[CQ-Contest] Where are all the young radiosport folks?
K4XS via CQ-Contest
cq-contest at contesting.com
Thu Apr 23 09:23:37 EDT 2015
We're missing one other important component here. Most of today's young
people have been brought up in the "instant gratification" world. You have
to study to get a radio license and it takes time to get it.
Not so with gaming. You buy the game and play. Yes, it takes time to get
good at whatever game it is, but there is no initial work and you to get
to play the game immediately. Ham radio is quite different in that respect.
In a message dated 4/23/2015 10:05:22 A.M. Coordinated Universal Tim,
k8gt at mi.rr.com writes:
Well, you have to remember that Ham Radio was "cutting edge" technology
for the average public at the time of Sputnik (1957). I was licensed in
1959 with a large number of teenagers that were technologically inclined
at the time.
Things have changed and there are so many other technological fields of
interest. The general public's image of Ham Radio is "old fashioned",
although we have been doing a pretty good job of publicizing amateur
radio activities over the last 15-20 years, but we do need to do more.
Also demonstrating to kids that we do "real time" live contesting.
On the other hand, a long time friend who had a Novice license in 1959
but never upgraded, and is involved with model railroading and has held
offices in the National Model Railrod Association, says that they are
having the same problems recruiting young people. Model railroading has
also kept up with technology with digital control of multiple trains all
on the same track as well as micro cameras installed in the trains.
The field of remote control airplanes, cars, boats, etc. has also seen
a large drop off of new members. Most "old style" hobbies have seen the
same drop offs. It's a sign of the times.
But I have participated in setting up a station for a school to
communicate with the ISS. From that we had two of the teachers involved
attend the ARRL Teacher's Institute last summer and both now have their
Technician licenses, and we had 15 students sign up as interested in Ham
I'm now working with another school in the metro Detroit area for a
contact with the ISS sometime this year, in the late fall.
We do have young people entering ham radio and contesting, just not
nearly as many as in the past. I teach a Technician Class license class
in the evening at Lawrence Institute of Technology, but haven't had many
young people in those classes, but in my last class I had a female
student at LTU get her Technician Class license and is now KE8AAA.
So we all need to work at it. It is primarily letting them know that
ham radio exists and all the neat "newfangled" and "old fashioned"
things that we do. Invite some young folks out to field day while we
work other stations via satellite, use new digital modes, or use old
fashioned voice and CW. Show them the fun that we have without relying
on "commercial infrastructure".
73, Gerry, K8GT
On 21-Apr-15 23:35, Colin Jenkins wrote:
> We're here, but most of the other younger guys I know don't read or post
> eSports and competitive gaming popularity is growing at great speed.
> find that there are very many games that boast professional groups
> sponsored by a myriad of gaming and eSport companies. Some of the more
> popular games include Counter Strike:GO, World of Warcraft, and League of
> Legends.Teams like Virtus Pro, Cloud9, and Na'vi are professional teams;
> practicing many hours a day and competing on international levels year
> round. For these gamers, this is their job.
> The difference between these two activities (both of which I enjoy
> immensely) is the level of sponsorship and ability to earn an income by
> playing these games. For example, Twitch allows anyone to stream video
> games live to the entire community. I've seen viewer numbers hit over
> during certain competitive events. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely enjoy
> running pileups, meeting new people at multi-ops, and learning more about
> station engineering but it is merely for my own enjoyment and at my own
> cost. Having the ability to stream and make money from streaming video
> games is becoming increasingly easier (even via mobile devices now).
> I've struggled with how to get younger guys into the hobby for quite some
> time and don't really have a concrete answer (perhaps because there may
> be a concrete answer), but I think there are more out there than
> The World Wide Young Contesters chat room is quite active during the day
> with many under 30. Heck, even some of the top ops frequent the room.
> eSports are here to stay and only going to grow further with the advent
> streaming platforms. I, for one, have always enjoyed watching streams
> contest stations. Perhaps this is something to ponder.
> Colin KU5B
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