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Old August 2nd 09, 04:31 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

These are the number of current, unexpired FCC-issued amateur radio
licenses held by individuals on the stated dates, and the percentage of
the total number of active licenses that class contains.

Percentages may not add up to exactly 100.0% due to rounding.

These totals do not include licenses that have expired but are in the
grace period, nor do they include club, military and other station-only
licenses.

Effective April 15, 2000, FCC no longer issued new Novice, Technician
Plus and Advanced class licenses, so the numbers of those license
classes have declined steadily since then.

Also since April 15, 2000, FCC has renewed all existing Technician Plus
licenses as Technician. The number of Technician Plus licenses still in
effect is now less than 1000, and by May 2010 they should all be gone.

It is therefore informative to consider the totals of the two classes,
since the Technician class includes a significant number of Technician
Plus licenses renewed as Technician.

On February 23, 2007, the last Morse Code test element, the 5 wpm
receiving test, was eliminated as a requirement.

The ARS License Numbers:

As of May 14, 2000:

Novice- 49,329 (7.3%) Technician - 205,394 (30.4%) Technician Plus -
128,860 (19.1%) General - 112,677 (16.7%) Advanced - 99,782 (14.8%)
Extra - 78,750 (11.7%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 334,254 (49.5%)

Total all classes - 674,792


As of February 22, 2007:

Novice - 22,896 (3.5%) Technician - 293,508 (44.8%) Technician Plus -
30,818 (4.7%) General - 130,138 (19.9%) Advanced - 69,050 (10.5%) Extra
- 108,270 (16.5%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 324,326 (49.5%)

Total all classes - 654,680


As of July 22, 2009:

Novice - 17,362 (2.6%) Technician - 328,147 (48.7%) Technician Plus -
820 (0.1%) General - 148,270 (22.0%) Advanced - 61,060 (9.1%) Extra -
117,751 (17.5%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 328,967 (48.8%)

Total all classes - 673,410


Changes:

From May 14, 2000, to February 22, 2007:


Novice - decrease of 26,433 Technician - increase of 88,114 Technician
Plus - decrease of 98,042 General - increase of 17,461 Advanced -
decrease of 30,732 Extra - increase of 29,520

Total Tech/TechPlus - decrease of 9,928

Total all classes - decrease of 20,112


From May 14, 2000, to July 22, 2009:


Novice - decrease of 31,967 Technician - increase of 122,753 Technician
Plus - decrease of 128,040 General - increase of 35,593 Advanced -
decrease of 38,722 Extra - increase of 39,001

Total Tech/TechPlus - decrease of 5,287

Total all classes - decrease of 1,382


From February 22, 2007, to July 22, 2009:


Novice - decrease of 5,534 Technician - increase of 34,639 Technician
Plus - decrease of 29,998 General - increase of 18,132 Advanced -
decrease of 7,990 Extra - increase of 9,481

Total Tech/TechPlus - increase of 4,641

Total all classes - increase of 18,730


73 de Jim, N2EY


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Old August 2nd 09, 09:02 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

These are the number of current, unexpired FCC-issued amateur radio
licenses held by individuals on the stated dates, and the percentage of
the total number of active licenses that class contains.

Percentages may not add up to exactly 100.0% due to rounding.

These totals do not include licenses that have expired but are in the
grace period, nor do they include club, military and other station-only
licenses.

Effective April 15, 2000, FCC no longer issued new Novice, Technician
Plus and Advanced class licenses, so the numbers of those license
classes have declined steadily since then.

Also since April 15, 2000, FCC has renewed all existing Technician Plus
licenses as Technician. The number of Technician Plus licenses still in
effect is now less than 1000, and by May 2010 they should all be gone.

It is therefore informative to consider the totals of the two classes,
since the Technician class includes a significant number of Technician
Plus licenses renewed as Technician.

On February 23, 2007, the last Morse Code test element, the 5 wpm
receiving test, was eliminated as a requirement.

The ARS License Numbers:

As of May 14, 2000:

Novice- 49,329 (7.3%) Technician - 205,394 (30.4%) Technician Plus -
128,860 (19.1%) General - 112,677 (16.7%) Advanced - 99,782 (14.8%)
Extra - 78,750 (11.7%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 334,254 (49.5%)

Total all classes - 674,792


As of February 22, 2007:

Novice - 22,896 (3.5%) Technician - 293,508 (44.8%) Technician Plus -
30,818 (4.7%) General - 130,138 (19.9%) Advanced - 69,050 (10.5%) Extra
- 108,270 (16.5%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 324,326 (49.5%)

Total all classes - 654,680


As of July 22, 2009:

Novice - 17,362 (2.6%) Technician - 328,147 (48.7%) Technician Plus -
820 (0.1%) General - 148,270 (22.0%) Advanced - 61,060 (9.1%) Extra -
117,751 (17.5%)

Total Tech/TechPlus - 328,967 (48.8%)

Total all classes - 673,410


Changes:

From May 14, 2000, to February 22, 2007:


Novice - decrease of 26,433 Technician - increase of 88,114 Technician
Plus - decrease of 98,042 General - increase of 17,461 Advanced -
decrease of 30,732 Extra - increase of 29,520

Total Tech/TechPlus - decrease of 9,928

Total all classes - decrease of 20,112


From May 14, 2000, to July 22, 2009:


Novice - decrease of 31,967 Technician - increase of 122,753 Technician
Plus - decrease of 128,040 General - increase of 35,593 Advanced -
decrease of 38,722 Extra - increase of 39,001

Total Tech/TechPlus - decrease of 5,287

Total all classes - decrease of 1,382


From February 22, 2007, to July 22, 2009:


Novice - decrease of 5,534 Technician - increase of 34,639 Technician
Plus - decrease of 29,998 General - increase of 18,132 Advanced -
decrease of 7,990 Extra - increase of 9,481

Total Tech/TechPlus - increase of 4,641

Total all classes - increase of 18,730


73 de Jim, N2EY


Expired in the grace period could be significant. Are they counted as
active or expired?

Interesting to note that we have actually seen growth during a sunspot
minima, and loss after 9/11 and the focus on Homeland Security.

On my 1976 callbook, it says:
"280,919 US licensed radio amateurs!
19,120 new licenses included, issued
by FCC since the 1975 edition."

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Old August 3rd 09, 02:21 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On Aug 2, 4:02�pm, "JB" wrote:

Expired in the grace period could be significant.
�Are they counted as active or expired?


Grace period licenses are not included in the posted numbers.

FCC uses the term "expired" WRT amateur licenses to mean licenses that
have reached the end of their 10 year term without being renewed. A
license that is in the grace period is defined as...an expired license
that is in the grace period. Once the grace period ends, it's not a
license anymore and is removed from the database.

IMHO, with online renewal and both ARRL and W5YI sending reminders of
expiration, I suspect that most licenses that are in the grace period
more than a month or two will not be renewed.

Interesting to note that we have actually seen
growth during a sunspot
minima, and loss after 9/11 and the focus
on Homeland Security.


What actually happened, in broad terms, is this:

After the 2000 restructuring, the number of US ham licenses grew until
July, 2003. The total number of current, unexpired licenses held by
individuals reached about 683,000. (Sorry, I don't have exact numbers
for that date).

Then the numbers started to decline, until they were below the 2000
level. That decline continued until Feb 2007. Since then they have
begun to increase again, and if the trend continues we will soon exceed
the 2000 level.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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Old August 3rd 09, 05:18 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On 2009-08-03, wrote:

Then the numbers started to decline, until they were below the 2000
level. That decline continued until Feb 2007. Since then they have
begun to increase again, and if the trend continues we will soon exceed
the 2000 level.


Numbers are numbers I suppose but the obvious weak and unavoidable link in
this sort of data is that it cannot include anyone who has died with an
active license until that license expires. And given that the average age
for radio amateurs has been increasing steadily, it's a good bet that there
are tens of thousands of deceased hams being included in the license totals.

The other immeasurable data is how many licensees are no longer active at
all yet religiously renew their license since it is free and can be done
with almost no effort? That number could be enormous and may hint at why
despite having nearly 700,000 names in the hopper, there are only some
150,000 members of the ARRL (not withstanding the naysayers).

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.

That is assuming we see the same paltry gains in new licensees as is seen at
the moment. So while there is some reason to be pleased that the numbers
appear to be going up, there remains an inevitable precipice in front of us.

73,
--
jeff

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Old August 3rd 09, 10:10 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On Mon, 3 Aug 2009 12:18:24 EDT, Jeff Davis
wrote:

The other immeasurable data is how many licensees are no longer active at
all yet religiously renew their license since it is free and can be done
with almost no effort? That number could be enormous and may hint at why
despite having nearly 700,000 names in the hopper, there are only some
150,000 members of the ARRL (not withstanding the naysayers).


Good point. I know many people in my town who have a license (mostly
Technician) who rarely use it to transmit. My wife Bonnie is one of
them. She got her Technician license 9 years ago when her husband at
that time, Paul, got the ham radio bug, and pestered her to get
licensed so they could "enjoy the hobby together." Bonnie used her
license a couple of times to keep in touch with Paul when he took
walks out in the desert behind their house. Then seven years ago Paul
died. Bonnie and I got together, and were married the next year.
Since then, she hasn't transmitted at all. But we have changed
mailing addresses a few times, and we both update our licenses on the
FCC ULS site. And, when her licence expires next year, no doubt she
will renew it. But I consider her inactive.

Dick, AC7EL



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Old August 3rd 09, 10:36 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On Aug 3, 12:18 pm, Jeff Davis wrote:

Numbers are numbers I suppose but the obvious weak and unavoidable link i

n
this sort of data is that it cannot include anyone who has died with an
active license until that license expires.


Or until the ham's family reports the death to FCC with the required
paperwork. This is common, and is usually driven by the desire to keep
the SK's call active and "in the family".

And given that the average age
for radio amateurs has been increasing steadily, it's a good bet that the

re
are tens of thousands of deceased hams being included in the license tota

ls.

I don't take it as a given that the average age of hams is increasing
steadily. I don't think anyone has a *scientific* number for the
average/median age for US hams.

Yes, one occasionally sees some number or other quoted for the "average
age", but not how it was derived. FCC doesn't have complete data
because they haven't consistently required birthdate info.

Sure, if one goes to a hamfest or club meeting, one sees a lot of folks
who are probably AARP-eligible. But are those folks a representative
sample? I know more than a few younger hams who don't show up at such
gatherings because they simply don't have the time.

But yes, there are probably a considerable number of hams in the
database who are SKs.

The other immeasurable data is how many licensees are no longer active at
all yet religiously renew their license since it is free and can be done
with almost no effort? That number could be enormous and may hint at why
despite having nearly 700,000 names in the hopper, there are only some
150,000 members of the ARRL (not withstanding the naysayers).


ARRL membership has been growing, too.

I suspect that there have always been a considerable number of
inactive-but-licensed hams. Particularly for the reasons you state:
renewing is free and easy to do.

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.


But are those assumptions valid? Americans are living longer, having
fewer kids, having them later in life, and the median age of the
population as a whole is rising. IIRC, the median age for the US
population was between 39 and 40 years of age as of the 2000 census,
and had risen almost 5 years between the 1990 and 2000 census-takings.
I wonder what the 2010 census will tell us?

That is assuming we see the same paltry gains in new licensees as is seen

at
the moment. So while there is some reason to be pleased that the numbers
appear to be going up, there remains an inevitable precipice in front of

us.

Maybe. Or maybe the gains will continue. Remember that the license term
has been 10 years for more than a quarter-century now.

As for paltry gains, if my math is right, the past 2-1/2 years have
yielded growth of more than 2.8%. More important, the growth rate seems
to be increasing. Imagine the possibilities when the sunspots come
back...

73 de Jim, N2EY

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Old August 4th 09, 04:07 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

wrote:

Sure, if one goes to a hamfest or club meeting, one sees a lot of folks
who are probably AARP-eligible. But are those folks a representative
sample? I know more than a few younger hams who don't show up at such
gatherings because they simply don't have the time.


But you cannot ignore the other end of the curve. How many licensed
hams aren't showing up because they are too old to travel?

Maybe hamfest attendees and club meetings aren't a representative sample
of the ham community. But if that's the case, it has always been the
case. I can't claim scientific accuracy, but the age mix that I
remember from a few decades ago was much younger, and that's through the
eyes of a kid who thought anyone who was over 40 was tottering on the
grave's edge.

It just seems intuitive to me that the population in the hobby is aging.
In order for it not to be, you would need to recruit enough new hams
who were young enough to offset the march of time for the rest of the
population. A lot of new licensees these days are middle aged, rather
than the teenagers we used to see. Although their age is lower than the
current mean age, you have to have more of them to offset the inertia of
incrementing everyone's age each year.

Not that there's much you can do about the issue even if you accept the
fact that we may be marching off a cliff. I applaud the ARRL's efforts
to interest young folks in the hobby, and I hope it's working better in
other localities. I don't see a lot of success here.

73, Steve KB9X

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Old August 4th 09, 05:14 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On 2009-08-03, wrote:

Yes, one occasionally sees some number or other quoted for the "average
age", but not how it was derived. FCC doesn't have complete data
because they haven't consistently required birthdate info.


That is true and any evidence is purely anecdotal. But we can make a few
assumptions based on the bubble of the 1950s when the growth of the amateur
service was meteoric. With the exception of those hams who were licensed as
pre-teens, most of the others would be past retirement age by now.

The same is now becoming true of those licensed in the 60s so while I have
no evidence or hard data, I think it is safe to say that the majority of
licensed radio amateurs in the US are now over 60 years old.

You are correct that folks are living longer these days and that will no
doubt work in our favor, but it is inevitable that we will begin losing hams
in much greater numbers as we approach 2020.

ARRL membership has been growing, too.


That has been a bright spot, in my opinion, but I only point it out because
some League detractors use the old line that the ARRL can only attract 25%
of licensed hams as an argument for how unpopular Newington is among the
base. I'd argue that it better reflects the actual number of active radio
amateurs since those who are no longer active would not likely maintain
league membership and the most active among us invariably do.

As for paltry gains, if my math is right, the past 2-1/2 years have
yielded growth of more than 2.8%. More important, the growth rate seems
to be increasing. Imagine the possibilities when the sunspots come
back...


I'm all for growth since I think we are in for a big dip in the not too
distant future, but I'm also not certain that there is any historic
correlation between growth in the service and sunspot activity. And if there
is, it might be bad news since Cycle 24 is now predicted to be the weakest
cycle in a century.

We probably won't be able to bring new hams onboard at a pace that will
match the attrition of the next decade, but that is no reason not to do all
that we can -- and one thing is to begin thinking about how we are going to
justify our continued occupation of radio spectrum with a lot fewer licensees.

It's a problem that Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu and the others are no doubt already
thinking about too...

--
73 de Jeff

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Old August 4th 09, 02:42 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

Jeff Davis wrote:

You are correct that folks are living longer these days and that will no
doubt work in our favor, but it is inevitable that we will begin losing hams
in much greater numbers as we approach 2020.


I think that the issue is closer than that, and more significant. The
problem is that as the ham radio population ages, a lot of the older
hams become inactive. They're still licensed and that license is still
counted in the statistics, but as far as the health of the hobby goes
they're effectively gone.

ARRL membership has been growing, too.


That has been a bright spot, in my opinion, but I only point it out because
some League detractors use the old line that the ARRL can only attract 25%
of licensed hams as an argument for how unpopular Newington is among the
base. I'd argue that it better reflects the actual number of active radio
amateurs since those who are no longer active would not likely maintain
league membership and the most active among us invariably do.


I wonder. There are active hams who don't belong to the ARRL because
they're too cheap or because they have policy disagreements with the
organization. There are inactive hams who do belong to the ARRL just to
keep up with a hobby that they want to get back into some day. I have
no idea which segment is bigger, but I suppose that ARRL membership does
correlate with the number of active hams.

I'm all for growth since I think we are in for a big dip in the not too
distant future, but I'm also not certain that there is any historic
correlation between growth in the service and sunspot activity. And if there
is, it might be bad news since Cycle 24 is now predicted to be the weakest
cycle in a century.


I agree with both statements.

At least part of the growth in recent years has been from people who
"always wanted" to get a ham ticket but were put off by the code
requirement. This pent up demand will eventually be exhausted.

As for the magic of the sunspot cycle, what percentage of new hams get
into the hobby so that they can work DX? Those are the ones that would
be affected by knowing that band conditions are improving. My personal
experience suggests that that is a small percentage.

We probably won't be able to bring new hams onboard at a pace that will
match the attrition of the next decade, but that is no reason not to do all
that we can -- and one thing is to begin thinking about how we are going to
justify our continued occupation of radio spectrum with a lot fewer licensees.


For HF, that isn't likely to be much of an issue since the commercial
and government users have found other alternatives, resulting in much
less demand for that bandspace. I wonder about VHF/UHF . . . since
there's so much more of it, maybe it will not be a huge issue.

It's a problem that Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu and the others are no doubt already
thinking about too...


The big players have protected themselves by making the ham radio market
only a tiny part of their sales. But you're right; with less customers
out there, the prices will go up and the amount of choice will go down.

73, Steve KB9X

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Old August 4th 09, 11:27 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default July 22 2009 ARS License Numbers

On Aug 4, 12:14 am, Jeff Davis wrote:
On 2009-08-03, wrote:


Yes, one occasionally sees some number or other quoted for the "average
age", but not how it was derived. FCC doesn't have complete data
because they haven't consistently required birthdate info.


That is true and any evidence is purely anecdotal. But we can make a few
assumptions based on the bubble of the 1950s when the growth of the amate

ur
service was meteoric.


Let's look at the US amateur population over time. The following
numbers have been posted by W5ESE on QRZ.com and elsewhe

Year Population # Hams Hams as % of US Population 1913 97225000
2000 0.002% 1914 99111000 5000 0.005% 1916 101961000 6000 0.006% 1921
108538000 10809 0.010% 1922 110049000 14179 0.013% 1930 123202624 19000
0.015% 1940 132164569 56000 0.042% 1950 151325798 87000 0.057% 1960
179323175 230000 0.128% 1970 203211926 263918 0.130% 1980 226545805
393353 0.174% 1990 248709873 502677 0.202% 1997 267783607 678733 0.253%
2000 281421906 682240 0.242% 2005 296410404 662600 0.224% 2006
299291772 657814 0.220% 2008 303000000 658648 0.217%

Quoting W5ESE: "Many folks consider the 1950's as the "Golden Age of
Amateur Radio", but as you can see, the fractional part of the US
population that was licensed at that time was between 0.057% and
0.128%.

That is much lower than the 0.217% of the US population that are
licensed today."

I agree with W5ESE. Numbers I have gathered from old QSTs and Callbooks
agree with his numbers.

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.

With the exception of those hams who were licensed as
pre-teens, most of the others would be past retirement age by now.


But there were only 230,000 US hams in 1960. There's been a lot of
growth since then.

The same is now becoming true of those licensed in the 60s so while I hav

e
no evidence or hard data, I think it is safe to say that the majority of
licensed radio amateurs in the US are now over 60 years old.


Well, I must respectfully disagree; we don't really know the median age
of US hams today or in the past. Nor do we really know how it compares
to the median age of the US population.

I'm not arguing with anybody's opinion, I'm just pointing out that the
numbers often tossed around are not derived from hard data.

You are correct that folks are living longer these days and that will no
doubt work in our favor, but it is inevitable that we will begin losing h

ams
in much greater numbers as we approach 2020.


Maybe. I was first licensed in 1967 at the age of 13, and I hope to be
around for quite a while after 2020. Since 1967 I have seen a lot of
people younger than myself become licensed, too.

some League detractors use the old line that the ARRL can only attract 25

%
of licensed hams as an argument for how unpopular Newington is among the
base. I'd argue that it better reflects the actual number of active radio
amateurs since those who are no longer active would not likely maintain
league membership and the most active among us invariably do.


IMHO there are four reasons hams don't join ARRL:

1) They're inactive and don't see the point of getting a mag and
mailings for something they don't do. 2) They don't like the ARRL for
some reason or other. Often it's a single policy issue, or something
done decades ago. 3) They equate ARRL membership with QST, and to them
the mag isn't worth $39 a year. Particularly when there's so much info
on the web now. 4) They have a specific focus in amateur radio (local
comms, QRP, Skywarn, EME, whatever) and ARRL is general-purpose
organization.

I'm all for growth since I think we are in for a big dip in the not too
distant future, but I'm also not certain that there is any historic
correlation between growth in the service and sunspot activity.


It used to be that most new hams started out on the lower HF bands such
as 80 and 40 meters, making regional contacts. 500 to 1000 miles was DX
to a Novice, and staying up late at night to work it was par for the
course.

Nowadays most new hams start out on VHF/UHF with equipment that usually
limits them to relatively local QSOs. Those who venture to HF often
start on the higher bands (10-20 meters) because the antennas are
small, Techs and Novices have voice on 10 meters and that's where the
DX supposedly is. Trouble is, during sunspot minima those bands can be
completely dead. At best they're daylight bands and quite unreliable,
particularly with a basic station.

We probably won't be able to bring new hams onboard at a pace that will
match the attrition of the next decade, but that is no reason not to do a

ll
that we can -- and one thing is to begin thinking about how we are going

to
justify our continued occupation of radio spectrum with a lot fewer licen

sees.

Not to be a Pollyanna, but I've heard basically the same predictions
for 40+ years. For a whole bunch of reasons.

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.

Personally I think the biggest threats today are two:

1) Lack of publicity/visibility 2) Anti-antenna restrictions


As others have stated, I suspect that the most-threatened bands are our
VHF/UHF allocations, because they're relatively wide and most in demand
by other services. As much as we hated to lose 220-222, can we honestly
say that 222-225 became overcrowded because of that reallocation?

I don't think it's the number of licensees as much as the use of bands
that is the big thing. If we don't use a band, what does it matter how
many hams there are?

It's a problem that Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu and the others are no doubt alre

ady
thinking about too...

Maybe. Remember that in the past there were far fewer hams, and yet
there was a wide selection of manufacturers. The actual market for new
ham gear before about the 1970s was very small. This was because the
rigs were very expensive when you adjust for inflation, hams tended to
sell their old gear to other hams in order to buy new, and a lot of
hams converted surplus or built their own. Some years back Electric
Radio published the total number of amateur transmitters, by model and
year, that EF Johnson produced; I was amazed at how small the totals
were, considering how popular the rigs were in the 1950s and 1960s. (I
can post them if anyone's interested).

What has really changed, though, is the distribution of amateurs around
the world. Decades ago, the number of US hams was greater than all the
rest of the world put together. That's not true anymore, even if you
don't count Japan's numerous fourth-class licensees.

Think of what the future could be if and when amateur radio becomes
even moderately popular in countries like China and India.

73 de Jim, N2EY



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