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Old February 18th 17, 09:47 PM posted to aus.radio.amateur.misc,rec.radio.amateur.equipment,rec.radio.info
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Default [FOAR] This hobby is dead ... NOT!


Foundations of Amateur Radio

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This hobby is dead ... NOT!

Posted: 18 Feb 2017 09:00 AM PST


Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I was told that Amateur Radio as a
hobby is dead. This isn't news. It's often repeated and the story goes like
this. The hobby is full of old dying men who when they finally shuffle off
this mortal coil, or as we like to say "become a silent key", will take
their hobby with them. There is anecdotal evidence to back this up. An
organisation that tasked itself with the preservation of Morse Code in the
tradition of Telegraphers and Seafarers is forecasting their demise due to
the age of their membership. Other comments along these same lines talk
about the futility of Amateur Radio in the face of other communication
tools such as the Internet, Mobile Phones and the like. Emergency Services
often ignore the Amateur Radio Service because they have all the
communication infrastructure they need. People point at the declining
numbers of Amateurs and say: "See, I told you, the numbers don't lie!" If
you listen to this you might wonder why it is that you're fascinated by
this endeavour and what it is that these tales of doom and gloom for the
future of our hobby mean for you. Let's start with the numbers. In
Australia in 2005 a new class of Amateur License was introduced. It's
called the Foundation License and the purpose was to attract new people
into the hobby of Amateur Radio. Looking at the numbers we see a year on
year increase in the number of Foundation Calls. Many of those go on to
gain extra responsibilities by getting a Standard or Advanced License. Some
Amateurs let their Foundation Call lapse, so the increase of people
entering is actually higher than a simple count of callsigns might
suggest. So, we're getting more and more people into the hobby every
year. But the overall numbers are declining. How can that be? Well,
simple really. We don't have a problem with growth, we have a problem with
retention. This means that as a community we're doing great things about
getting new people into our wonderful hobby but doing a poor job at making
them feel welcome and keep coming back. Those are numbers, but there are
other things happening as well. The Internet today is a connection,
actually an Inter-connection of networks. You might be surprised to learn
that these networks started when we figured out how to use Morse Code on
wires to send messages across the globe. While the original copper is
probably not being used, though that in itself would be an interesting
research project, the Internet today has its roots in the Morse Code driven
Telegraphy network. The very first one of those was set up over 200 years
ago in 1816. There is a long history of explaining the relationship
between wire Telegraph and Radio Communication, featuring long cats, dogs
and a war between Austria and Prussia. Suffice to say that Telegraphy and
Radio Communications both form part of a symbiotic relationship. It still
does today. The Wired Internet and the Wireless Internet are the same
animal dressed up with fancy technology. Amateur Radio is the experimental
arm of Radio Communications, so as long as humans want to communicate with
each other we're here to stay. Time and again, Emergency Services need
operators in the case of an actual emergency and historically they have
been drawn from wherever experienced bodies could be rousted, suffice to
say, the Amateur community keeps on giving. As for the old and dying men.
Sure, we have some amazing history that senior members of the Amateur
community have to contribute, with many lessons to be learned for the likes
of young'ns like me, but I'm getting older every day and with me the rest
of the population too. At some point we'll all be older and wiser, perhaps
we'll even be Amateurs. Another way of looking at this is as the global
population gets older with more free time on their hands, the more
opportunities exist to introduce people into our hobby. As for the
retention. As a community we really need to investigate what it is that
makes people...
This posting includes a media file:
http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/founda...teur-radio.mp3


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