What can we individually do to help the vibrant growth of Ham Radio?

Discussion in 'Videos and Podcasts' started by KI4CFS, Sep 30, 2019.

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  1. W0AEW

    W0AEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You make it sound like ham radio is some fundamentalist religion that must be forced down the throats of the unwilling. Do you see people interested in fishing, hunting, flying, racing, etc. constantly going on about "recruiting" people to their hobbies? If people are interested in ham radio, they'll pursue that interest and jump thru all the licensing hoops.

    Plus, why measure the vibrancy of ham radio by the number of licensees? Why do things always have to constantly "grow" to be considered successful?
    K8MHZ and N1OOQ like this.
  2. KI4ZUQ

    KI4ZUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a good point! Most of the seminars I have attended at ham conventions are interesting but a little above my level. Maybe more seminars during the year at clubs would get some quality in the knowledge base of existing operators. My case in particular in stumbling around with trying to homebrew an antenna coupler after building one that did not work on an endfed wire. An Elmer on here brought me up to speed on using the Smith diagram to find what components and values and arrangement will do the job. He did more than either the Handbook and the Antenna Book put together. With all the spectrum available and modes there has to be SOMETHING to excite people!
    KI4CFS likes this.
  3. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    "stop testing for licenses"?
    "teacher not breaking it down enough"?
    "a little above my level"?

    I started from the beginning (sinking of the Titanic, the Radio Act of 1912 and spark gap transmitters) with my series of presentations on amateur radio digital communications. (Yes, too much information causes eye glazing.) It's been my experience that seminars usually start at "This computer does it all, just hook it up and turn it on. See how simple it is?" I've walked out mid-way on just about all seminars I see at hamfests. (Yes, teacher didn't break it down enough.)

    Is it "we" as hams who are not doing enough? Or is it those who show a little interest not doing enough?

    Maybe "we" as hams just need to back off. And maybe start rolling our eyes when someone shows a little interest. And start telling these people, "Maybe this isn't for you." (How does that make you feel when someone says you can't have something? As a minimum, it filters out those who don't really want it and saves some time, doesn't it?)

    Everywhere I look I see things that have become too complicated. And their introduction systems, in an effort to "increase their numbers" have deleted the history, focused on what is in the now, and expect the newcomers to take it in faith that's the way it's always been and this is the way it'll always be.

    I see a lot more frustrated people these days than I did a couple decades ago. Maybe it *is* time to go the way of the CB license if all we want to do is increase our numbers. After all, if you have a question like, "which is positive: red or black?", you can post it in a forum like this one to find the answer.

    (Can you detect some frustration in me?)
    ND6M and KI4ZUQ like this.
  4. WQ2H

    WQ2H QRZ Lifetime Member #214 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    IMHO it's simple. Focus on the fascination, not the politics of "growing the hobby".

    People, especially young people, can easily recognize energy, fascination, and discovery and often quickly detach from the politics and BS. The beauty of youth. :)

    Great link from the club here in NH. https://www.n1fd.org/category/education-training/

    Jim, WQ2H / WK2XAH
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  5. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    'Focus on the fascination, not the politics of "growing the hobby"'

    What politics? Of growing the hobby? I don't know what you're talking about here. Where is there politics in getting someone interested in ham radio?

    Fascination? YES! That's what go me into ham radio. Stories of weak signal CW DXing late into the evening! I found that fascinating to the point of having an obsession over it and to do it no matter what it takes! I dreamed about it at night until I got my novice license (when I was 13 years old). I can't describe how good I felt with my first DX as a novice! (A south american station, Brazil, I believe.)

    Question of the day/week/month/year: what fascinates a kid today? (Having taught high school and college in the past couple of years, I have an idea... kids today are very different compared to a couple decades ago...)

    The last time I remember actually sparking an interest in amateur radio was when I was going through Air Force Officer Training School (1997). Those destined to become pilots found out I was a communicator and a ham and hounded me throughout OTS to use the standard phonetic alphabet at every opportunity (to help them with memory retention) and continuously test them on the "dots and dashes" of Morse code so they could decode VOR's by memory while their hand was on the stick. It was an interest in something to achieve something greater--it was a means to end--they weren't interested in getting a call sign (other than a tactical pilot call signs, like "vipor" or "mango" or "skinner" or "rufus" or what ever...)

    What fascinates a kid today? Look at what's trending on twitter right now. Look at who has the most friends on facebook right now. Look at what 30 second videos on youtube has the highest number of views right now. Look at what video games are selling right now. Look at what apps have the most downloads right now.

    After a deep breath, let me just say this: keep on trying. I'll stand by to see if anybody else has any other ideas. Or better yet, some real stories of success in producing a fascination in ham radio in someone who didn't know of it previously.
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  6. W0AEW

    W0AEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    w5uaa, you make a very interesting point. If I were in contact with young people and could actually be "recruited" by them into their interests, then maybe they'd be interested in what I was doing. But it would be a casual thing, not something I would set out to do with the intention of recruiting with some goal in mind of increased numbers of licensees or inspiring young people in some aspect of science or engineering that intersects with our hobby. But I have very little opportunity for engaging with youngsters since all my friends are empty nesters, and I'm not in the Scouts or other youth-oriented organizations.
  7. KF5KWO

    KF5KWO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This just popped into my mind... Let’s say it’s a few weeks before a big HF contest, and you’re planning to participate in it. Maybe contact the local VEs and ask if you can come to the next test session and invite any of the test-takers (almost said “testees!”) to come over to your station and help out in the contest. Some of them might have already been exposed to contests and be interested.

    Or maybe try the same thing before Field Day, or something your club is doing, or maybe if you’re planning to put up an antenna and want to show the newbies how it’s done.

    It might not always work, but you never know. I’m an extrovert at times because I like to make people feel welcome when they arrive at work, especially the new/junior people who aren’t used to working with adults — unless those adults are drill instructors. Gotta break through that wall and get people comfortable with the team, etc.

    Anyway, sounds like I’ve got something I need to try. :)

    EDIT: Of course, this focuses on people already interested in ham radio and not recruiting from people who know nothing about it. But we’ve all ready plenty of posts about newly licensed hams either getting the cold shoulder, a cold or unwelcoming welcome, or not knowing exactly where to begin, etc.

    73 de Jeff, KF5KWO
    Helotes, TX
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  8. KI4ZUQ

    KI4ZUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Plant the seeds, boys and girls! Scatter more seeds and get some plants growing. Don't waste time scattering seeds on rocks or in the grass but on fertile ground. Some will grow. Says that kind of thing somewhere else.....
  9. NE1U

    NE1U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ham radio is very personal. Personal in that every ham's interest is different that the person sitting next to them (figuratiely and literally speaking).

    If you think that younger people should be enticed, then *you* join a group and/or find some people identified as a group that you believe would be interested ... at least some percentage. For instance, I could care less about anything identified as radio sport, aka contests. Yet runners, hikers, and bicyclists that go some distance and off the beaten track where most of us live might be enticed. That doesn't mean that you need to turn your tired old bones into some sort of an athelete .. unless gently done ... but could at least leverage your interest into what the runnershikersbikers like to talk with them about their interests. Oh Oh Oh you also have this interest involving radio that you wonder how you could use it if you could actually come close to what they do.

    Depending how physically able your are, you might try to get them to "adopt" you sotospeak. And you could infect them with your interest.

    Point is, something has be a mutual interest
  10. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    ... what can you do to promote amateur radio? How about giving it rest for a while. I seriously doubt if you are going to come up with something 'new' and 'exciting' that several people haven't already tried before. Really splurge and get a bumper sticker!

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