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Re: [CQ-Contest] Shortening the Contest(s)

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Shortening the Contest(s)
From: Zack Widup <w9sz@prairienet.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 09:03:18 -0600 (CST)
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Tue, 16 Mar 2004, Ed Parish K1EP wrote:

> With deep respect for you and your family Ellen, I think that the real 
> point is that we need to get more younger hams interested in contesting 
> (and in ham radio in general).  At some point, we were the younger hams 
> in contesting and could do the 48 hours.  Now, many of us are aging and 
> a comparative number of new and younger hams are not filling up the 
> ranks, at least in the US.  If the contest is to be of us geriatrics, 
> then maybe it should be modified in some way.  But I should hope not, 
> for the sake of the hobby and for the preservation of the contest 
> tradition. 

This brings up a question that has bugged me for most of my life (I was 
first licensed at the age of 14).  What is there about us that is 
different and why are the percentages so few?  When I got my license in 
high school, out of a school of 600-700 students only 4 had ham licenses.  
When I came to the University of Illinois which had a student body of 
35,000 the school radio club had maybe 50 members.  There were other hams 
around who weren't in the club, but the total couldn't have been over a 
couple hundred for the whole school.

We definitely need new contesters, but are the percentages ever going to 
be very high? My only concern would be if those percentages were dropping.  
I have always been intrigued by radio as radio, as the method of relaying 
the communication more than the fact of communication. Someone pointed out 
somewhere recently that most people don't care whether they are talking to 
someone else via radio or telephone, they have no interest in what the 
mode of communication is.  I guess a small percentage of us are different.  
We just need to find those other people who haven't been introduced to it 

I think the solution is to become an Elmer, go to schools and put on 
demonstrations, go to local clubs and do programs on contesting, invite 
prospective contesters over to get their feet wet in contests, and maybe 
we will find those few rare individuals.

73, Zack W9SZ

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