>I don't believe that the drop in VHF contesting has anything to do with
age, deed >restrictions or anything of the sort. Those are excuses that
people like to use
You can dismiss the deed restriction epidemic as an excuse but I am here to
tell you that in Florida that is the single biggest barrier to new hams.
Each year for several years I taught the physics classes for a day at my
kids school (Maxwell/electromagnetic radiation) and concluded each class
with a 15 minute demonstration of ham radio as the practical application
(Yaesu FT-1000D with Cushcraft R-7 mounted outside the classroom and usually
a couple of Europeans standing by). The kids were absolutely enthralled
with the demonstration.
I had a sign-up sheet for students interested in following up with license
classes, etc. The first year I had 36 students sign up. After an
orientation session, virtually every one of them came back to report that
their parents told them they could not have an antenna. Most said it was
because there were homeowner restrictions and a few just because their
parents didn't want an antenna in their yard or didn't want "to interfere
with the neighbors TV." Remember that these kids were seeing an rather
innocent looking R-7 mounted on a 10' pipe driver into the ground, not a
tower, yagi etc and I informed them they could use simple wire antennas too.
I then volunteered a complete station for a club station at the school and
discovered the administration would not give up any space for this, AND I
had to have a faculty member be responsible for the whole project. After
three years of this, I gave up and now just have the kids come over to my
For most SSB contests as some of you know, I have a bunch of high school
kids over and they have fun working guys around the world. I have a large
map that we mark with the stations we work, and they also have a good social
time of it since I'm oceanfront here and they spend time at the beach. None
the less, getting these kids licensed with the specter of not being able to
work HF because of antenna restrictions is the main impediment.
It's just not the same as when we were kids. These kids are technically
proficient and point out they can talk with anyone in the world with their
"IM", but for several they can feel the magic we all felt that first time we
experienced ham radio.
I don't have a solution, but I think a focused lobbying campaign with the
FCC to supersede these omnipresent deed restrictions is the first place to
My 2 cents.
Jon Hamlet, W4ZW
Casey Key Island, Florida
"A little piece of paradise in the Gulf of Mexico"
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