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Re: [CQ-Contest] ....youth in contesting

To: Lloyd Cabral <KH6LC@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] ....youth in contesting
From: Gerry Hull <gerry@yccc.org>
Reply-to: w1ve@yccc.org
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 19:09:08 -0400
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Lloyd and Dave,

First, let me say that I disagree with you all.

The amateur radio population in the US is at an all-time high.  Yes, many
of these new hams are V/U types.
Part of the problem is we do not elmer them in HF operating.

- Many new hams hang out with like-minded V/U repeater ops, a natural
thing.  However, they soon tire
of this, often because GMRS and cell phones offer much the same
functionality of what V/UHF FM does.  Often,
these new hams let their license lapse.

Let me ask you a question:  If you are interested in technology, and are a
contester, why hasn't all of the other
technology around you taken you away from contesting/ham radio?  Why, I bet
it's because contesting, and HF ham radio are  as compelling now as it was
when those technologies did not exist.

HF./Shortwave radio is as compelling now as it was when Marconi first
spanned the Atlantic.  Yep, there is the internet and ubiquitous
communication everywhere on earth.  Why haven't we all given up and gone to
internet communications?
Because, for many reasons, we find the challenge of taming the sun and
electromagnetic waves exciting.

For me, all the new technologies ENHANCE my experience in HF Radio, they do
not detract from it.   I love software and
computers and networking and the internet.  But I still love the hobby I
started in 40 years ago.

Luckily their are exceptions to disprove your theory on young hams.

If you come to Dayton this year, you'll meet Marty, KC1CWF.   Marty got his
general by age 13.  The first time I met Marty was at the New England
Division ARRL Convention last summer.  Marty had signed up to operate the
special event station at the convention.   He sat down and I watched him
work at 150 Hour on SSB!    After his operating, I asked "Who is your dad,
what is his call?"  No, his dad was not a ham.  Neither was his mother (she
is getting her license because of her son).
Where did he take a class?  Nowhere.  Completely self-taught.  From the
internet and books.  He is one to watch -- we will see him in the records
in years to come.    Marty was part of our team at K6ND in ARRL DX SSB M/2
this year -- and we will be in the top 3 or 4.  He made a great

Matt, KC1DLY, 16 in less than a year, worked DXCC with a long wire in his
attic in CT.  He has his extra.

Kids Day is NOT the way to introduce teenagers to contests.  Teenagers
today are VERY sophisticated.   The way you hook teenagers is to have them
are part of REAL teams in REAL contests.. 2nd ops, multiplier hunters,
runners.  They will rise to the occasion.   They will eat up a M/M!  It's a
good bet that many tech teenagers can whip your station networks and
computers into better shape than most of us could.

We need HF/Shortwave ambassadors in Amateur Radio.... and who could be
better ambassadors to HF than contesters?
We live and breath HF every day.  We are experts at propagation, station
building and operating skill.

I not only believe this, I'm putting my money where my mouth is:  Actually,
my club and friends clubs are.
April 2nd in Winnipeg, MB and April 10th in Framingham, MA, we will be
putting on an event called "Discover the HF Experience".   In MB, this is
sponsored by RadioSport Manitoba, co-ordinated by Cary, VE4EA, and in MA by
the Yankee Clipper Contest Club, Port City Radio Club, and Framingham ARA.,
co-ordinated by myself.

At Discover the HF Experience, we will have talks about Bands and
Propagation, Buying your first HF Radio, Building Simple Antennas, Chasing
Awards, How the Internet enhances the HF Experience, and, yes, An
introduction to RadioSport (by K1DG).

A key factor at our event is OPERATING.  We are planning to have 4 remote
HF stations available at the event.  These will range from simple,
residential stations with 100w and wires to contest superstations with 30+
antennas and KWs, to DX locations.  At each station will be an elmer, to
help non-hams, V/U techs, and old timers, if thy are interested, to make HF

Operating remote may raise some people's feathers.  However, to new people
in this hobby, it's a natural fit.  It also allows us to demonstrate
without the physical limitations of the exhibit location.

We hope to work a lot of you on those weekends -- stop by and chat with
some of these ops.   In MA, we will be using the special callsign K1K from
all US-based remotes.

73, Gerry W1VE

On Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 2:38 PM, Lloyd Cabral <KH6LC@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Dave,
>       I'll have to agree with you on every point here.      You've pretty
> much laid it out.
> For the past 6 years we've been having groups of kids over for the January
> Kid's Day event.      We do it multi-multi style and make a big party out
> of it.
> We get a few kids who come back year after year so we're doing something
> right.
> Still, out of those dozens of kids that have come through here, exactly
> one has gone
> on to get his license.      What happened to ham radio clubs in the High
> Schools?
> I'm at the point where I truly believe if we stood at the Mall handing out
> ham radio
> licenses we wouldn't get any takers.      So yes, we should enjoy our
> hobby while we
> can because unless it morphs into something completely different I can't
> see it lasting.
>  73 & Aloha,  Lloyd
>  www.KH6LC.com
>                            *******************************
> Dave Gilbert 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.
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
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