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Re: Vanishing Hams

Various people wrote:

>Ham radio may just evolve from technical whiz kids making coils out of 
>oatmeal boxes (those are disappearing too) to mere communicators that 
>know little about the technology inside.

>The kids you are trying to impress with ham radio in general and APRS in
>specific just roll their eyes and go back to their iPhones and PC's.
>After all, ham radio is another name for AMATEUR radio.  The world is no 
>longer impressed with amateur solutions to Telecommunications just as it 
>is no longer impressed with using horses for basic transportation.

A lot of people still keep horses today because they love horses. There are
more horses in the USA today than at any time in the past, we just don't use
them for daily commutes to work (although with the price of gasoline we may be
reconsidering them). Amateur radio is not comparable to cell phone service, it
is not for basic communication but for people who love the technology and want
to understand it and improve it. 

Don't try to appeal to the masses. Find the one kid in 100 (or is it one in
1000?) who wants to dig deeper and learn the technology. Robot competitions
draw lots of kids who are interested in building and modifying technology.
They are still around but they are getting channeled into robotics instead of

>Third, and this also can't be overcome by mentoring etc., is that amateur 
>radio has space and financial requirements that are beyond most young 
>people.  Everyone on this list go look at your stuff right now and add up 
>what it cost in terms of currency as well as ndoor and outdoor space.  
>Sure, you *CAN* get into amateur radio with a used 2m HT picked up in 
>Dayton for $100.  But let's face it the really cool stuff requires more 
>sophisticated (read: expensive) equipment, usually with antenna systems 
>that require space and more money.  When you're a teen or a young person 
>just starting a family, it's a discretionary expense that is probably 
>just not high on your list.

>As someone who was licensed at age 13, there are somethings that suck about
>being a young ham.  You don't have much money to spend on rigs and antennas.
>You live in your parent's house so you are at their mercy for what antennas
>you can put up.  You have school and homework to compete for your time.  You
>go to college which greatly limits funds and time, and then you go into the
>raising a family (I am there now) which greatly limits funds again, as well
>as operating time.

Someone proposed having internet "listen only" remote gateways so that
newcomers could get a taste of satellite operation before obtaining their own
equipment. We could go one better and devise a scheme that would allow
transmit access to holders of valid amateur licenses. That would allow them to
get on the satellites without a big investment in radio gear. 

Dan Schultz N8FGV

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