[CQ-Contest] Important Issues

Bob Naumann - W5OV w5ov at w5ov.com
Tue Oct 25 11:55:54 EDT 2005

Despite the recent furor about UA9(S,T,W) zones, and other even less 
important frenzied debates, we in ham radio, and in contesting have a 
serious problem.

It has been discussed before, and I think we all recognize it, but to 
date, I am not aware of an effective solution.  What I'm talking about 
is the aging of ham radio and of contesting specifically.

Recently, I participated in the JARTS RTTY contest making about 75 
qsos.  Like the All-Asia contests, the exchange includes the operators' 
age.  I was shocked to see that most of those I made a qso with were 
60+.  The next largest group was 50+.  I only worked 2 stations that 
were younger than me, and I'm 47!  My sampling was small, but I think 
the results will not vary a great deal with a larger sample.

I recently attended a local DX club meeting, and I was the youngest 
club member in attendance.  I'm a member of the QCWA too, and there's 
no need to tell the story about those meetings.

We need to come up with a plan to get kids interested in ham radio and 
contesting.  Someone in a CQ contesting video once described contests 
as a video game that you play with your ears and your brain.  Maybe 
that might be a target audience?  What do we need to do to get the 
millions (that's right - millions) of on-line video gamers aware of ham 
radio contesting?

With all of the brain power here, we should be able to come up with 
something that would be effective.

Ideas?  Let's hear them!

Bob Naumann - W5OV

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