Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Future of Ham Radio

I think there is plenty of opportunity for growth in ham radio. In January of 2014, I had a list of reasons why, but I'll add to it here.

1. Morse code is no longer a barrier to entry.
2. Cheap radios mean cost is not a barrier to entry.
3. The prepper/survivalist movement includes interest in communications.
4. Ham radio on TV!
5. Maker movement and low cost computing options - think Raspberry Pi and SDR.
6. The breadth of ham radio - EME, digital modes, "traditional" HF, contests, Skywarn, ARES and the like, 

This January, I did several charts (1, 2, 3, and 4) to provide a visual for evaluating what is happening with the licenses.

Jeff's tweet and article are what brought this back to the top of my list.
"If on-air chatter, hamfest chit-chat, forum and blog postings are a reliable measure, then a large number of radio amateurs live in constant fear of the death of the hobby. This of course flies in the face of actual data — which shows the number of licensees in the US are at an all-time high." 
This meme is faulty, the product of unimaginative thinking. “I believe that children are our future” — that sort of tired, simplistic rhetoric. The bio pages on QRZ are testament to the tens of thousands of hams who got interested in this hobby early in life, then had no time for it in subsequent decades. Only after marriage, family and career were well underway was there enough free time to consider a return to amateur radio.

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