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Default [KB6NU] A way back to relevance for amateur radio?

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A way back to relevance for amateur radio?

Posted: 30 Apr 2020 01:05 PM PDT

Normally, when I post a video, I post several of them. This one, however, I
think is important enough to post on its own. Kamal Singh (M0IOV) gave this
presentation—The Future and Growth of Amateur Radio—at the RSGB Convention
in October 2019. Ive been meaning to post and comment on it ever since I
found out about it several months ago.

His premise is that once amateur radio was relevant, visible, and
appealing,*but that we are no longer. He blames this, not on the coming of
the internet, but instead the third Industrial Revolution. With the coming
of the third Industrial Revolution, the complexity of electronics and the
electronics industry increased, and that most of amateur radio failed to
keep pace with these changes and that we lost our technical edge.

As far as being relevant, he notes that amateur radio used to be a gateway
to a technical career, but not so much today. Because amateur radio
technology has taken a different path than electronics technology in
general, getting an amateur radio license isnt as advantageous as it used
to be.

We also lost our advantage, he says, in being able to provide worldwide
communications. He points to the instantaneous communications now provided
by the likes of Zoom and Skype. We really have nothing similar to offer.

In addition to losing our technical edge, weve also lost visibility. We
used to be able to point to a number of leaders and celebrities that were
amateur radio enthusiasts. These included Senator Barry Goldwater, TV
newscaster Walter Cronkite, and King Hussein of Jordan. Today, however, its
a real struggle to come up with similar names that might draw people to
amateur radio.
Relevance is our Achilles Heel

Relevance, according to Singh, is the biggest issue. Heres a slide he used
to make his point:

Our choice is to continue along the path weve been traveling and become
even more isolated and detached from the mainstream, or choosing to be more
integrated, connected and industry-friendly.

He went on to suggest ways to suggest ways for amateur radio to be more
relevant. Singh notes that we are on the verge of the fourth industrial
revolution, and that this revolution will be more connected than ever
before—and isnt making connections what radio is all about?

Heres what hes talking about:

These applications, he says, are completely dependent on radio and asks,
Arent we the radio guys? Our challenge is to break out of our narrow niche
thinking about what amateur radio is and what we do, and to become
integrated with the national efforts to develop and integrate these

He doesnt pooh-pooh the difficulty of doing this. This is going to be hard,
but what choice do we have? One suggestion he has is to launch an
innovation challenge, focused on solving a real-world problem. Heres a
slide that talks about some of the things that amateur radio will have to
do to make this effort successful:

This is really a great video, and Im sorry that I didnt watch it and
comment on it sooner. I think hes spot on with this presentation. Ive said
something similar in the past, when Ive recommended that the ARRL
participate in more professional communications conferences. How can
amateur radio keep up if we dont participate?

As I was watching this video, my wife was at her computer in our shared
home office. Towards the end of the video, she said, This doesnt sound like
amateur radio. I almost leapt out of my seat. Thats exactly the point, I
replied. We have to start thinking in new ways and do new things if were
going to stay relevant. That doesnt mean we cant still ragchew on the CW
bands, but that we have to start working on the future, too. Lets start
talking about this.

The post A way back to relevance for amateur radio? appeared first on
KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

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