[CQ-Contest] Recruiting Women into Contesting

Hanlon, Steve SHanlon at dnr.state.md.us
Wed Aug 4 07:49:50 EDT 2004

> How can we make contesting appealing enough to someone
> that they might want to get a radio license to participate?  
> Can contesting be marketed as a more appealing (or just as appealing) draw 
> into the world of ham radio than 2M repeaters, emergency comms, shortwave 
> DXing, etc.?

i sort of got my license for the sole purpose of contesting.  i went to a Field Day site and checked out the activity.  one of the operators explained that it was a contest to work as many stations as possible within a geographic area and in a window of time, i was hooked.

how to get more involved from outside the amateur ranks?  quite frankly, it will take an image makeover.  it's hard to get over the idea that ham radio operators are the prototypical nerd who was old enough to be my father.  basically, radio is not cool because cool people aren't into radio.  to sell contesting, both public image and the literature/sales pitch need to be updated.

radio can never compete AGAINST computers.  never.  computers offer flexibility and each user can explore as little or as much as they wish (just like most hobbies).  in order to promote the hobby of radio and specifically contesting, it needs to be presented as a challenge - the would be needs to feel there is a hurdle to overcome in terms of making contacts, not building a station or putting up antennas.  too much emphasis is put on station building and not having fun thru the on-air challenge - it's supposed to be fun, right?

make radio cool and challenge potential operators to beat others by placing the emphasis on contacts.  that is how you get the late 20 and early 30 somethings into the hobby.  the teenagers will never be swayed into the hobby - esp. in suburbia due to restrictions in the communities and the "cost" seen by parents.

the big question then becomes, in the age of instant communication thru computers, how to make radio cool?  the first step is to poll the younger contesters and ask them why they are into the hobby and find the crossover points that will get other young people into the hobby.

any madison ave types out there with a spin machine to help with the image makeover?


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