27 May 2020

The future of amateur radio

Southgate News has a piece from the South African Radio League (SARL) saying that amateur radio is as relevant now as it was 95 years ago. I'd like to believe this, but I don't.

When I was young, radio and whole idea of talking across the planet was pure magic. One had to become a radio amateur to be able to do this.

These days we can video with anyone on Earth using the internet for free. Communicating around the world is no longer magic. As much as we dress this up, this is the reality.

If our hobby is to survive and grow we have to engage people with what is magic for them today. If we do not, I can see our hobby just disappearing within 20 years as many get old and die.

I can see fewer amateurs, a declining market, fewer and thinner mags and fewer manufacturers.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/may/amateur-radio-today-is-as-relevant-as-it-was-95-years-ago.htm#.Xs5S-yjYq00


Paul Stam PAØK said...

Hi Roger, I have five children and none of them are interested in the radio hobby. They look at me pityingly, we still have internet, they say. Friends of mine don't understand the hobby either. I think it is true that the hobby will be gone in 20 or 30 years. 73 Paul

Todd Dugdale said...

It's encouraging to see senior hams taking a realistic attitude, instead of the delusional denial shown in the linked article.

I'd quibble over the timeline. I don't see ham radio being much more than a hollow shell within ten years.

The essence of the hobby is two people talking to each other. But that has become almost a last resort; too much like "CB".

Instead, it's now almost entirely about "making contacts" with people as far away as possible, with an implied subtext that we *could* talk -- if it came to that. Next, we need to create artificial motivations to make contacts -- known as "contests". And of course, making contacts with the same person *twice* is pointless (it literally gains you no points), so we need a constant supply of new people to keep the charade going.