Been here done all that.
It is just like general club participation.
I know of several clubs in my area, where the average membership is
between 60 and 80 members,
Yet it is pretty close that only 10% actually show up to any of the
meetings. It is the usual 4 board of directors and two or three others.
And this 10% extends pretty much the other way too, while membership is
60 to 80, according to QRZ, the ham population in this area that the
club has to pull members from is close to 600 hams in this area.
I was amazed the other day, I thought I knew most of the active hams
around me. But just for the heck of it I fired up the APRS.FI site to
test an idea the other day and I hit it to show all, and I noticed a
mobile driving near me. but I did not recognize his call, so I looked
him up on QRZ, and not only is he a local, but obviously a active local
radio wise! Numerous 100 foot self supporting towers, and the like on
his QRZed page. But I have never heard him on the air, or is he a member
of the 4 local clubs, one only a few miles from his house where it meets.
Then there was the other day, I seen a guy make a posting about how he
operated in the NPOTA thing in a park local to me. Surprised to see that
someone did this park near me so again I QRZed him, and Like What!?
He lives 3.3 miles from me!!! Never heard him on HF, or two meters, not
a member of one club only 10 min drive from him or another that is 20
Yet once I contacted him, we have beme good buds now, and I got him to
actually try contesting, he is gonna try the contest starting tonight.
He's been licenced since 2000 17 years, and I never knew he was only 3.3
Why does it seem hams while social via radio,, they seem to be a very
anti social when it comes to clubs and activities.
The Original Rolling Ball Clock
On 3/24/2016 10:39 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
Well, if things were all rosy as you imply we wouldn't be having these
discussions and you wouldn't have to work so hard to draw a handful of
youngsters into the hobby. The reality is that the average age of
active hams is increasing quite rapidly ... at least 1 year for every
2 years that passes from what I can tell from the available data.
It's not difficult to see where that trend is headed.
As I said before, I am still very interested in ham radio, and
particularly contesting. But at least I recognize it as a legacy
fascination, and in my case it now does indeed share time with other
online pursuits. I find it odd that so many hams haven't even noticed
that their primary communication medium for discussing ham radio
topics isn't even ham radio any more ... it's these reflectors!
Ham radio in the U.S. pulls in maybe a few thousand new hams each
year, most of which don't stick. That number is a small fraction of
one percent of the number of youngsters who get drawn into competitive
video games, most of whom stick around for years. And it has nothing
to do with short attention span or instant gratification like somebody
else just posted ... that's a trite generalization that simply makes
folks who don't understand what's going on feel better by berating the
Yes, it's challenging to try to navigate the vagaries of propagation,
but those of us who have been in the hobby for a long time were raised
within that dynamic. Now it's about as interesting to the average
person as studying ocean currents to see if you can get a message in a
bottle to land on a distant shore. Why would they bother other than
for shear curiosity, and even then why more than once?
This discussion started about contesting, though ... not ham radio in
general. And my point, which I firmly believe, is that radiosport
takes a back seat in appeal to several online competitive venues that
are every bit as difficult to master but offer more breadth and more
dependability. If I want to test my skill or straegy against somebody
else (that's what competition is all about), I don't necessarily want
to have the result so heavily influenced by factors beyond my control
... such as propagation or the ability of someone else to outspend me
on antennas. Online contests are visually stimulating, incredibly
nuanced, fast paced, give immediate feedback, and most importantly ...
pit one player (or group of players) directly against another player
(or group of players) with actions that can be taken and countered.
AND ... for the most part, everyone's hardware affordably puts them on
Of course you don't have to agree with any of this, but the numbers
prove you wrong. Tell you what ... let us know the number of young
people you attract to your event. I'll compare that to the number of
teenagers in Winnepeg and Framingham (I'll make some assumptions based
upon population). Then come back in a year and tell us how many of
those teenagers at your event still have a demonstrable interest in
contesting (license, guest op a year later). I can virtually
guarantee that the numbers will be starkly trivial compared to the
number of video game players in both of those cities, none of which
will have needed an event to perk their interest.
I'm not trying to be snide here, but folks like you are exactly why we
sound so out of touch to today's young people. It's because we are.
With very few minor changes in scoring rules, contests today are
pretty much the exact same activity as they were 80 years ago. You
don't think anything needs to change, and maybe it doesn't ... but if
it doesn't it won't exist much longer. The demographics don't lie,
and time will do its job. We'll just ride it out and enjoy it while it
On 3/24/2016 4:09 PM, Gerry Hull wrote:
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
contester, why hasn't all of the other
technology around you taken you away from contesting/ham radio? Why,
it's because contesting, and HF ham radio are as compelling now as
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
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,
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
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
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
what is his call?" No, his dad was not a ham. Neither was his
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
in years to come. Marty was part of our team at K6ND in ARRL DX
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
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
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!
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:
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,
sponsored by RadioSport Manitoba, co-ordinated by Cary, VE4EA, and in
the Yankee Clipper Contest Club, Port City Radio Club, and Framingham
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,
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
HF stations available at the event. These will range from simple,
residential stations with 100w and wires to contest superstations
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
Operating remote may raise some people's feathers. However, to new
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
all US-based remotes.
73, Gerry W1VE
On Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 2:38 PM, Lloyd Cabral <KH6LC@hotmail.com> wrote:
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
Kid's Day event. We do it multi-multi style and make a big
We get a few kids who come back year after year so we're doing
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
I'm at the point where I truly believe if we stood at the Mall
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
see it lasting.
73 & Aloha, Lloyd
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
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,
"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
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
real time features of a video game, particularly the ability to
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
days, weeks, or months before you saw whether or not you sent more than
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.
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