23 Jul 2009

Ham radio and young people?

Last night I gave my "Kitchen Table Minimalist Radio" talk at the Peterborough Radio Club. Everyone was very welcoming and, to my surprise, there was a very good number of people there to hear me. Afterwards quite a lot of the group came up to take a look at some of the homebrew gear that I had made and talked about.

One thing that struck me, again, is how few young people there were there. Having given similar talks in 3 clubs in East Anglia now, one can count on one hand the number of youngsters (boys/girls) at the meetings. OK, it could be my subject did not appeal to them, but I think this is a more general issue and one that we HAVE to address seriously or the hobby will die with us in another 20 years or so.

The RSGB (and I suspect the ARRL) have initiatives such as GB4FUN to help this shortfall of youngsters coming into the hobby. I feel that it is in the schools, youth clubs and scout groups that we have to inspire kids with the magic of radio.

Even after 50 years, radio still is magical for me. I just wish I could help to "spread the word" to today's young people. Also, industry NEEDS new radio engineers before the oldies die out!

1 comment:

g4ilo said...

I agree we still haven't found a way to interest many young people in this hobby. I'm afraid given mobile phones and the internet the idea of bouncing waves off the ionosphere in the hope they arrive may seem rather eccentric.

Perhaps the trick would be to let them experience the fun and mystery of morse code contacts with low power, without requiring any previous training, using a simple type approved QRP VXO CW transceiver and a wire antenna?