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Old August 5th 09, 05:24 AM posted to
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On 2009-08-04, wrote:
Note how the growth has varied with time, both in percentages and
totals. Oddly enough, the period of most-rapid-growth in terms of
percentage was the 1930s, when the number of US hams almost tripled,
despite the Great Depression.

Percentage in this case is misleading since going from zero hams to one ham
is a 100% increase. I wouldn't put much stock in numbers, growth or
percentages prior to 1946 since those years included the start of amateur
radio and the shutdown/restart from two world wars.

For example, OTs tell me that in the 1950s there were big concerns that
SSB and TVI would kill ham radio. In the 1960s, I recall many saying
that incentive licensing and the counterculture would be the end (how
many hams were there at Woodstock?). In the 1970s it was cb, repeaters
and the demise of many US equipment makers. In the 1980s it was
computers, in the 1990s the internet and cellphones. Etc.

True enough, folks have been crying wolf for decades. But the shift in
technology that we have witnessed in the last decade has been all about
communication and that has been a change from the previous distractions. No
one needs to get an amateur license to enjoy a face-to-face video chat (with
no additional charges) with people around the globe. Part of the reason that
we have such a tough time interesting kids in our way of communicating is it
must seem horribly quaint when you have a cell phone, laptop, and a high
speed net connection.

Still, I do believe amateur radio has something to offer and that is
camraderie and friendship. You can't well make a "friend" by making random
cell phone calls and yet we do it with a random 'CQ' and that makes the
amateur service special in my book. Not to mention the opportunity to
experiment with radio and electronics. Getting those points across is indeed
the challenge.

Having said that, I think come 2020 we will be looking at 300-350k licensees
in the US. I'll be 61 then and having been licensed for 43 years then, I will
be more than happy to have been wrong. :-)

Enjoyed the conversation Jim, the moderated group here is always a pleasure.

Vy 73 de Jeff


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Old August 6th 09, 05:47 AM posted to
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First recorded activity by RadioBanter: Apr 2009
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

"Jeff Davis" wrote in message

If we make the same sort of assumptions as those in the life insurance
business, and we suppose that the median age for licensees is now over 60,
then between now and 2020 the number of licensees in the database will
shrink to below 300,000 due to attrition.

I hope that you're wrong, Jeff, but it's a slim hope.

I expect that a generation from now (a couple of sunspot cycles) the number
of active (mark that word, "active) US amateurs will be under 10,000.

I moved to my current location 30-some years ago (in my late 30's). Joined
two active radio clubs (MWA for contesting, TCDXA for DXing). At that time,
most of the members of each club were about my age, or a little younger.
Most members of each were very active amateurs.

Today, 30 years later, most of the members of each club are about my age, or
a little older. Most are still very active, and both clubs are still very
vibrant, but between the two clubs (combined rosters about 300, but perhaps
really only about 200 hams due to dual memberships), there are only a
handful of members (maybe 25) under age 55, and maybe 5 or 10 in late 30's
or younger.

It's been a nice run.

73, de Hans, K0HB

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