Topband: The Future of Ham Radio

Nick Maslon - K1NZ k1nz at
Fri Oct 27 01:03:19 EDT 2017

Hi all,

I apologize if this is not the place for this, but the recent FT8
discussion has gotten me to thinking. I'm one of the younger hams in the
hobby. I got my license and extra at 20 and am 26 now. I was semi-active on
the phone bands up until late 2015 when I moved into my current apartment
and put up a bunch of wire antennas. I have a G5RV, 30m dipole, and a 160m
L. Now, I am one to admit that I'm not all that proficient at Morse, but I
can fudge my way through a QSO. Because of this, I have almost exclusively
(outside of contests) turned to digital operating. I, personally have that
thrill of working a new one on whatever band regardless of mode, even if
it's a JT/FT mode. I just worked my first Bahrain on 40m FT8 tonight and
cracked a beer to celebrate.

My whole reason for writing this post is because of the "You can play in my
sandbox only of you play my way" mentality. I am referring to the JT/FT
modes if you want to be specific. I am lucky in that I rent from my uncle
who doesn't care what wires I put up. On the other hand, most people my age
are either living with their parents or are renting from people that will
not let them participate in the hobby. In addition, I'm part of the vast
minority of hams who got licensed before they were 40. I'll be blunt. It's
going to be hard to retain teens in this hobby. Once they find girls/boys
and go off to college, we might as well write them off for 20 years. This
is an old (wo)man's hobby. It requires disposable income. I've barely
cobbled together a station myself, but I'm limping along because of my love
for this hobby.

I hate to say it, but this whole mindset is why the youth of today are
turned off from ham radio. Why should I pump hundreds of dollars into a
hobby if I'm going to be greeted with "You need to learn CW" "FT8 is
ruining the hobby" "You're not a real ham because you didn't pass the code
test." I realize that new things involve change and that change is scary,
but can we please welcome people into the hobby, even though that future
isn't what is comfortable? Isn't is better to be using the bands than for
them to be sold off and forgotten? This hobby is extremely multi-faceted.
Can we please not judge and harass the people that want to get involved? I
guess the whole reason why I wrote this post is because I'm sick of the "DO
IT MY WAY" mindset. Can we please just get back to having fun and ignore
the politics?

73 es gud DX,
Nick K1NZ

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