[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [CQ-Contest] K5GO speaks out for youth in contesting

To: "cq-contest@contesting.com" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] K5GO speaks out for youth in contesting
From: RT Clay <rt_clay@bellsouth.net>
Reply-to: RT Clay <rt_clay@bellsouth.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 17:50:33 +0000 (UTC)
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
This comes up a lot- people keep saying that the reason young people are not 
interested in ham radio is because of smart phones, the internet, online 
computer games, etc. The idea being that today's instant communication makes 
ham radio seem boring.

The problem with this as the cause, however, is that in the 1980's (when I was 
first licensed as a "young person"), none of those were around and the number 
of young people in ham radio and especially contesting was also very small :)


    On Thursday, March 24, 2016 9:32 AM, David Gilbert 
<xdavid@cis-broadband.com> wrote:

I enjoy contesting, but it's a legacy that isn't going to successfully 
compete for attention among anything beyond a very small percentage of 
today's youth.  Most of the young ops at Field Day or contest stations 
are only there because of some family connection, and most of those 
don't last.  Even the great majority of new hams the ARRL likes to tout 
as evidence of a growing base don't stick with the hobby ... if they 
did, we wouldn't be having these discussions.  I do think that 
contesting is drawing a growing percentage of hams, but the base is 
getting old fast, and from my perspective here are some of the reasons:

1.  Ham radio is expensive, especially of you actually want to be 
competitive instead of just participating.  Rigs and antennas cost far 
more than a decent computer or smart phone, both of which offer far more 
effective communication and opportunities for competition.

2.  Ham radio requires antennas.  They are physically obtrusive and 
often create conflict with neighbors.  Hardly anybody has to fight to 
get connected to the internet.

3.  Ham radio is real time and unreliable, subject to the vagaries of 
propagation and activity on the other end.  Applications like Twitter, 
Facebook, and online forums (like this one) are precise, dependable, and 
"sticky" (you can read and answer at your convenience).  Online game 
competition against real opponents from around the world is available 
around the clock every day with virtually no waiting.

4.  Ham radio requires a license, one which many of us perceive as 
relatively easy to get but which isn't needed at all for any other 
pursuit.  It's a roadblock with no particular advantage to the user ... 
it's not like it keeps LIDs off the air.

5.  Almost any video game out there is more immediate with more intense 
real time competition than ham radio contesting has.  You compete 
directly against opponents who can counter your moves almost instantly, 
and you see the result of that interaction immediately. The breadth of 
"weapons", each with their own effects and deficiencies, is probably an 
order of magnitude greater than available to a contest operator.  The 
required strategies for success vary with every match and every 
opponent, and often change significantly on the fly.  Radiosport has 
nothing that even comes close to it (and if you try to tell me that 
breaking a pileup qualifies you are really out of touch).

I honestly hope that radiosport hangs around for a while ... it's fun 
for me and I have a lot of money invested in it.  But it needs to change 
if it's actually going to draw new people to the game. I've tried to 
come up with the idea of a contest format that would capture some of the 
real time features of a video game, particularly the ability to directly 
and immediately counter (either by action or by score) the actions of 
another contester, but so far I haven't come up with anything.  But if 
you think something like that isn't relevant, picture how attractive a 
video game or smart phone app would be if you simply sent messages to a 
bunch of other users with no effect on what they did and you had to wait 
days, weeks, or months before you saw whether or not you sent more than 
they did.

Ham radio simply doesn't have the fascination for anybody today that it 
did for us ... and if we were young again in today's world it wouldn't 
for us either.  If we want to change the demographics of our hobby, our 
hobby is going to have to change.  It's as simple as that.

Dave  AB7E

On 3/23/2016 7:17 AM, George via CQ-Contest wrote:
> Kudos to Stan, K5GO, for going public on the "youth in contesting" 
> issue with his conversation with editor, Brian, N9ADG, in the ARRL 
> Contest Update, March 23, 2016 issue.  Stan is a member of the CAC 
> subcommittee, along with W1UE, W0GJ, K4ZA, and NA0N, studying the 
> "Youth in Contesting" issue.
> http://www.arrl.org/contest-update-issues?issue=2016-03-23
> Check out Stan's article in the CONVERSATION Section, "Contesting 
> needs you...to share your station with new contesters!"  In this 
> piece, Stan spells out some interesting ideas and methods for getting 
> "potential new contesters" involved in a contest at your station.
> As part of the CAC subcommittee's work, they are collecting any leads 
> about how and where "youth" are involved in contesting, so if you know 
> of any, please let Stan or any of the subcommittee members know.
> 73, George, K5KG
> CAC Chairman

CQ-Contest mailing list

CQ-Contest mailing list
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>