for some time, at least, amateur radio can be enjoyed. The best advice on this that I have heard is to enjoy HR while we have it. That’s my plan.
  10. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Numbers of hams is pretty irrelevant. How many are actually on the air, and how often?

    I have to agree - I've hammed through down sunspot cycles before but I've never seen the bands the near ghost towns they often seem now (phone and somewhat on CW anyway.)

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